Civil War audiobooks related to Ken Burns
Thursday, May 22, 2014
THE GOOD SPY by Kai Bird
THE GOOD SPY, the audiobook, as ably narrated by Rene Ruiz, tells the story of a man who was trained "old school" style to learn his craft for the purposes of infiltrating the ranks of the enemy. Ames was called good because he was. While "spy" rhymes with "lie" for a reason, Ames was nonetheless empathic (as opposed to sociopathic.) Killed during an Embassy bombing in Beirut, Ames formerly lived a normal home life, yet traveled the world as he long wanted to do, shadowing Yasir Arafat's intelligence aide, and being instrumental in providing intel that figured into the most momentous political decisions involving the Middle East. Bird, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, brings into the mix various letters, memos, and interviews made with Ames, and talks to some length about how America has changed since Ames' era, relying more and more on electronic surveillance instead of spies on the ground. The point of this being that one of the reasons we have screwed up so much in recent years is because politics is about relationships, and if you don't have intel from people in relationships, your view is skewed. (Skewed equals screwed?) Ominously, Bird contends that the death of Ames and Ali Hassan Salameh has led us downhill in a rush of distrust, and is a contributing factor in the rise of the NSA over the CIA.