The Master of Disguise

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Overview

Tony Mendez led two lives. To his friends, he was a soft-spoken, nondescript bureaucrat working for the Department of Defense. To the leaders of the CIA, he was their master of disguise - an undisputed genius who could create an entirely new identity for anybody, anywhere, anytime. Combining the cunning tricks of a magician with the analytical insight of a psychologist, Mendez helped hundreds of people escape potentially fatal situations.

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Overview

Tony Mendez led two lives. To his friends, he was a soft-spoken, nondescript bureaucrat working for the Department of Defense. To the leaders of the CIA, he was their master of disguise - an undisputed genius who could create an entirely new identity for anybody, anywhere, anytime. Combining the cunning tricks of a magician with the analytical insight of a psychologist, Mendez helped hundreds of people escape potentially fatal situations.

From "Wild West" adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow, Mendez was there. He earned the CIA's Intelligence Star of Valor for his role in engineering the escape of six Americans from Tehran in 1980. On the fiftieth anniversary of the CIA, he was named one of the fifty all-time stars of the spy trade, honored with the Trailblazer Award, and granted exclusive permission to tell his fascinating story - all of it.

Here he gives us a privileged look at what really happens in the field and behind closed doors at the highest level of international espionage: some of it is shocking, frightening, and wildly inventive - all of it is unforgettable.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mendez, a 25-year CIA operative who rose to the position of "Chief of Disguise," works hard to demystify the workings of Cold War spy culture. Though he alludes romantically to the agency's work as "a domain of shadows" in his introduction, his approach to this memoir is mostly pragmatic (fans of Robert Ludlum-type spy stories should stick with fiction). Recruited in the 1960s for his skills as an artist, he worked first on forging documents of foreign governments. He then ventured into the field, creating disguises to help "exfiltrate" spies from enemy territory. Was he engaged in CIA "dirty tricks"? Mendez claims not, defending his work as part of a very real "war." Reader Hill, a longtime Brilliance veteran, manages to translate ably the sense of awe that Mendez experienced as he learned the tools of his trade. More important, he makes the events sound credible and real, aided by Mendez's clear-eyed descriptive writing style. Based on the 1999 Morrow hardcover. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
On the 50th anniversary of the CIA, author Mendez was named one of the 50 all-time stars of the spy trade. He has an exceptional ability to conjure up an entirely new identity for anyone anywhere. Although he began making counterfeit identity papers, he eventually branched out, bringing techniques developed in Hollywood to espionage. His greatest feat may have been engineering the escape of the six Americans from Tehran who'd taken refuge in the Canadian Embassy during the 1980 crisis. Dick Hill reads the novel in sympathetic fashion. Clearly, The Master of Disguise will appeal to young adults.--James L. Dudley, Westhampton Beach, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567404913
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 7 cassettes, 10 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 2.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio J. Mendez was born in Eureka, Nevada, and worked as a plumber and illustrator before joining the CIA's technical services staff and ultimately becoming their Chief of Disguise. He has now retired with his wife to rural Maryland, where he pursues his lifelong passion, painting.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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