A fascinating account of counterintelligence in the pre-cyber era and a reminder of how an astute interviewer can be an...

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THREE MINUTES TO DOOMSDAY

AN AGENT, A TRAITOR, AND THE WORST ESPIONAGE BREACH IN U.S. HISTORY

Firsthand account of Cold War espionage from the FBI agent who uncovered it.

Navarro (Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People, 2014, etc.), a founding member of the FBI’s National Security Division Behavioral Analysis Program, recounts his dogged efforts to court and prosecute a bedraggled but brilliant young spy in the late 1980s. What began as a routine interview for Navarro, who had SWAT team, aerial surveillance, and counterintelligence responsibilities in the Tampa office, turned into an all-consuming absorption with an unprecedented spy enterprise in West Germany. Over a year and a half, the author met repeatedly—eventually daily—with Rod Ramsay, a former soldier who had been the junior partner of an espionage mastermind at the 8th Infantry Division headquarters. Navarro and his superiors learned that the two men passed along incalculably important information, including war plans, to the Hungarians and the Soviets. At times, the author gets mired in government jargon, but he presents a riveting story of how he earned Ramsay’s confidence and slowly elicited a mountain of incriminating information. He was helped by the suspect’s loneliness and narcissism. Navarro provides a tutorial on interviewing technique, employing psychology, theater, and a well-honed understanding of nonverbal cues. In fact, several minor aberrations in body language triggered the case that led to one of the biggest spy busts in American history. However, throughout the investigation, Navarro was thwarted by intra- and interagency jealousies and turf concerns. The process affected his family life and eventually his physical and mental health. It took him more than 25 years to write this story of a serious breach in American national security.

A fascinating account of counterintelligence in the pre-cyber era and a reminder of how an astute interviewer can be an invaluable asset to law enforcement.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2827-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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