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The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story

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Robert Baer was known inside the CIA as perhaps the best operative working the Middle East. Over several decades he served everywhere from Iraq to New Delhi and racked up such an impressive list of accomplishments that he was eventually awarded the Career Intelligence Medal.  But if his career was everything a spy might aspire to, his personal life was a brutal illustration of everything a spy is asked to sacrifice. Bob had few enduring non-work friendships, only contacts and acquaintances. His prolonged absences destroyed his marriage, and he felt intense guilt at spending so little time with his children. Sworn to secrecy and constantly driven by ulterior motives, he was a man apart wherever he went.
Dayna Williamson thought of herself as just an ordinary California girl -- admittedly one born into a comfortable lifestyle.  But she was always looking to get closer to the edge.  When she joined the CIA, she was initially tasked with Agency background checks, but the attractive Berkeley graduate quickly distinguished herself as someone who could thrive in the field, and she was eventually assigned to “Protective Operations” training where she learned to handle weapons and explosives and conduct high-speed escape and evasion. Tapped to serve in some of the world's most dangerous places, she discovered an inner strength and resourcefulness she'd never known -- but she also came to see that the spy life exacts a heavy toll.  Her marriage crumbled, her parents grew distant, and she lost touch with friends who'd once meant everything to her.
When Bob and Dayna met on a mission in Sarajevo, it wasn't love at first sight. They were both too jaded for that. But there was something there, a spark. And as the danger escalated and their affection for each other grew, they realized it was time to leave “the Company,” to somehow rediscover the people they’d once been.
As worldly as both were, the couple didn’t realize at first that turning in their Agency I.D. cards would not be enough to put their covert past behind.  The fact was, their clandestine relationships remained.  Living as “civilians” in conflict-ridden Beirut, they fielded assassination proposals, met with Arab sheiks, wily oil tycoons, terrorists, and assorted outlaws – and came perilously close to dying.  But even then they couldn’t know that their most formidable challenge lay ahead.
Simultaneously a trip deep down the intelligence rabbit hole – one that shows how the “game” actually works, including the compromises it asks of those who play by its rules -- and a portrait of two people trying to regain a normal life, The Company We Keep is a masterly depiction of the real world of shadows.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Robert B. Baer

14 books206 followers
ROBERT B. BAER is one of the most accomplished agents in CIA history, and a winner of the Career Intelligence Medal. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including See No Evil—the basis for the acclaimed film Syriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East and frequently appears on all major news outlets. Baer writes regularly for Time.com and has contributed to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He is the current national security affairs analyst for CNN.

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5 stars
257 (13%)
4 stars
572 (30%)
3 stars
751 (40%)
2 stars
228 (12%)
1 star
56 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 283 reviews
Profile Image for Mindful Reader.
40 reviews2 followers
February 15, 2013
Is it possible that a "husband-and-wife-true-life-spy-story could be this mundane? Was that the point of this book? Would it have been more interesting if I had read it in book form instead of listened to the droning monotone voices of the authors on audio? Can there even be life stories and relationships with less emotion? I don't know the answers to these questions, I never will, and I do not care.

This story could have been more effectively, and more excitingly, told in this way, "We were in the CIA. Nothing we did made any difference at all in the world but our family relationships were destroyed by our absences. We found each other and, hopefully, our future will turn out better than our past did. The end."
Profile Image for Paul Pessolano.
1,348 reviews39 followers
April 17, 2011
Robert Baer was probably the best CIA spy that the United States had that handled the Middle East. This was the time when this area was literally a powder keg. The book tells of his experiences in this area and how he befriended people that would help him gather information.

Dayna Williamson was a recent college graduate and wanted more out of life and found that the CIA offered her the excitement and intrigue she desired.

Dayna started at a very mundane job within the CIA but was offered the position of "spy", but she would have to make hard sacrifices to get the job.

Both Robert and Dayna found that their jobs in the CIA would cause them to lose their marriages. Dayna just had a husband, but Robert had a wife and three children. The marriage break-ups were due to the many times they were called out for a job. Some jobs were short-lived, but many would last over several months. Also, their families did not know where they were and had little if any communication with them.

Robert and Dayna found each other while on the job and started a relationship that led to marriage.

The book attracted me because of the sub-title, "A Husband-And-Wife True-Life Spy Story." I must say that I was disappointed because there is very little "spying" done in the book. It deals mainly with the people they knew and many of the stories wind up untold or unfinished.

The absolute best part of the book is in the final chapters when Robert and Dayna attempt to adopt an orphaned child from Pakistan.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,632 reviews435 followers
July 31, 2016
-El matrimonio que espía unido ¿permanece unido?.-

Género. Biografía.

Lo que nos cuenta. Con el subtítulo la historia real de un matrimonio de espías, aproximación a la vida de Robert Baer, contada por él mismo, agente de la CIA con una gran experiencia en inteligencia en Oriente Próximo, y la vida de Dayna Williamson, contada por ella misma, agente de la CIA con roles operativos en contrainteligencia, que se terminarán encontrando en Sarajevo y comenzarán una amistad intensa… y hasta aquí puedo leer, estimadas lectoras y lectores amantes del romance a cualquier precio.

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83 reviews
January 16, 2012
This was not up to Robert Baer's usual quality. The book is not cohesive. Sometimes it seems like the author is name-dropping, bragging, and showing off. Motivations are unclear; for example, while Robert and Dayna Baer indicate that working for the Company destroyed their previous marriages, they don't show how that happened other than noting that they were separated from their spouses for a long time. Some incidents are described in excruciating detail while elsewhere, the events of several years are glossed over. Baer clearly enjoyed and continues to enjoy the power and money that that CIA lifestyle provided and that his resultant book and media career continue to provide. When he seems to say it was not worth it to have the lifestyle given the human relationship toll it took, it comes off as sanctimonious, more like "do as I say" not "do as I do."

While the chapters are alternately written from the point of view of the husband and wife, the style is basically the same making one suspect Baer wrote the whole thing with some input from his wife.

Profile Image for Tori.
709 reviews11 followers
April 23, 2015
This book has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while, thanks to Sara who loaned it to me. It looked like a fairly quick read, and very different from my last book, so I picked it up. It was written by husband and wife spies, detailing some of their experiences working for the CIA. (And the CIA evidently went through it to make sure nothing classified was revealed). It was very informative - not nearly as romantic as James Bond would make us believe. I guess I can't even imagine people who would put their lives on the line like this. Some of the material was a bit beyond my comprehension, but I definitely got more of an appreciation for the people who do this type of work, and also for the people in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., who just happen to be "in the line of fire". Their experience with adoption at the end was also interesting.
Profile Image for Jean.
Author 12 books18 followers
September 9, 2015
I enjoyed the first half of this book. It's about two current-day CIA agents who met and married while on duty. I listened to the Audible version on a trip.

The story is told by both of them, back and forth, as they describe their lives in the CIA before they met and married. He was in Afghanistan and other places. She describes her training and early assignments. This was the most interesting part, because I got to see what the modern CIA is doing (at least up to the late 1990s. After the married and left the CIA the story was more about their personal lives - should we get a dog? where should we live? should we adopt? - and i found it boring.
Profile Image for Juliana Philippa.
1,028 reviews925 followers
April 12, 2011
Interesting, but not what I expected (3.5 stars)

The Company We Keep was by no means a bad book, but I think my expectations were such that I was bound to be a little disappointed. I didn't really know what to expect, but an action, spy, historical/political, and love story - or some combination of the four - was what I had in mind when I started the book, and it ended up being relatively light on all four.

It's an interesting read and I liked how Dayna and Bob each wrote their separate (short) chapters, which are at first completely separate and then start to overlap more and more until they're intertwined and covering the same period and time together. Some pieces seem random and/or not fully explored, both things having to do with their personal lives (felt very piecemeal to me and really not complete) and with their professional ones. I think one thing the book brought home to me was that being in the CIA is not as exciting as it may seem in TV and movies (big shocker, I know!), and that nothing in that world is black and white.

I have a great deal of admiration for Dayna and Bob - their sense of adventure and ability to just pickup and go or be in completely unknown situations was really awe-inspiring to me, who likes to know everything beforehand, have all contingencies planned out, and is basically not the most spur-of-the-moment type person (putting it lightly).

Bottom Line
All in all, the book was quieter than I thought it would be, but worth the read.
[This review is of an advanced copy format of the book]
Profile Image for Jill.
2,190 reviews81 followers
March 28, 2012
I’ve read a couple of books by Robert Baer, and liked them very much, so I was eager to read this memoir by him and his wife about their time together in the CIA, both before and after they got together. (Robert Baer is the author of Sleeping with the Devil, The Devil We Know and See No Evil, which was the basis for the George Clooney movie Syriana.)

Bob and Dayna take turns narrating as they each literally go all over the map from one hotspot to another. Before they got together, they were going to different places at different times, and with the alternating chapters, it was a bit confusing. But I really couldn’t think of how else they could do a book like this in both voices without that happening. More specifics on date and location would have helped, but the book had to be vetted by the CIA, and that probably accounts for the missing information, as well as the disjointedness. In light of that, one can forgive them the disorienting structure; in any event, the stories they tell are quite interesting.

Evaluation: If you want to know what it was like to be in the CIA in the 1980’s and 1990’s, this is an excellent way to find out. Both Bob and Dayna are intelligent and charming, as one might expect from the high-level nature of their jobs. I particularly enjoyed hearing about training and operations in the CIA from a woman’s point of view.
Profile Image for Patrick Brown.
142 reviews2,470 followers
December 26, 2012
Disappointing, mostly because the bar had been set so high by Baer's previous books, particularly See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism. The first half of the book lived up to that earlier title, with Bob and Dayna trading incredible spy stories. A particular highlight was the section in which Bob brought Yuri, the KGB agent, to the US for a vacation. Yuri, a native of Tajikistan, marveled at the TV in his hotel room, the meals they served on the plane, the Clemson football game he attended. Great stuff. I also enjoyed seeing Dayna's side of the CIA. She had more the action-hero career than Bob did, it seems.

Unfortunately, the book didn't feel like it held together as it should have. It read more like a series of vignettes than a narrative, and as much as I'm happy for them (since they are, you know, real people), I didn't find myself that engaged with their adoption struggle.

If you're looking for a Robert Baer book to read, I would definitely start with See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil. While this offered something a little different, it didn't thrill me in quite the way those did.
Profile Image for Philip.
1,442 reviews75 followers
March 3, 2023
Thought it would be interesting to hear a spy story told by a husband and wife team - but boy, was I wrong. Baer accomplishes the near-impossible by making the life of a spy actually sound boring. It didn't help that he and his wife recorded the audiobook themselves. Baer's narration was somnambulant and nearly put me to sleep as well, reading every sentence with the same inflection. I know he's written other books that have been well-reviewed, and have seen him as a talking head on CNN and other networks as an intelligence expert. So maybe his other books are better - but based on this one, I don't think I'm going to make the effort to find out.

The back of the book says "as worldly as they both were, the couple didn't realize at first that turning in their Agency ID cards would not be enough to put their cover past behind." But in fact, as far as I could tell that's EXACTLY what happened - they quit the Agency and went off and bought a house in the mountains and did some work for ABC and finally went through the rather complicated adoption of a Pakistani baby. Period.

Conclusion? Worst. Spy. Story. Ever.
Profile Image for Loren Secretts.
Author 3 books10 followers
May 7, 2014
Its no secret that I'm somewhat enthralled with the CIA, and so it should come as no surprise that I was intrigued with this book.
This was a page turner for me, and I particularly enjoyed reading the story of a gutsy real life heroine. Bob's own accounts on the field didn't leave me breathless as I was expecting, but they were entertaining.

Regarding content, there is some crass language, and the spies form a romantic relationship while still married to other spouses.

At the end of the day, I'm so unimpressed with this couple. Their story has left me disappointingly uninspired.
I hope the attitude of the authors doesn't reflect that of the majority of personnel employed to ensure the safety of the U.S.. It seems that they were only dong their jobs to escape the drudgery of real life and investment in relationships (though admittedly there is self growth in the relationship dep.).
It's okay to be motivated by adrenalin spikes, but that shouldn't be the only factor in serving your country. Shouldn't there also be some sense of to serve and protect, or some idea bigger than oneself?
Profile Image for Kelley.
337 reviews13 followers
August 14, 2013
so I really wanted this non-fiction account of a true-life husband and wife spy team to be a catchy read about life under the radar and their ensuing love affair. HOWEVER, the story was just a rehash of some of the missions they went on (which are not actually that glamorous), touched on a few of their meetings before they fell in love and then their life post CIA which included them adopting a foreign baby. I really felt like they left a LOT out about their lives and the overall effect of the book was....well, pretty boring. I think a lot of people were hooked by the title and frankly were just let down by the lack of action or overall point of the story. I did find it interesting to find out how Dayna got into the CIA and her training but Bob did not give any insight to why he was in the agency. Also, neither one really discussed why they broke up their first marriages, their exes just kind of disappeared as the book one. Sigh....last summer I was all about non-fiction texts and this was the only one I read this summer. What a downer.
36 reviews
August 22, 2012
The title interested me as did the look at a different way of life and reading a book outside my usuals. Wasn't as romantic as it appeared it was going to be, since they both ditched their first spouses and one of them their kids not for each other but originally for the job. Bob's first wife and he met in the CIA too. Still, I found it worth finishing and learned about the world more and the fact that going into the CIA could ruin your marriage! This couple met in it, but doesn't stay in for that reason. I hope they stay together. Misleading title perhaps. I am thankful to live here and for the people who do the tough work of keeping us safe. Maybe agents should be young and single though.
Also gave two stars because it was pretty hard to follow at times and it bugs me when I can't figure something out. Maybe that was because the chapters were disjointed or because some info was changed for protection.
Profile Image for Marisa.
95 reviews7 followers
May 3, 2011
I love a good spy story, but this wasn't it. I don't really understand exactly what it was--a series of "remember that time..." stories told by a husband and wife, which should include "I guess you had to be there" at the end of each chapter. With one story told by Dayna and the next by Bob, any sequencing that might have been there is easily lost. And I really don't understand the way that suspense is built--all these details leading you to think that finally you may be in the middle of the chapter that finally gives you a clue about the real story in the book...only for it to end, never to be mentioned again.

In the end, I kind of feel like it was just the two of them thinking it would be fun to write a book together. I mean, come on, they were in the CIA, there should be something in their collective experience that could make a book. Unfortunately, this wasn't it.
418 reviews3 followers
August 24, 2011
If this book had not been lying around the house I would not have sought it out. Spies working for the CIA are not of particular interest to me. But I knew so little about the topic that this book was a revelation. The format is very readable. Two CIA employees tell their stories in alternate chapters. The fact that they eventually meet and marry adds a personal touch to the otherwise grim and gritty details of their assignments in some of the world’s most volatile countries. Much of the time their jobs are boring and uneventful, spiked occasionally with hair-raising incidents. Often the individual spies play such small parts in large covert operations that they never learn if they have contributed to successful outcomes. I can only marvel that these authors and their colleagues make the choice to live on the edge.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,421 reviews
June 10, 2011
The NPR interview with this couple, former CIA operatives in war-torn countries around the world, was fascinating. Unfortunately the book is superficial and just terrible. I am put off by poor writing. The chapters alternate between the two authors but it is all written in present tense in too colloquial, yet mostly complete, sentences. Terms like "all those years ago" are meaningless when there is no telling when this story takes place. The chapters are a collection of half stories that don't come together. The interview was about living lives of lies as CIA agents and the effect on their families. But the book only goes there vey superficially without true introspection by these two very selfish people.
Profile Image for Joanne Pass.
34 reviews
February 4, 2012
ok, so i absolutely loved this book. why because it is a TRUE story but you don't really believe that it is. i mean, how can someone train to be a spy? you learn how in this book. talk about running all over and seeing the world. well that's what bob and dayna do here, all the while hunting down and trying to identify the bad guys. (sometimes that in and of itself is ridiculously difficult). but what is so interesting is that much of the time they are "schmoozing" foreign nationals, diplomats,and other spies, often trying to recruit the most unlikely people to come to the other (the US's) side.
i recently saw bob baer interviewed on tv. when you listen to him talk he seems like a regular joe....until you read the book, you realize what an amazing life he has lived.
Profile Image for Ellen McGinnis.
44 reviews
April 5, 2011
I was disappointed in this book co-written by a husband and wife, formerly in the CIA. The stories of adventures in the CIA were interesting, but overall this was a pretty superficial attempt to tell their story. To the extent they explored personal feelings as their relationship evolved, and its effect on others (they were both married when the story begins), the situations were treated in a facile way. It was as if there was some rush to get through to the end. Very unsatisfactory.
Profile Image for Joan.
159 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2012
This book gives you some idea of what life is like in the CIA. I'm sure a lot of it is watered down. Also, the writing is not the best. On the whole, it was an interesting read.
412 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2015
While there were some interesting parts overall I was disappointed by the disjointedness of the way the book was put together.
311 reviews2 followers
January 17, 2019
I don't understand why anyone would want to be a spy. Yes, the reasons may include love of country and a desire to serve, or just being adventurous. But lying to everyone, concealing, guarding everything you say, maintaining paranoid awareness 24/7--what kind of a life is that? The ego boost of putting something over on someone must be a strong addiction.

So it would be foolish for someone (me) to think that this book, composed of the memoirs of two former CIA agents, might partially or wholly answer the question of why. And this book doesn't. But it includes a number of interesting anecdotes about their lives undercover.

Robert Baer's relationship with his wife and family fell apart during the years he served in various overseas posts, often in the Middle East. He participated in and supervised intelligence gathering and recruiting operations. It seems that the idea of moving pieces around the board, along with the adventure and risk, appealed to him.

Dayna Baer's marriage was all but over when she joined the CIA. At first, she conducted background checks for prospective CIA hires. Then she volunteered for training in surveillance and support in the field. It seems that the exotic places and unfamiliar experiences appealed to her.

They met while on assignment, fell in love, and decided to leave the CIA, although Bob, hooked on secrecy, continued to get involved in intrigues.

While enjoyable to read, the accounts of their operations are spotty, with little context. When they receive an assignment, they are told only the minimum about what they're doing, and they're never told why. They may follow an individual and report his movements without knowing who he is or why the CIA cares. They don't know whether the information they collected had value or resulted in any action. And there is the usual concern about revealing sources and methods. So gaps are to be expected, but they leave the reader unsatisfied.

The book includes flashes of the transition from the spy biz to a "regular" life, but there are gaps here, too. Secrecy is a hard habit to break.
Profile Image for PoligirlReads.
548 reviews9 followers
June 5, 2017
This was a fantastic read! This was my first introduction to the Baers. I liked the back-and-forth format, as the two are eventually introduced to each other and begin working together.

Dayna's stories of training, and both of their missions offered a fascinating glimpse into the field work of the CIA. The descriptions of the mission in Greece were so vivid that I could feel my pulse racing, wondering if they'd be caught!

Those exciting missions, of course, come at a cost. Their marriages end, Robert's an absentee father, and Dayna's dad ends up latching on to a woman that serves as a surrogate daughter as Dayna is rarely around to nurture the relationship. It's a sobering thing to read, and certainly makes life with "the Company" seem decidedly less glamorous. I did like the levity introduced in the form of Bob's mother. I loved that she just invited herself over to Tajikistan and befriended (and gave her number out!) to a cast of unsavory characters.

What I liked about this book is that the two of them come off as very human, Bob especially. For such a clever spy, he makes a series of rather boneheaded decisions. This is a nice contrast from the "superspy" portrayals you typically see.

If I liked it so much, why only four stars? I knocked off a star because the ending chapters about the adoption was not remotely interesting to me. I get how it fit in with the theme of family, but I was much more interested in the family aspects *while* they were in the CIA; not after they had left. Overall, a very good read, and one I could see rereading again.

299 reviews10 followers
March 1, 2021
The Company We Keep gives a realistic view on the life of two real life CIA spies.

The narrative was great: to the point but definitely entertaining. The quotes above each chapter were a lovely addition. Most of them gave a new insight into the world we jump into in that chapter; a different country, a different culture.

Although I initially started reading because I was interested in the perspective on life, big world events and prominent world leaders, I ended up finishing the story for a different reason. Don't get me wrong, I loved the way the authors are able to show us a different side to the oil sheiks, desert princes and government officiates. But throughout the story I also became more and more connected to the narrators. They show us a personal side of themselves that resonated with me, and I'm genuinely impressed by the way that they go through their own positive character arc. Ending in new people, with new dreams and values.
Very cool.

Sexual content: none
Coarse language: mild
Violence and gore: moderate
Trigger warning: terrorist attacks

To summarize, I enjoyed this. I enjoyed the 'wow' moments that come with a realization that certain wondrous and horrible things you see in movies are based on reality and the perspective they offer on my own life. And I appreciate the personal story of growth secretly interwoven into the book's main events.
The Company We Keep is a story anyone should read, I believe, to get a better sense of the world around them and appreciate their own life just a little bit more.
Profile Image for Eva.
44 reviews
July 24, 2018
An entertaining memoir-in-highlights of a husband and wife who were covert operatives abroad with the CIA. The husband, who also wrote the memoir which is the basis for the movie Syriana, brought his wife onboard to share anecdotes and the story of their courtship and building a family. The up-close suspense of several operations will thrill any espionage fan; however there are some questionable flaws in the packaging of this story.

As an anthology of escapades, the zooming back and forth through chronology doesn't make the story stronger. The latter segment of the book is about married and parental life after the Agency, which though endearing seems out of place next to the rest of the narrative.

There are also some mind-boggling characterizations glossed over breezily - especially from people we would hope to be experts on human geography:

A Russian of Asian ethnicity (of which there are many) "looks more Chinese than Russian."
Marx hated Central Asians and their languages ("That’s what I’ve really learned here: what great haters Marx, Lenin, and Stalin were. They hated Central Asian culture, its babel of languages, its religions, and in particular Islam.")
African-American characters are introduced with that descriptor while other Americans are just Americans;
Trotskyite ideology is "odd,"
Sex workers are rare "without a black eye or a broken nose" and it's laughable that one might be invited to a family home as a guest.

By the end it's hard to care about the woman who authored most of those sentences, but she doggedly devotes her final chapters to a foreign-adoption saga which would be more at home in the self-congratulatory Eat-Pray-Love genre.
1,242 reviews3 followers
April 9, 2022
Quite a look into the exciting-sounding, dangerous lives of official government spies. I liked it for that reason, but not pleased with the back-and-forth description. As with similar types of books, there's probably no other way to tell parallel stories like this one.

I'd just get interested in her life and then it would switch to his life or at least his POV, etc. I do admire how they could "lie" so convincingly and pretend a lot in order to keep up their false front and probably save their lives. I don't know how they could keep so many secrets from their families, must be the training!

I'm thankful for US security that they were so talented in probably preventing multiple deaths and tragedies!

I kept losing interest /falling asleep with the abrupt changes, so i must have searched 8- 10 times for where i left off, review a bit, then keep listening.

I agree with another reviewer that their wanting to adopt a baby at that point was surprising, but I guess that's true in many lives!

Overlook audio @1.25 speed
Profile Image for Richard Croner.
112 reviews1 follower
February 9, 2018
I don't remember the exact quote regarding military personnel in a war zone but it was along the lines of daily boredom punctuated with moments of sheer terror. After having read this book I think it also applies to spies. I read other reviews that did not think this book was well written and I disagree. I think it was a pretty good description of a pair of people who devoted a chunk of time to serving the government of this country and its people. One of the questions that came to me was how people in this business accumulate enough money to live their lifestyle both during and after they leave the service. There is probably some mundane reason but I don't know it. Bottom line is I found the book interesting and informative. It is one of the best I have read on the topic.
Profile Image for Barbara Baker.
48 reviews
April 9, 2018
Lives Unlike the Rest of Ours

Greatly differing from a spy novel, The Company We Keep reveals true to life descriptions of daily life as a CIA operative in the Middle East, some of which was unremarkable, some of which was exciting. The main characters in the book could be good friends of people on the other side of battles and politics but remain loyal to their own country. Most of us will never experience what these people have gone through, but we can respect them for their commendable bravery and steadfast spirit. This book is an interesting story of lives very different from ours.
178 reviews
April 6, 2019
Interesting story about a man and a woman who met and fell in love while both working as CIA operatives. It was a little less exciting than I was expecting, but I imagine that the real life of a CIA agent is often less glamorous than it is in the movies. The book was a bit disjointed to me, but I did enjoy learning so much more about the Middle East and Eastern Europe than I had in the past. I learned so much history of an area I am not familiar with, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to live in these war-torn countries and meeting with these international criminals. Very interesting to get a real-life view!
Profile Image for April.
212 reviews
January 7, 2023
“In the end, family all comes down to what Bob says about spying: you either tend the human element or watch what’s really of value slip away”

This felt like a very realistic window into the life of a CIA spy, on the job and off. I greatly appreciated the jabs and disgruntled employee types of comments. Spy craft has such a fairytale aura around it, it was nice to read about how even spies aren’t immune from inefficient policies and coworker quirks.

I wouldn’t call this a page turner but the flow of the writing makes sense and the story told is solid. The more you read the more obvious the authors’ purpose and vision become.
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