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  • The Perfect Kill

  • 21 Laws for Assassins
  • By: Robert B. Baer
  • Narrated by: Keith Szarabajka
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 326
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 293
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 291

Assassination has been dramatized by literature and politicized by infamous murders throughout history, and for Robert Baer, one of the most accomplished agents to ever work for the CIA, it's a source of endless fascination, speculation, and intrigue. Over several decades, Baer served as an operative, from Iraq to New Delhi and beyond; notably, his career was the model for the acclaimed movie Syriana.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Kill the King, Don't Slap Him

  • By Mike on 01-06-15

Kill the King, Don't Slap Him

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-06-15

The Perfect Kill is not so much a book about assassination's "rules"as it is a book about Lebanon, Baer, and the career of one particular assassin who was active in Lebanon In the 1980s, and for two decades thereafter, until his eventually slaying (presumably by Israeli intelligence) in 2008. That man - Hajj Radwan - was was something like the "White Whale" of Baer's CIA career and post-career. This is quite understandable, as Radwan was not only a prolific political killer, but a "ghost," who for much of his career evaded so much as single photograph. His roles in the 1983 embassy bombing, barracks bombing, and scores of other attacks, are laid bare in this book (to a greater degree than in Baer's previous book), and Baer even draws a line between him and the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. Hearing Baer speculate about the cause and effect relationships of seemingly disparate events is truly fascinating stuff. He is a brilliant spook and this is his beat.

I've been admirer of Bob Baer's since reading his first book in 2002, "See No Evil," a memoir organized around his experience as a CIA officer in Lebanon in the 1980s. One of the highlights of that first book was Baer's (infectious) fixation with the mystery of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, and I enjoyed "The Perfect Kill" for many of the same reasons. If you like Baer, or share he fascination with the unknowable and contradictory subterranean politics of the Middle East generally, and Lebanon particularly, you'll probably love this book. If not, you will still probably enjoy much it, but its trajectory may seem weird. For Baer, this book is deeply personal.

A few additional notes: The narration is absolutely outstanding. The organization is a little bit contrived but (especially in view of the redactions) not unmanageable.

Bottom line: This is not a 5-star book, but it's fun. If you're in the mood for to step through the looking glass, you won't find a better guide than Bob Baer -- well worth the credit.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Modern Scholar

  • Astronomy II: Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe
  • By: Prof. James Kaler
  • Narrated by: Prof. James Kaler
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 166

As far as we can see there are countless other galaxies of all shapes and sizes set within an ever-expanding space that was created in a "Big Bang" nearly 14 billion years ago. Along with solutions to old puzzles, however, come new riddles, as most of our Universe appears to be in the form of some kind of unseen "dark matter" and incomprehensible "dark energy" whose natures and origins remain unfathomable.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely awesome!

  • By R. David Mintz on 03-04-10

Prof. Kaler's lectures set the standard.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-14

Would you listen to The Modern Scholar again? Why?

I've listened to it 3 times in the 5 or so years I've owned it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Modern Scholar?

His description of type 2 supernovas. I listed to twice while falling asleep on a business trip.

Which character – as performed by the narrator – was your favorite?

The chapters featuring Prof. Kaler's explanations of star formation and destruction, and discussing the different types and "populations" of stars, are

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

A tour de force of a lecture.