• The Recruiter

  • Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence
  • By: Douglas London
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 17 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (159 ratings)

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The Recruiter

By: Douglas London
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
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Publisher's Summary

This revealing memoir from a 34-year veteran of the CIA who worked as a case officer and recruiter of foreign agents before and after 9/11 provides an invaluable perspective on the state of modern spy craft, how the CIA has developed, and how it must continue to evolve.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a modern-day spy, Douglas London is here to explain. London’s overseas work involved spotting and identifying targets, building relationships over weeks or months, and then pitching them to work for the CIA - all the while maintaining various identities, a day job, and a very real wife and kids at home.

The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence captures the best stories from London's life as a spy, his insights into the challenges and failures of intelligence work, and the complicated relationships he developed with agents and colleagues. In the end, London presents a highly enjoyable insider’s tale about the state of espionage, a warning about the decline of American intelligence since 9/11 and Iraq, and what can be done to recover.

©2021 Douglas London (P)2021 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"Douglas London draws the reader deeply into the world of CIA operations officers, and in his well-written, clear-eyed account he sheds considerable light on the hitherto murky world of CIA operatives in the field. It is a fascinating read." (Peter Bergen, author of The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden)

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What a whiner

This is the reason why the US intelligence system is screwed up. This guy is a huge whiner and complainer. He’s perfect his bosses are idiots according to him. It was a waste of a purchase.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting story dampened by authors politics

Author constantly injected his own Elitist political views which ruined the otherwise interesting messages he was trying to get across

2 people found this helpful

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Don’t waste a credit on this book.

I would give zero stars if that was an option.
The title is extremely misleading. It should be titled my abysmal career as a case officer.

1 person found this helpful

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OPS Primer with a good dose of Political Intrigue

Great description CIA approach to human intelligence operations by a lifelong practitioner. Unfortunately, the author serve it up with a dose of internal and external political commentaries. More interesting is what is not said, than what is said regarding political appointee vs careerist interaction. His introduction make this very clear in describing the CIA’s bureaucratic review, redactions and (I suspect) insertions. Well worth the read/listen for understanding CIA human intelligence operations. I hope the author found this cleansing, so as to land back into open society.

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Well, it’s not that bad

I have listened to several post-Agency time books, most drop a nose tweak here and there about crappy bosses/culture/etc. This one however, comes across more like a nose tweak and middle finger to bosses with a book mixed in occasionally for publication requirements.

I can appreciate that he takes responsibility for some missteps and issues caused but, this is more of a personal diary of bad days and bad bosses/politics that got in the way of one man’s view of the circumstances.

Admittedly, I am writing this before finishing. However, I also am writing this beforehand because it’s impossible to listen without feeling the need to point out that it couldn’t have been as bad as he makes it out to be if he made it to SIS and choose to stick it out till retirement… having started his complaints from day one of training. It just seems he’s venting about a bad transition to retirement and wanting to burn it all down after leaving. Including throwing in the now required references to LGBTQ/race/religion issues he saw decades before everyone else… and like everyone else he kept it to himself until it was politic to demand he saw it all along and fought against it… right.

Sure, Jan.

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good from time to time

decent book but there's way too many accounts of his personal feelings about people and their dreams therein. I would have preferred more of the case studies on different agents he worked with or missions he did, etc.

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Fascinating book full of thrilling spy stories

Recruitments, handling agents, avoiding surveillance and other scenes depicting the real life of a CIA case officer. Much of it are dramatically different than what you would believe out of watching spy movies. This book is a pleasure to listen to, the writing is sharp, the stories well-paced and the narrator is excellent.

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Author’s Arrogance

Author seemed arrogant in his assessment of others. It seemed to me as a diatribe against those to which he disagreed. I was looking forward to a peek behind the curtain of the CIA and in certain instances we did get those. However, parts of this seemed to me more as a policy proposal. We get enough politics from the political pundits and that was not what I was looking for when I purchased this book.

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Boring

It's clear the author thinks very highly of himself and has an agenda. The first half of the book was somewhat interesting, but as the book went on it was like Ground Hog's day. Overall the book was too political and I stopped listening because I lost interest.

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Interesting but political

It had some good stories and was interesting in that regard. Some trade craft was explained but the part that always came out to me was the anti-Trump sentiment the author wrote about. Although he wrote a little about the democratic abuses of the CIA he was mainly focused on Trump. At least that is what I got out of it. he has several ideas for reform which I can agree with