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Publisher's Summary

In the entrance of the CIA headquarters looms a huge marble wall in to which seventy-one stars are carved - each representing an agent who has died in the line of duty. At the base of this wall lies "The Book of Honor," in which the names of these agents are inscribed, or at least thirty-five of them. Beside the dates of the other thirty-six, there are no names. The identity of these "nameless stars" has been one of the CIA's most closely guarded secrets for the fifty-three years of the agency's existence. Even family members are told little - in some cases, the agency has denied the fact that the deceased were covert operatives at all.

But what the CIA keeps secret in the name of national security is often merely an effort to hide that which would embarrass the agency itself - even at the cost of denying peace of mind for the families and honor due the "nameless stars." In an extraordinary job of investigative reporting, Ted Gup has uncovered the identities, and the stories, of the men and women who died anonymously in the service of their country. In researching The Book of Honor, Gup interviewed over four hundred current and former covert CIA officers, immersed himself in archival records, death certificates, casualty lists from terrorist attacks, State Department and Defense Department personnel lists, cemetery records, obituaries, and tens of thousands of pages of personal letters and diaries.

In telling the agents' stories, Gup shows them to be complex, vibrant, and heroic individuals - nothing like the suave super spies of popular fiction or the amoral cynics of conspiracy buffs. The accounts of their lives - and deaths - are powerful and deeply moving, and in bringing them at long last to light, Gup manages to render an unprecedented history of covert operations at the CIA.

Listen to Ted Gup on C-SPAN's Booknotes (8/27/00).

©2000 Ted Gup (P)2000 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Gup may have succeeded in humanizing the CIA." (AudioFile)

What members say

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

Good book on the hidden men who gave their lives

based on the description of the book and the author's introduction it's easy to assume the book is just another piece of liberal anti-CIA hurt feelings garbage. Turns out it's pretty informative and the author did a great deal of investigation to tell the story of men that paid the ultimate sacrifice and are otherwise unknown.... There was almost zero anti-CIA sentiment whatsoever.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Blake
  • Annapolis, MD, United States
  • 08-14-09

Thoroughly Enjoyable Read

This work takes individual names from the CIA's wall of honor, officers and agents killed in the line of duty, and tells their stories in a compelling narrative. The book is a collection of riveting short stories, all well researched, weaved together to form a history of covert actions little known. The narration adds to the action to form a very worthwhile read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Frank Muller

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not in this format. I'm not sure I will be able to finish it. The narration is too distracting.

Would you be willing to try another one of Frank Muller’s performances?

No. He is an award winning narrator, and has an interesting voice. However, from my perspective, his cadence is monotonous. The intonation in each sentence is spoken exactly like the next. He reminds me of Gregory Peck, but in a way where every sentence is spoken as if it is the most significant sentence in the paragraph. Each sentence separate and unconnected from anything else. I don't think I can get through this.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful