The Company We Keep

The Company We Keep

A Husband-and-wife True-life Spy Story

Book - 2011
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Robert Baer was known inside the CIA as perhaps the best operative working the Middle East. Over several decades he served everywhere from Iraq to New Delhi and racked up such an impressive list of accomplishments that he was eventually awarded the Career Intelligence Medal.  But if his career was everything a spy might aspire to, his personal life was a brutal illustration of everything a spy is asked to sacrifice. Bob had few enduring non-work friendships, only contacts and acquaintances. His prolonged absences destroyed his marriage, and he felt intense guilt at spending so little time with his children. Sworn to secrecy and constantly driven by ulterior motives, he was a man apart wherever he went.
 
Dayna Williamson thought of herself as just an ordinary California girl -- admittedly one born into a comfortable lifestyle.  But she was always looking to get closer to the edge.  When she joined the CIA, she was initially tasked with Agency background checks, but the attractive Berkeley graduate quickly distinguished herself as someone who could thrive in the field, and she was eventually assigned to "Protective Operations" training where she learned to handle weapons and explosives and conduct high-speed escape and evasion. Tapped to serve in some of the world's most dangerous places, she discovered an inner strength and resourcefulness she'd never known -- but she also came to see that the spy life exacts a heavy toll.  Her marriage crumbled, her parents grew distant, and she lost touch with friends who'd once meant everything to her.
 
When Bob and Dayna met on a mission in Sarajevo, it wasn't love at first sight. They were both too jaded for that. But there was something there, a spark. And as the danger escalated and their affection for each other grew, they realized it was time to leave "the Company," to somehow rediscover the people they'd once been.
 
As worldly as both were, the couple didn't realize at first that turning in their Agency I.D. cards would not be enough to put their covert past behind.  The fact was, their clandestine relationships remained.  Living as "civilians" in conflict-ridden Beirut, they fielded assassination proposals, met with Arab sheiks, wily oil tycoons, terrorists, and assorted outlaws - and came perilously close to dying.  But even then they couldn't know that their most formidable challenge lay ahead.
 
Simultaneously a trip deep down the intelligence rabbit hole - one that shows how the "game" actually works, including the compromises it asks of those who play by its rules -- and a portrait of two people trying to regain a normal life, The Company We Keep is a masterly depiction of the real world of shadows.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307588142
0307588149
Characteristics: 305 p. : map ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Baer, Dayna.

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i
IV27HUjg
Jul 04, 2017

Regardless of your politics or 'world view' I've repeatedly enjoyed this as an audiobook. The narration is excellent, the stories interesting and who knows what's the 'great TRUTH' anymore. Baer is well-versed in middle east studies, culture, language. I don't give a R'sA if you like him or his politics or not - try opening your mind to other points of view. So much of what he may believe or practice or spew may not be my view, but he is interesting.

s
StarGladiator
Jul 03, 2017

I feel about Baer and his books the way I feel about mindless minions who approach me and everyone else every other day for donations to the anti-worker Seattle chapter of Planned Parenthood [unfamiliar with other chapters around the country, but the Seattle one supports anti-worker outfits], and anti-hate groups [sure, if they would shut down the democratic and republicon parties, I could fork over a dollar], or the pro-criminal, anti-worker ACLU [only the Lawyers Guild is acceptable] the pro-superrich League of Conservation Voters [what a colossal scam that is], et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
Baer knows embezzling has gone on, and goes on, at the CIA, but doesn't realize it is one big financial scam. The US military has now been in the Middle East for 25 years, with trillions spent [that is, with the increase in the national debt to profit the billionaires at the expense of the many] resulting in the tortures, deaths and brutal sex trafficking of far too many innocents!
Useless is as useless does . . . .
[It's like those CIA stooges and idiots one sees on CNN all the time - - they were dishonest players with the company, yet we are to now accept them as paragons of truthfulness????]

j
JDP1225
Jul 02, 2017

I've seen Bob Baer on tv many x and watched show he had recently did about Hitler. After watching show I wanted to know more about his history with CIA. This book was written with his wife who he met while working for CIA (she was also agent). Chapters alternate with bob writing chapter on his experience and dayna writing chapter on hers. At one point they meet while working on same assignment. Really interesting book. Plan to read his other books now. I really enjoyed this book. Sat down outside to read on nice day and was done with it next day.

m
Minn2to9
Mar 26, 2015

Great read, great writing

ChristchurchLib Dec 18, 2012

Biography and Memoir December 2012 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=581155

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