American Spy

Wry Reflections on My Life in the CIA
By: H. K. Roy
Narrated by: Christopher Lane
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $29.99

Buy for $29.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

This ain't your daddy's spy story. In a memoir written as a series of narrative vignettes, a former CIA operations officer recounts his years of danger, intrigue, and adventure.

This candid and darkly witty memoir recounts an exhilarating life - and a few close brushes with death. With remarkable sangfroid and a humorist's eye for absurdity, H. K. Roy describes his many strange and risky exploits in his long career with the CIA. Whether he was pursuing Soviet and Cuban spies, running "denied area" operations in Eastern Europe, hunting Bosnian War criminals, or providing actionable intelligence to US government and coalition forces in Iraq, Roy usually found himself at the right place at the right time.

Except when he didn't - like the time he stumbled into a life-threatening ambush by Iranian terrorists while dodging Serb snipers and shelling in Sarajevo. Eight summers later, caught in a blinding sandstorm between Amman and Baghdad, he learned his fate was in the hands of an Iraqi tribal chief who had just lost his entire family to a US airstrike in Ramadi, in a failed attempt to kill Saddam Hussein that had tragic consequences. 

Combining dedication to duty with a maverick's disdain for bureaucracy, Roy makes it clear that he prefers foreign locales to Washington and thrives on the adrenaline rush that comes with danger. He also sheds much light on why intelligence is an essential component of national defense, even our very survival as a nation.

©2019 H. K. Roy (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. “Chapter 1: Betrayal in the Balkans” accounts originally published in and adapted from “Betrayal in the Balkans,” World & I Magazine, August 2001 “The Closer You Get,” track 1, on Alabama, The Closer You Get, RCA, 2000, compact disc, originally released in 1983. Used with permission by Easy Song Licensing.

What listeners say about American Spy

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    56
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    8
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    7

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

To political

Author claims to despise politics and be apolitical but is highly and negatively critical of Bush and Trump with nothing to say about Obama. I don't think anyone listens to these types of books to hear political opinions. Otherwise, not a bad listen.

12 people found this helpful

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

great cia memoir but politics

I listen or read every cia memoir I can get my hands on and this book is definitely one of the better ones. however, like many past employees of the Government that write books, the author decided to inject some political bashing right on the middle of the story line where it didn't fit. I enjoyed every aspect of the authors story and perhaps his political opinion is correct but no one wants to hear or read it on the middle of a book. other than that, I highly recommend.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good until the 10 minute political rant

Good listen, entertaining and fun. Would have been 5 star but he thought he needed to bash one particular president even though throughout the book they all made mistakes. Pushing his political agenda

8 people found this helpful

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

Superb storytelling of a fascinating CIA career

As a former CIA Operations Officer, I can attest to the accuracy of H.K. Roy's description of CIA training and all facets of life within the CIA's clandestine branch. His storytelling ability allows the reader to marvel at the ingenuity and dedication of CIA Operations Officers putting their lives in harm's way for the United States while having to deal with armchair bureaucrats and opportunistic policy-makers. Roy's witty and often hilarious accounts of his trials and tribulations provide a necessary relief from the seriousness of the mission at hand. Roy is a true patriot. I highly recommend this book!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Don’t Bother

If you like rewarmed Democratic talking points presented by a pompas blowhard— this is your book

10 people found this helpful

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

Nice book , real and heartfelt

I wish I got more details about some operations, but still I enjoyed the sense of humor and the frankness about our government's dysfunctionality.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Surprising

His political comments at the end of the book reveal a bias that not shared by half of the voting public. His unfavorable comment about our President ruined the book for me and eroded the credibility of the book.

2 people found this helpful

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

Excellent

This is the most entertaining and least self glorifying spy book. I enjoyed it fully.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • C
  • 12-18-19

interesting fascinating enjoyable, good listening

interesting fascinating enjoyable, good listening a easy audible book to listen as I do my various things.

2 people found this helpful

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

awesome account of cia officer listened happily

loved this account of a real life CIA officer in so many different settings. true hero IMO

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BrianP
  • BrianP
  • 10-08-19

How I was right and everyone else was stupid

According to this book, had the American government listened to the author, all of the Balkan wars would have been prevented, the insurgency in Iraq would have been prevented and ISIS would never have got started, just some among the many foreign policy mistakes that the author tried to prevent but the US government was too stupid to take seriously. The only bright spot is the entirely justified diatribe against Trump at the end. As for “a wry look”, the leaden delivery made the pathetic jokes fall completely flat