Monday, October 17, 2011

Blowing my Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran

My reading life has me all over the place: a magazine article, chapters of the Hunger Games, a false start or two on some new books, reading manuscripts for writer friends.  This is all to explain why so many days have come and gone between my last post and this.

I picked up this funny and fascinating memoir at the Red Cross Book Fair two weeks ago.  I have always enjoyed non-fiction chronicling what people do for a living and there's always been a lot of question in my mind about the CIA and what it means to be a spy for the USA.

My husband asked me right away, how on earth can someone write about how and why spies do what they do, isn't it all a big secret?   She never explains what sort of censors needed to read her book and approve of it, but my gut instinct tells me that why and how spies do what they do isn't really secret.  In fact, many of the things she does, we have seen in the movies a million times over.  What is secret, is who is doing those things.  I feel fairly certain that she did not blow anyone's cover but her own, and now she is decidedly on the outside, it doesn't matter.

Lindsay Moran is a likable person who questions her motives and the CIA motives from the very first day. She presents an honest and often hilarious look at what she does.  The places and the work while fascinating also lends itself to soul crushing loneliness.  You really can't have too many friends when you can't tell people what you do for a living.

Roughly one half (probably more) of the memoir chronicles her process for getting in and the extensive training she is sent through in order to prepare her for what lay ahead in the field.  Spending about 10 years of my own career in Residential Housing at a University, I remember how much we relied on role playing games to teach Resident Assistants how to do their jobs. Guess what?  The CIA relies on the same sort of training techniques.  Learning of all the extensive role playing games (including fake kidnappings, hostage takings and embassy cocktail parties) that go into training a spy was half the fun.  No kidding.

You can probably pick this book up on Amazon or at your local library.  Let me know if you would like to borrow mine.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Role playing works, the science is there to prove it. Try telling that to a bunch of corporate types sitting in a class on "constructive confrontation". :-)