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A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran | [Reza Kahlili]

A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran

A true story as exhilarating as a great spy thriller, as turbulent as today's headlines from the Middle East, A Time to Betray reveals what no other previous CIA operative's memoir possibly could: the inner workings of the notorious Revolutionary Guards of Iran, as witnessed by an Iranian man inside their ranks who spied for the American government.
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Publisher's Summary

A true story as exhilarating as a great spy thriller, as turbulent as today's headlines from the Middle East, A Time to Betray reveals what no other previous CIA operative's memoir possibly could: the inner workings of the notorious Revolutionary Guards of Iran, as witnessed by an Iranian man inside their ranks who spied for the American government.

It is a human story, a chronicle of family and friendships torn apart by a terror-mongering regime, and how the adult choices of three childhood mates during the Islamic Republic yielded divisive and tragic fates. And it is the stunningly courageous account of one man's decades-long commitment to lead a shocking double life informing on the beloved country of his birth, a place that once offered the promise of freedom and enlightenment---but instead ruled by murderous violence and spirit-crushing oppression. Reza Kahlili grew up in Tehran surrounded by his close-knit family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs. His political and personal freedoms flourished while he studied computer science at the University of Southern California in the 1970s. But his carefree time in America was cut short with the sudden death of his father, and Reza returned home to find a country on the cusp of change. The revolution of 1979 plunged Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism under the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Reza, clinging to the hope of a Persian Renaissance, joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force at the beck and call of the Ayatollah.

But as Khomeini's tyrannies unfolded, as his fellow countrymen turned on each other, and after the horror he witnessed inside Evin Prison, a shattered and disillusioned Reza returned to America to dangerously become "Wally," a spy for the CIA.

©2010 Lepton Investments, LLC (P)2010 Tantor

What the Critics Say

“Genuinely powerful.... People in the Iranian operations division at the CIA should welcome A Time to Betray as a virtual recruitment poster.” (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (283 )
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4.0 (213 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Walter Wheaton, IL, United States 10-24-11
    Walter Wheaton, IL, United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2005

    Conservative Catholic Curmudgeon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absorbing throughout. Questionable at times."

    An interesting and absorbing account. However, some of his accounts of unverifiable conversations seem a bit too convenient to the image of himself he is trying to present (e.g. confronting his friend about the morality of his role in the regime right before the friend gets killed).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn BEAUMONT, TX, United States 10-06-11
    Lynn BEAUMONT, TX, United States 10-06-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Informative Memoir"

    A Time to Betray is Reza Kahili’s story of how he became disillusioned with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and came under the influence of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It provides a unique insight into the role of the CIA in information gathering in the country, life under the religious fundamentalism, and how working as a double agent affected Kahili’s family life. In this regard, this is more of a memoir. Anyone looking for a hard hitting expose of how the CIA worked during Kahili’s era might be disappointed. However, the book carries a lot of human interest and insight into how the life of a spy can disrupt an entire life. Segments of the book seemed a little melodramatic to me, but my personal preferences should not deter one from enjoying this excellent book. The reading of Richard Allen is excellent.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Austin, TX 04-20-11
    Doug Austin, TX 04-20-11 Member Since 2003
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    "Where Do Informants Come From?"

    Have you EVER wondered just HOW the U.S. finds people to spy on their own country? I always found that a bit puzzling. The author was right in the center of Iran as many historical events happened going all the way back to the 1970's. He was very pro-American before the Iranian Revolution, and was constantly torn with his loyalties, double life and deadly secrets. Many times I felt seriously moved by the author's tale. Other times, I felt like a fly on the wall in a different era in Iran. I felt that I learned something about another country and their people. I had ONE reservation....in the back of my head, I constantly wondered if this story is exactly what it claims to be. I kept getting a feeling that many parts of this book were compiled from multiple sources, intelligence reports and real spy stories, then rewritten as a coherent first-person narrative. The book gives a face to problem. It strongly supports a military agenda against Iran, and (at the end) even suggests that Iran assisted with September 11th. Either way, this story can't all be propaganda....there is something still very human at its center. Lastly, the narrator here gives one of the best audio book performances I've yet heard. He captures a wounded kind of nobility that really brings this story to life. Still....totally worth the read!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 12-19-10
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 12-19-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Worth the listen"

    Good insight on the inner workings of a Moslem led government. This proves the value to me the value of a separation of church and state.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Stafford, VA, United States 03-21-13
    Christopher Stafford, VA, United States 03-21-13
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    "Good story irritating narration"
    What did you love best about A Time to Betray?

    This story is interesting and about a very secretive society in a very secretive country


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Richard Allen?

    Someone with a Persian accent should have been cast or alternatively someone that can impersonate a Persian accent. This guy does a terrible job and his fake accent isn't close. I've spent lots of time in the Middle East and have Persian friends. It's just irritating to hear a voice so far off base.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Traveler PA 12-19-10
    Traveler PA 12-19-10 Member Since 2009

    JS

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    "You gotta buy this book."


    This is perhaps the best book I have listened to this year. The narrator is excellent and you will be unable to put this book down. This book gets close and personal as a single man tries to free his country from the grip of terror brought about by Islamic terrorist. It is too bad our country has turn a deaf ear to the cries of woman and children that are being slaughtered on a daily basis in Iran.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnny Alexandria, VA, United States 10-27-13
    Johnny Alexandria, VA, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book, Farsi speakers will hate narrator"
    Would you try another book from Reza Kahlili and/or Richard Allen?

    The writing is fantastic and so is the story. I speak Farsi and found myself in agony over the narattor's accent. It sounds more like a Congolese accent than a Persian one. This killed it for me and took away a lot from the experience. If you can handle Tehran being pronounced in an African accent then this presentation will be totally great for you!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan CHARLESTON, SC, United States 09-13-13
    Jordan CHARLESTON, SC, United States 09-13-13
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    "A genuine work of fiction"

    Purchased this book because it was advertised as a true story. Anyone who has worked in the intelligence community will be able to quickly see this is a work of fiction based around historical events. Even if any of it is true, the title is a lie. This guy would have been an informant for the CIA, not an agent. Huge difference. It doesn't really matter though because this a "Tropic Thunder" of a book. Probably riveting for all the fiction readers, but for nonfiction readers it's garbage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia United States 09-10-13
    Cynthia United States 09-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Detailed and Captivating"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Time to Betray to be better than the print version?

    No-same


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Time to Betray?

    One of the most memorable moments was when his wife expressed her hatred and disgust for the job he held with the Revolutionary Guards. The emotions that Reza had were powerful and well conveyed.


    Have you listened to any of Richard Allen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Cry


    Any additional comments?

    -

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trent Tacoma, WA, United States 08-19-13
    Trent Tacoma, WA, United States 08-19-13
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    "Fantastic book!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Time to Betray the most enjoyable?

    Unbelievable story that is absolutely riveting. Much like a good physical book is hard to put down, this audio book was so compelling that It was very hard to pause the recording.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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