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'Good Spy' scrutinizes Middle East CIA officer Robert Ames
'Good Spy' scrutinizes Middle East CIA officer Robert Ames

The collapse last month of America's latest efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal marked another spin in the relentless cycle of heartache, conflict and terrorism in the Middle East. Arguably no American was more familiar with the region's tortured dynamics than Robert C. Ames, a legendary CIA officer and Mideast specialist who is the subject of Kai Bird's engrossing biography, "The Good Spy." Bird shared a Pulitzer in 2005 for "American Prometheus," his magisterial biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He brings the same careful scrutiny to Ames, and partly for personal reasons: The son of a U.S. diplomat, Bird had lived as a boy near the...

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