A SPY IN CANAAN by Howard H. Schack


My Life as a Jewish-American Businessman Spying for Israel in Arab Lands
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 The not-quite-exciting memoir of the middle-aged owner of a construction company who doubled as a spy for Israel's Mossad. It's 1973; Israel is under attack in the Yom Kippur war, and Schack, an N.Y.C.-area businessman, wants to help. Because of his construction work, he possesses plans for a Saudi naval expansion program, which he takes to the Israeli commercial consulate in Washington--only to be treated to a brief lecture on international law that dashes his hopes. But some days later, while driving on a highway, Schack's pulled over by a Mossad agent, and soon he's meeting his handler in Manhattan's Washington Square Park and has been ``invited to join the most romantic and successful brotherhood in the world.'' Off to Riyadh after brief instruction, Schack gains access to oil-refinery information by misleading a lonely fellow American. Close contact (and feasts) with powerful sheikhs leads to similar successes involving major military installations, airports, and Iraqi nuclear plants. It's a genuinely intrepid adventure but- -perhaps because the author seems to be walking a legal/ethical tightrope--Schack the man rarely comes through, though it's clear enough that he's a talented spy, tough (he already owns a handgun), and persuasive (``Take what you want,'' says one Egyptian, and Schack does--an attachÇ-case full of documents). A fascinating story undermined often by its wooden dialogue and by cautious, and overly polemical, exposition. (Maps and sixteen pages of photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55972-178-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1993


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