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Paperback The Book of Honor : The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives Book

ISBN: 0385495412

ISBN13: 9780385495417

The Book of Honor : The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives

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Book Overview

A national bestseller, this extraordinary work of investigative reporting uncovers the identities, and the remarkable stories, of the CIA secret agents who died anonymously in the service of their country. In the entrance of the CIA headquarters looms a huge marble wall into which seventy-one stars are carved-each representing an agent who has died in the line of duty. Official CIA records only name thirty-five of them, however. Undeterred by claims...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Book of Honorable Men & Women

An interesting and timely book. "The Book of Honor" sheds light on the extreme sacrifices made by a unique breed of Americans who were involved in the clandestine services and risked all for their country's security. It's appropriate to note and honor those brave men and women--including those who are still "out there"--engaged in our Nation's intelligence business. It is understandable, of course, that in some instances there are valid reasons why certain identities cannot be revealed, when this revelation may implicate others who might still be in the service and may endanger both them and/or their work. In reading about those in the book who have paid the highest price, I hope that others will become aware that there have been--and still are--thousands of men and women doing this dangerous work, all over the world, often under hazardous conditions and in places in which they undergo risks and hardships that would make most Americans cringe. They do it, not only out of a sense of adventure, but out of patriotism and a dedication that is not unlike that of young Americans who have gone to war throughout our country's history. These individuals are highly trained and educated; most could earn much higher salaries in the private sector, but they choose service instead, taking an oath of allegiance to our country and its Constitution. While the author is unable to name all of the fallen heroes that the stars represent, it is hoped that one day it will be possible that they all may be recognized and appropriately honored. For them, it was enough that they be known to their family, colleagues and friends. In the meantime, I hope this book will go a long way towards awakening the reader to the stories of these courageous Americans. The book is a service to their surviving families, who can be proud.

The words inscribed in the lobby are cruel fiction.

The actual quote "and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free", is chiseled in stone and stands across from an artificial star constellation representing those who died in service to this Country. The perfectly aligned stars are as unlike the sky's night-lights as the words regarding truth apply to the Agency on whose walls they are inscribed. Unlike real stars 38 of 71 of these are unnamed, they rise above a book that documents in writing the names of only 33 who have fallen.This book is worthy of high praise, for the Author who brings us the story, the Families that told of their experience in spite of warnings not to, and the men and women who were the initial victims in these events. I use the qualifier as long after they had died serving this Country their Family and Friends often continued to suffer for decades.I don't believe that secrecy in protection of our well-being and our goals as a Country are by definition wrong nor are they in dispute in this book. What is at issue is what happens when a select group become the arbiters of what they believe is in the best interest of all, what they would like the truth to be. What is so sad and so angering is that these stories were not about the shading of the truth on some sort of grayscale rather the difference between the truth and lies, misinformation, what have you, that were at times were so absurd that only those who propagated them thought they would be believed.This book is a history lesson told by sharing the stories of men and women of the CIA and the Families they were apart of as Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Sons, etc. It also is a series of decisions and policies maintained to the very present that can only be thought of as cruel in light of the facts that are known.This is a sobering book, it is at times terribly sad, and at others will cause you to rage against what was done to these families. The men and women who worked for the CIA knew they would ask much of their Families, the CIA asked even more of the same people. I do not believe any of those who died or those who cared for them believed they would be subject to arbitrary neglect and abuse when their lives ended serving their Country.This is not a silly spy book. This is a book that confronts the reader with stories of men left to rot in prisons for the majority of their lives over semantics. This is about using secrecy as an excuse for avoiding the need to deal with problems, to avoid admitting error.Would you believe that 30 or 40 or more years is not long enough to stop the fiction that surrounded the deaths of these people? Even after the truth came about the denials of reality continued to the point that stretches the imagination.The first obligation of any agency is to the people it serves. Within reasonable parameters those who take high-risk covert assignments know that they and those that survive them will suffer unusual hardship. I do not believe they ever tho

Superb Read

Even though I'm a compulsive reader of books about espionage and intelligence issues, I wasn't sure I was going to like "The Book of Honor." Some of the life stories it tells happened so long ago that at first blush they don't seem relevant to the present day.Yet I found the book very hard to put down and the story of the first man who died in CIA service (1949) to be one of the most poignant. I won't spoil the tale here but will simply say oh, to have come so far after suffering so much and then to die like that!James Bond addicts are not going to find much here to their liking. The deaths Gup chronicles are either very ordinary --a car accident, a plane crash-- or provide dramatic proof that even intelligence officers are not immune to a bullet or bomb. But the character sketches of the often heroic men and women who died these sad deaths are quite compelling. And even though I accept that some of the recent entries in the Book of Honor have to remain annonymous (at least for the time being), it is very difficult to understand why a 21 year old secretary who died in a car bombing 35 years ago in Saigon cannot be acknowledged as one of the Agency's own. I think refusing to do so is cruel to her survivors.

Fascinating topic, written well

This book tells fascinating stories in intricate detail about people who died in service for their country. It humanizes these sometimes nameless stars and puts the history of the Central Intelligence Agency into perspective through its lost agents' lives. The author is not only an excellent writer, but also a great professor (I've been a student of his at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland). His writing style has a good rhythm and is enjoyable to read. In all, a great story told very well.

" And the Truth shall set you free.."

Ted Gups' efforts to pierce the secrecy of the Central Inteligence Agency has revealed the human side of covert operations . My father , John Merriman ,was assigned to the Congo in the summer of 1964 , to provide logistical assistance to an "Instant Air Force " comprised of T-28 , counter- insurgency aircraft and the Cuban exile pilots that crewed them . It is a difficult task to investigate the result of years of secrecy and denial , but Ted Gup has reaffirmed the courage and patriotism of not just the men and women whose names are inscribed in the Book of Honor , but also their families who had to sometimes live with a lie . His work has produced a written legacy to all the othewise nameless menbers of the CIA who made the ultimate sacrifice in unknown circumstances. My fathers story and those of all the others , can come out of the shadow of secrecy and into the light of American history .
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