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The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA [Kindle Edition]

Antonio J. Mendez
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £11.20
Kindle Price: £3.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

From the author of Argo comes an unforgettable behind-the-scenes story of espionage in action. In the first ever memoir by a top-level operative to be authorized by the CIA, Antonio J. Mendez reveals the cunning tricks and insights that helped save hundreds from deadly situations.

Adept at creating new identities for anyone, anywhere, Mendez was involved in operations all over the world, from "Wild West" adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow. In 1980, he orchestrated the escape of six Americans from a hostage situation in revolutionary Tehran, Iran. This extraordinary operation inspired the movie Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

The Master of Disguise gives us a privileged look at what really happens at the highest levels of international espionage: in the field, undercover, and behind closed doors.

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Product Description


A top CIA operative offers an authorized account of his double life as a Department of Defense bureaucrat and a globe-trotting spy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 959 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (13 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,456 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Mendez has put together an interesting collections of his personal experiences working in the CIA. There is nothing here to shock or get excited about but it is at once interesting, exciting and informative, and lets outsiders peek behind the curtain of real-life covert field operations. Whether by design or due to faulty memory, some of his tales are not told just they way they happened and times and places have been fudged, but none of that takes away from the stories nor the readers pleasure. Not great literature but a good read never the less.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ar-Go Read It Yourself 18 Mar. 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the autobiography of Antonio Mendez, the CIA officer behind the exfiltration of six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis in the 1970s. This operation was the basis of the movie Argo. Mendez describes his childhood, his early training as a graphic designer, and much of his career in the Central Intelligence Agency creating forged documents and disguises.

The author describes CIA operations in locations around the world, including Indochina, the Middle East, and the then-intact Soviet Union. Three themes emerge from these accounts. One is the trust developed among CIA officers who spend much of their time deceiving others. It helps explain the anger and disgust they feel for moles, traitors and double agents. The second theme is an increasing sophistication in the technology used to create documents and disguises. Disguises remain challenging since they must be good enough to alter appearance but simple enough for agents to don quickly with little training. The final theme explores internal CIA politics. We hear about jealousies between wage-grade and white collar employees, jostling for overseas assignments, and the "pinball game" of gaining support for new initiatives.

Each chapter is seasoned with tidbits of tradecraft and hard-won experience. Advice ranges from general strategies like "keep your options open" to more specific techniques like how to use the two-handed "forgers bridge" to do precision drawing. Some procedures seem obvious once you read about them, but were useful again and again in the field. For example, shipping containers equipped with automatic cameras sent through Warsaw Pact countries yielded volumes of information about routes, customs procedures, and security personnel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, authorised memoir 21 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Useful counterpoint to the movie, Argo. Shows you how Mendez progressed through the CIA to a point where he was called upon to effect the rescue portrayed in Argo. Decidedly non-critical of colleagues so very much an "authorised" memoir
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5.0 out of 5 stars a fascinating insight 11 Jan. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this a really interesting book providing considerable insight into the activities of the CIA, and Tony Mendez in particular. The book provides a comprehensive history of Tony Mendez's background in childhood and how this experience helped him become one of the CIA's most successful agents.
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