After seeing the movie, Argo, I just had to know more. In my search, I came across The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio Mendez with Malcolm McConnell (William Morrow, 2000; Nonfiction, 376 pgs) and my curiosity took the better of me. I purchased the e-copy and began reading almost right away. I found The Master of Disguise to be fascinating reading. Mendez and McConnell write about the evolution of the disguise being used in Intelligence work and Mendez's role in advocating and mastering it. So much detail and care is put into the disguises--the need to make them passable as realistic being of utmost importance. People's lives depend on it. The Cold War was under way when Mendez joined the CIA and he shares his experiences during that time, including his work forging documents during the Vietnam War, his work in the Soviet Union and Tehran. I especially enjoyed reading about Mendez's time in Moscow in 1976--the KGB was a force to be reckoned with and the obstacles the CIA had to overcome seemed near impossible. He also goes into the politics and public view of the CIA during a very tumultuous time in the agencies history. Clearly the book is slanted in a positive light, and Mendez admits up front he wrote the book at a time when the CIA was trying to improve its public image by becoming more open. Still, I can't help but have a new found respect and awe for the dedication and hard work of the CIA operatives. Regardless of the political figures pulling the strings and their political agendas, the men and women in the trenches have to be smart, cunning and quick on their toes. Although at times a slow read, The Master of Disguise is well worth reading.
Stacy's Books a boatload of thanks for sending me her copy of I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile (Chronicle Books, 2007; Nonfiction, 240 pgs). I wish I'd made time for the book sooner than I did. I actually started reading it when I first received it, but for some reason set it aside. When I did pick the book up again, I found so many of the lessons apt to my situation--from the guilt to the too high of expectations to the judgement (both by myself and by others), and perhaps my biggest issue--asking for help when I need it. Parenthood is hard right from the gate, there is no denying it. It's just nice to read a book where women admit it--and admit to not being saints. And, really, sometimes all you can do it laugh about it: the mistakes and the hard times. This was definitely a good book for taking on some rather difficult issues while at the same time normalizing them, seeing the humor in it all and offering solutions to readjusting one's expectations and thinking.
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