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Download The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower Audiobook, by Robert Baer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (454 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Baer Narrator: Ted Barker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9780739376058
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Over the past thirty years, while the United States has turned either a blind or dismissive eye, Iran has emerged as a nation every bit as capable of altering America’s destiny as traditional superpowers Russia and China. Indeed, one of this book’s central arguments is that, in some ways, Iran’s grip on America’s future is even tighter.

As ex–CIA operative Robert Baer masterfully shows, Iran has maneuvered itself into the elite superpower ranks by exploiting Americans’ false perceptions of what Iran is—by letting us believe it is a country run by scowling religious fanatics, too preoccupied with theocratic jostling and terrorist agendas to strengthen its political and economic foundations.

The reality is much more frightening—and yet contained in the potential catastrophe is an implicit political response that, if we’re bold enough to adopt it, could avert disaster.

Baer’s on-the-ground sleuthing and interviews with key Middle East players—everyone from an Iranian ayatollah to the king of Bahrain to the head of Israel’s internal security—paint a picture of the centuries-old Shia nation that is starkly the opposite of the one normally drawn. For example, Iran’s hate-spouting President Ahmadinejad is by no means the true spokesman for Iranian foreign policy, nor is Iran making it the highest priority to become a nuclear player.

Even so, Baer has discovered that Iran is currently engaged in a soft takeover of the Middle East, that the proxy method of war-making and co-option it perfected with Hezbollah in Lebanon is being exported throughout the region, that Iran now controls a significant portion of Iraq, that it is extending its influence over Jordan and Egypt, that the Arab Emirates and other Gulf States are being pulled into its sphere, and that it will shortly have a firm hold on the world’s oil spigot.

By mixing anecdotes with information gleaned from clandestine sources, Baer superbly demonstrates that Iran, far from being a wild-eyed rogue state, is a rational actor—one skilled in the game of nations and so effective at thwarting perceived Western colonialism that even rival Sunnis relish fighting under its banner.

For U.S. policy makers, the choices have narrowed: either cede the world’s most important energy corridors to a nation that can match us militarily with its asymmetric capabilities (which include the use of suicide bombers)—or deal with the devil we know. We might just find that in allying with Iran, we’ll have increased not just our own security but that of all Middle East nations.The alternative—to continue goading Iran into establishing hegemony over the Muslim world—is too chilling to contemplate.


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Quotes & Awards

  • A masterpiece…Baer's brilliant analysis of Sunni versus Shia, Arab versus Iranian, and Christian versus Muslim is shocking, revealing, and provocative.  Baer lifts the veil of Western media hype and challenges the simplistic solutions offered by ‘experts’ whose vision is blurred by the past. Through his knowledge, long-term experience, and ability to assess the changing landscape of this vital region, he not only shatters the foundations of conventional thinking, but also offers a practicable blueprint for turning things around. John Perkins, author of the New York Times bestseller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
  • “The most important and original book on the Middle East to appear in many years. Baer’s subject is the growing power of Iran; his goal is ending the pattern of American failure; his message is that we’ve been backing the wrong horse. This is a book McCain and Obama should ponder. Thomas Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets and Intelligence Wars
  • The Devil We Know, Bob Baer has once again peered into the future and has brought back uncomfortable truths that won't satisfy any partisan. But his book does force us to do something that, unfortunately, doesn't come naturally to the chattering classes. Think. James Risen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
  • An important text studded with keen insights into a nation about which America remains dangerously misinformed. Kirkus Reviews
  • Timely and provocative...adds an important perspective to a crucial international debate. Publishers Weekly
  • Challenges conventional wisdom…[a] timely and provocative analysis. Denver Post

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandie | 2/20/2014

    " Every American should read this book, esp. those making Middle Eastern policy decisions. We have not been paying attention. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiah | 2/18/2014

    " Interesting, although at times repetitive. He has a good point that the US's simplistic nature in dealing with the Middle East is harmful. If his take on the situation is true or not, I have no idea. But given his background, his point of view should be considered carefully. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 1/14/2014

    " I really think this is a must read. I know people say this all the time, but our policies in the Middle East will have profound affects on our lives and the lives of our children. If only half of what Robert Baer is true, we still are doomed to failure in the Middle East. I know my views of Iran were based on what transpired in the 1980's and more recently with the rantings of Mahoud Ahmadinejad who holds no real power in Iran. Looking at what Iran has accomplished in the Middle East, it would be better for us to partner with Iran and have them help with the cost and troops in building Iraq. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maria Sundai | 1/7/2014

    " This book was selected by my book club. I was very interested to read it and learn more about Iran. I found some of the content to be very interesting. However I wonder about the validity of the theories as it is one man's opinion. I found the book to be very difficult to read - the topic is complex and the content is dense. Seems to me it could have been streamlined - but perhaps this is just because I don't have much background in middle east matters and had a difficult time getting through each chapter. Overall - interesting read, could have been much shorter. I would not recommend this book outside of a college course. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jarrod | 1/4/2014

    " Apparently if your book jacket refers to you as "one of the world's foremost authorities on the Middle East" you don't need to have footnotes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 12/16/2013

    " I can't say enough about this book. I would recommend this to anyone who even remotely cares about politics, foreign policy, anthropology, sociology, etc. Baer is a former CIA agent, and one of the foremost authorities on the middle-east. The author does a remarkable job of dispelling a whole slew of misconceptions that most Americans have been led to believe regarding Iran. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 BAKU | 12/3/2013

    " has a glossary "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 12/1/2013

    " Practical advice on what is really going on in the middle east. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 11/28/2013

    " "At times bone chilling... a must read if you want to know what is really going on in the Middle East." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 11/27/2013

    " Interesting perspective and insights into the possible thinking of Iranian leaders. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Y.S. Hassan | 11/24/2013

    " This book is an incredible wake up call for all those who follow current news about the middle east and more specifically Iran. The author's final solution might be drastic but is scary in its potential obviousness. Robert Baer surpassed himself in this novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzan | 7/30/2013

    " Essential reading. A no-nonsense crash course in US/Middle East politics over the past 100 years, written in a straightforward and engaging manner by a man who spent 30 years in the region working for the CIA. If only the consumer media was so informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan | 7/11/2013

    " Essential reading for those who would like to know more about Iran, what are their aspirations and how to effectively deal with them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vince Carter | 5/18/2013

    " Especially these days with Iran being so prominently in the news, this is an easy-to-understand and very revealing discussion about the country and culture. You hope that there are folks in the administration as attuned as the author to the realities there politically. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Morrissey | 3/14/2013

    " Good. I wonder what he would have to say about the events today "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nate | 3/14/2013

    " Outstanding book, it presents an alternative foreign policy with regards to Iran than has been used up until the present moment. Brought more insight to what is going on in Iran than what is reported in the news. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn Mckendry | 10/26/2012

    " Quite an eye opener on what is going on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M.D. Backes | 11/19/2011

    " Certainly the most interesting and informed approach to dealing with Iran that I've found. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 9/29/2011

    " Baer's book is well worth reading given his experiences in the middle east. Especially some of his ideas regarding how to achieve detente with Iran ought to be considered seriously by the US government. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 9/13/2011

    " Very interesting perspective. Excellent "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 5/12/2011

    " Baer's book is well worth reading given his experiences in the middle east. Especially some of his ideas regarding how to achieve detente with Iran ought to be considered seriously by the US government. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jarrod | 9/5/2010

    " Apparently if your book jacket refers to you as "one of the world's foremost authorities on the Middle East" you don't need to have footnotes.

    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Y.S. | 8/6/2010

    " This book is an incredible wake up call for all those who follow current news about the middle east and more specifically Iran. The author's final solution might be drastic but is scary in its potential obviousness. Robert Baer surpassed himself in this novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 6/28/2010

    " Interesting perspective and insights into the possible thinking of Iranian leaders. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 4/21/2010

    " Quite an eye opener on what is going on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 3/24/2010

    " "At times bone chilling... a must read if you want to know what is really going on in the Middle East." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiah | 1/7/2010

    " Interesting, although at times repetitive. He has a good point that the US's simplistic nature in dealing with the Middle East is harmful. If his take on the situation is true or not, I have no idea. But given his background, his point of view should be considered carefully. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 12/10/2009

    " good take on dealing with Iran -- and how poorly u.s. foreign policy has done so thus far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan | 11/10/2009

    " Essential reading for those who would like to know more about Iran, what are their aspirations and how to effectively deal with them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betsy | 10/23/2009

    " Eye opening and makes a lot of sense. "

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About the Author
Robert Baer spent twenty years running agents from inside the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, operating against Hizballah, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, and “was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East” (Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker). His memoir See No Evil was a New York Times bestseller and inspired the movie Syriana starring George Clooney. He lives in Colorado.