Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey Into Revolutionary Iran

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Westview Press, 1999 - History - 247 pages
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As one of the CIA: finest "Iranian-target" officers in the 1980s, Edward Shirley was a front-line spy in Europe and the Middle East, ferreting out the secrets of the country the Ayatollah Khomeini had made the most vociferous enemy of the United States. The job fulfilled Shirley's lifelong dream: ever since he was a boy growing up in the Midwest, Shirley had been obsessed with Persian culture and the distant adventures it evoked in his imagination. Yet when Shirley left the clandestine service in disillusionment after nine years, he still had never been to Iran - for the CIA sent only painstakingly recruited native-born Iranian agents into a land it considered too dangerous for American-born operatives. Shirley, however, vowed to get to Iran on his own. He engaged a short-haul trucker to smuggle him in a cramped secret compartment across Iran's tightly guarded border with Turkey and into the heart of Tehran. In narrating Know Thine Enemy, a gripping and wry account of his trip, Shirley blends a spy's cunning and nose for adventure with shrewd insights into the Iranian character. He depicts glamorous Westernized Iranians, disillusioned Muslim fundamentalists, and a crippled veteran of the Iran-Iraq war; and he gives a valuable account of America's bete noire in the Middle East. Ordinary Iranians, he reports, are weary of Islamic dogma and the clerical regime and have resorted to cynicism, conspiracy, and black humor as everyday survival tactics, because the radical Islam promulgated by Khomeini and his successors has solved few of Iran's problems. Shirley also takes a long look at the decline of the CIA.

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Know thine enemy: a spy's journey into revolutionary Iran

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Developments in U.S.-Iranian relations since the overthrow of the pro-Western monarchy in 1979 have made it increasingly difficult for the two erstwhile allies to maintain a working relationship ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Edward Shirley served as an Iranian specialist in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. He has published articles in The Atlantic Monthly and Foreign Affairs. In order to protect himself and others, the author chose to have this book published under a pseudonym.

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