Jewish Book Council’s Positive Review: ‘Spies Against Armageddon’ Gripping, Riveting

[This book review appeared on the website of the Jewish Book Council, which writes about books of interest especially to American Jews.  The reviewer is Micah D. Halpern, who closely follows the Israeli-Arab disputes and wrote a book about despots titled Thugs.]

Like all good spy novels, Spies Against Armageddon is gripping, riveting, a real nail biter—only the story it tells is true. There is no make believe and no fiction in Spies Against Armageddon. This book contains the real life material on which spy novels are based.

SAA final book cover (best)Yossi Melman is a feature writer and columnist [in Israel]. Dan Raviv, now a CBS radio news correspondent stationed in Washington, DC, reported for over two decades from the Middle East and other places.

This collaborative effort shows just how Israel’s clandestine services, including the fabled Mossad, work. The book reads like a movie and readers are given front row seats to view secret operation after secret operation and learn how Israeli operatives went the world over to complete their missions. Some of the material is published here for the first time.

Stories are told about missions undertaken in the Arab capitals of Cairo and Damascus. The real story behind Munich 1972 and the teams that went out in search of the Palestinian terrorists who murdered the Israeli Olympic team and its coaches is related in detail. And the authors explain how the January 2010 assassination of Mahmoud Al Mabhouh in Dubai was carried out by a complex array of people and set of arrangements from around the world.

Raviv and Melman extend the world of spying to include an explanation of the Stuxnet, the computer virus that attacked the Iranian nuclear program. The authors draw a timeline and include a map detailing how Stuxnet made its way to Iran and paralyzed the country.

This book is not simply a gripping story of past triumphs and tragedies. It is an attempt to piece together recent operations and to even offer speculation about what may happen in future clandestine operations.

And then it gets even better. The most fascinating component of Spies Against Armageddon has to do with the operations of Kidon. Kidon is a unit in the Mossad—but it is really the Mossad’s Mossad. The ultra secret task of Kidon is to assassinate and to sabotage. Kidon operatives are sent around the world and there is nowhere, nothing, and nobody they cannot get to.

Spies Against Armageddon is a fun and exciting read. It is a book for anyone who wants to learn about Israel’s special weapons, the Israeli intelligence services.

February 9, 2014

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