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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2013
A good read, but full of slightly irritating factual errors, like consistently getting the names wrong of intelligence organisations (Rigul Hegdi), or technical details.
Just makes you wonder how well researched the rest of the book is
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2013
The press reviews cited for this book are uniformly positive and I found that the first 450 or so pages were an easy read. At times I did wonder if I had missed something- for example the opening story about Princess Diana seemed to have nothing much to do with Mossad at all, and on other occasions the author laboured the story with description and history to the point where he left the story in mid-air, unresolved. With any book of this kind it would be difficult to tell what is truly true and what has been planted by disaffected parties or is pure fiction. There is no supporting documentation although the author frequently tries to remedy this by citing anonymous personal source in a personal communication - this becomes tedious and contributes little to the credibility. The book is actually 670 pages long, the last 220 pages appearing to be an addendum to an earlier addition. This sections reads as a cut and paste job on a home computer that went straight to press, and was so appallingly written that in the end I followed it for unintended comedy rather than for any serious interest, belief or confidence in its contents. However it was interesting that to read that the new director of Mossad had stood on a canteen desk and asked the agents to eat the brains of their Arab enemies on 11 Sep 2001, a few hours BEFORE the 911 attacks, and a full year before he was appointed to the directorate (Chapter 22). Allegedly he pulled exactly the same stunt as soon as he was appointed to the position, a year later (Chapter 18, p362). Elsewhere the PROMIS software from the 1970s amazes- not only can it decipher any stream of data but it will also guide missiles to the Iranian nuclear facilities. Princess Diana's menstrual cycle also makes a late appearance in the concluding chapters, still without any revealed connection to Mossad.

In summary, an uneven and over-long book that could have been improved greatly if it had been proof read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2014
This is quite a good book, but it is flawed in that it is too long, discursive and repetitive. It gives an interesting picture of the Mossad, but often strays off topic. Apart from Israeli and Arab leaders, the cast includes George W Bush, Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, Robert Maxwell, Condoleezza Rice and many others. Even Jeffrey Archer gets a mention. There's plenty of conspiracy theory and various incidents are looked into in great detail: Lillehammer, Entebbe, the death of Princess Diana (twice), the attempted assassination of John Paul II, the Gulf Wars, the capture of Saddam Hussein, 9/11, the London tube bombings and the Bali bomb, for example. In many of these, Mossad was just a bit player. The book was written before the assassination of Osama bin Laden, but in time for the author to refer to the "monumental mistake(s)" of Bush and Blair.

Inevitably there are flaws. We are told that David Kimche left Oxford University with a Social Science degree in 1968, but not only would he have been thirty or more probably forty at the time, but also Oxford did not have such a degree then. In addition, we are told that he then joined Mossad, but a few pages later that turns out to have been "in the early sixties". Also, the attempted assassination of John Paul II is given a date of May 1981, but a few pages later there is a reference to "only three months before, in February 1983". And he gets the date of the collapse of the Berlin Wall wrong too (a year early).

This is a pity, because the author appears to have done a great amount of detailed research in order to produce a long, interesting and worthy volume. But he is prone to name dropping, and there even seems to be a tendency to self indulgence.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2014
Just because they are famed for their vengeance over the killing of the Israeli Olympic athletes, and the brilliant success of the raid on Entebbe, we tend to think of the Mossad as an infallible force. This book demonstrates that they can, and do, make mistakes. However, Gordon Thomas is obviously well-connected in international security circles, and he weaves some wonderful tales of world-wide intrigue, including the death of Princess Diana and the horrors of Nine-eleven. I'd give it five stars, were it not a little over-long, and a bit inclined to jump from one subject to another, then back again several chapters later. However, its a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The author clams to have recorded hours of interviews including top Mossad officials, but the Hebrew he transcribes from his tapes is not that of anyone who speaks the language even minimally. He uses gender, singular and plural inappropriately, An example, Mossad offices do not have Hebrew numbers on their doors, because there aren't any Hebrew numbers.
That casts doubt on much, to give one example: The book starts with claims Princess Di's chauffeur may or may not have been a low level paid informer for French Security, that may (or may not) have aroused interest of Mossad (Why?). So he may (or may not) have also been an informer for Mossad (although as the author says. probably not!). In ensuing chapters what "may have been" becomes fact leading to another "may have been". By the end of the book, Mossad are the World's experts on the Princess and her death, although with no involvement of their own. Really? Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed would have been a Mossad priority, justifying a team of experts? In any case no rhyme, reason or information is given on the issue.
I was determined to get the end of the book, it was hard work, and I know he's invented too many things to mention here, but where he tells a true story, it's publicly available on the Internet. Hasn't added much, but if you know nothing, you will learn some truth amongst a load of turgid BS, but will you know which is which?
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on 11 October 2014
I am three-quarters through this book and it has held my attention completely. Although about Mossad it also includes very heavily nearly every country's secret service. I find it riveting and disturbing in equal measure. What really happened behind some of the news headlines of the past is often very different and coldly calculating to how it was reported at the time. Absolutely no-one comes out smelling of roses and all in the name of defence of one's country or reputation. One feels glad not to be part of that sordid world and despair that men (mostly men) feel obliged to lead such sordid lives. And yet, perversely, one cheers slightly when your country's secret service manages to outwit another. I recommend this book very much though you will have to live with a bad taste having read it. Very well written and easy to understand.
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on 8 August 2014
I am going to give this book 5 stars; whether it deserves it is another story. How can you write a book about the secret services? The clue is in the word secret! Somewhere in the book it even says that the security services do not bother to take legal action against people who write books about their activities because to do so only gives their written words legitimacy.
So is this a work of fact or fiction? It certainly contains a lot of great stories that I enjoyed immensely, it also provides a good insight to anyone who wants to know why the middle east is so full of violence.
Definitely read it if you are into great stories about the work of the secret services, the truth? I suspect that we cannot handle the truth!
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on 7 October 2014
Well its enjoyable enough and reasonably written but the author is so ill informed about basic technology and physics that it makes it hard to take his more outlandish claims seriously. For example, telling of having a 'chip' made for a software package that would then be 'undetectable'. Poor research is evident in many places. Iraqi supergun is another - you cannot just 'lash together' a number of scuds and it certainly wouldn't be shot from a gun! Basically its a conspiracy theorists's dream and I wouldn't be surprised if its purpose is more to influence than inform...I would read with a very heavy pinch of salt!
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on 24 October 2014
This book is poorly written, every reference to Shin Bet is followed by that this is the Israeli internal security service and that GCHQ is the UK's spy in the sky ( which it isn't). The author seems to be happy to justify the methods employed by Mossad, which seem little different to those employed by their alleged enemies, e.g. car bombs as tools of assassination, which is little more than state-sponsored homicide. Also, why is Mossad allowed to have so many agents in the UK with the apparent blessing of the Security Service (MI5) and the police, these questions are not answered.
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on 10 February 2015
Great history of the Mossad. Very informative,well balanced and filled with facts about this remarkable spy organisation. It also shows some of the flaws that have risen from time to time about the operations of this legendary espionage unit.The author draws on interviews with various agents,informants and classified documents to give a very readable narrative history of this spy agency.(Also includes a chapter on the death of Princess Diana).Anyone interested in military espionage and middle eastern conflicts will love this book.
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