Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Spy Who Knew Too Much

The Spy Who Knew Too Much: Pete Bagley's Quest Through a Legacy of BetrayalThe Spy Who Knew Too Much: Pete Bagley's Quest Through a Legacy of Betrayal by Howard Blum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really well written non fiction book that is organized like a good novel. Pete Bagley is a rising CIA star, keeping a cool head and using his extraordinary memory to catalog information. The book is told in past and present tense. The present begins in 1978 when a cover is blown in Moscow. Shortly thereafter, a former CIA agent disappears off his tricked out boat. Pete Bagley, retired CIA agent takes note and activates himself to solve some mysteries that cut his promising career short. The present moves forward from there to Bagley’s death in 2014.

The past tense sets the stage of the Cold War and double agents, defection, moles, and misinformation. Spoiler alert: One thing Russia has down Pat is disinformation. The author writes the book like a novel but is not as the cast of characters is large. Rather than take notes, I followed along well enough but will probably read it again. Absolutely fascinating. The story follows the end of the Cold War and enters into the Cold Peace. The book has a satisfying ending with an unlikely friendship developing. So intriguing is the unlikely friendship, I was led to an earlier work by the protagonist, Pete (Tennent) Bagley and am currently reading about the KGB side of the Cold War. Also fascinating but the cast of characters have Russian names so I’ve mostly given up on keeping track of them.

Better than any spy novel or movie I’ve seen.

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