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Publisher's Summary

From the author of Argo comes an unforgettable behind-the-scenes story of espionage in action. In the first ever memoir by a top-level operative to be authorized by the CIA, Antonio J. Mendez reveals the cunning tricks and insights that helped save hundreds from deadly situations.

Adept at creating new identities for anyone, anywhere, Mendez was involved in operations all over the world, from "Wild West" adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow. In 1980, he orchestrated the escape of six Americans from a hostage situation in revolutionary Tehran, Iran. This extraordinary operation inspired the movie Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

The Master of Disguise gives us a privileged look at what really happens at the highest levels of international espionage: in the field, undercover, and behind closed doors.

©1999 Antonio J. Mendez (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A rare and unique glimpse into the CIA's Office of Technical Services, and, in particular, into the secret work undertaken to supportclandestine operations. A thoroughly absorbing read for both the aficionado and the layman." (Nigel West)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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A Refreshing and Unique Viewpoint

With a budding variety of espionage history and CIA dirty laundry being aired, this particular memoir presented a refreshing and unique viewpoint. I'm glad I stumbled upon the opportunity to read this and I feel it delivers every bit of the four stars I have awarded the experience. Tony presents his history in a fun, well organized, an interesting way. He helps you widen your view of the complex nature of professional espionage without an overbearing focus on the deep, dark horrors of the game many people play. Despite the mostly technical, rather than the mainly covert experiences Tony had, he does not hesitate to clue his readers in when it comes to explaining his quite personal operational activity.

Finally, often times in books surrounding this topic, you wonder how much of what is delivered is falsified intentionally. I felt Tony opted to graciously decline the details which remain classified or would bring harm upon the profession or the professionals within the field, rather than fabricating a lie in its place. For that, I extend my gratitude as well as my already flowing respect for this author.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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FASCINATING

Would you listen to The Master of Disguise again? Why?

Yes, it was entertaining and candid look at the life of a true patriot.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, Antonio Mendez of course. Although the agent that permenantly adopted on a British persona was fascinating as well.

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

No, but he was crisp and his work was solid.

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

Nah, but it was captivating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I really liked this book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It was very interesting. You feel like you are inside the spymasters thinking.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Only the main character is developed.

What about John Pruden’s performance did you like?

Well spoken; easy to understand; different characters were not overplayed, but could be distinguished.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not really. Every story was interesting.

Any additional comments?

I'm ready for another.....

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Knoid
  • Fredericksburg, VA
  • 07-18-16

Excellent look into the dark world

Enjoyed the story and history of the book as well as its presentation. A book for all of those that want to better understand why the Intel community does what it does.

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Interesting Insight

it was a fun story to listen to, a real insight into the cold war spy activities and the story about Argo. But I feel that it kind of missed the mark on portraying the dangers involved. Either I assume that punishments and interrogations of caught spies are worse than they are, or he left them out to seem less grim. Either way it is nice to see a realistic insight.

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  • Blade
  • LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, United States
  • 05-02-16

interesting looks into a bygone world

good lessons on how to create a disguise if one ever needs to use one. Also good information on how to escape surveillance if one needs to. Interesting tales about past CIA operations, some of which were made into movies.

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  • HarveyH
  • Pataskala, OH USA
  • 03-22-16

CIA history of the Cold War.

View inside the CIA of Cold War events. Excellent historical narrative including the events portrayed in the movie Argo.

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it's OK

the book is okay. It is interesting but not exceptional. it's a good read but don't expect too much from it

  • Overall

bought this book on sale

I couldn't get trough this book did not enjoy the narrator. Might give it a try once I have got through everything else.

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Unique Perspective on Cold War and related Era

What did you love best about The Master of Disguise?

Fantastic book by ex-cia man Antonio J. Mendez. Interesting and amazing to hear about the amount of research and work that went into pulling off infiltrations and exfiltrations. If you enjoy history and/or spy material, give it a go.

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

I don't know. My schedule doesn't allow for that.