Author: Amy B. Zegart –
Publisher: Kalorama –
Genre: Politics, Security –
Overall rating: 5/5 –
Writing: 5/5 –
Duration: 11:55 (feels long) –
Narrator: Amy B. Zegart –
Narrator/performance: 5/5 –
Impressions: n/a –
Performance errors: 0/5 –
Complexity/reading level: 5/5 –
The book was released in 2022 and its full title is: Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence. It is an exciting title, produced by a very competent author.
I immensely enjoyed the audiobook version as it conveyed genuine fascination about the subject and the Author’s contentment derived from the project. She was happy to have written the book, to be reading it to the listener, to thank the people who participated in its creation – the experts involved, the family that helped with the drafts, perhaps even the students who listened to the history of American intelligence agencies in the past. The book conveys the type of integrity which makes the reader comfortable and the time spent with the book – worthwhile.
It is hard for me to rate the contents as the subject is fairly new for me. What stood out from my perspective was the great attention paid to the inner workings of the American executive branch and the question of parliamentary oversight. Such parts made the book seem relevant and reliable though still not overly academic. The book also describes in a lot of detail and depth the question of covert action, a misunderstood yet important part of American foreign policy. I enjoyed the techniques applied by Amy Zegart to write about these controversial subjects. The book gave the impression that the Author has thought over her approach and opinions about the subjects described in the book a long time before she even considered writing it, as she was acting in other capacities or working on other projects in the past. This perspective, however, did not make the book cryptic or obscure. Its educational value is obviously not surprising for a book written by an academic, yet the book is also rather entertaining. The audiobook is not difficult to focus upon, it grabs attention.
The cover is very good, creative and clear. I wonder how the artist came up with a fresh idea around the theme of the American flag. I especially enjoyed that the dark background is not entirely black as it makes the cover complex while also making it approachable, cozy.