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Extended Audio Sample The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA Audiobook, by Antonio J. Mendez Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Antonio J. Mendez, Malcolm McConnell Narrator: John Pruden Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9781452688527
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From the author of Argo comes an unforgettable behind-the-scenes story of espionage in action. In the first ever memoir by a top-level operative to be authorized by the CIA, Antonio J. Mendez reveals the cunning tricks and insights that helped save hundreds from deadly situations. Adept at creating new identities for anyone, anywhere, Mendez was involved in operations all over the world, from "Wild West" adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow. In 1980, he orchestrated the escape of six Americans from a hostage situation in revolutionary Tehran, Iran. This extraordinary operation inspired the movie Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck. The Master of Disguise gives us a privileged look at what really happens at the highest levels of international espionage: in the field, undercover, and behind closed doors. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Tony Mendez has written a spell-binding memoir of CIA secret operations and the Agency’s unsung heroes of the Cold War, among whom he was one of the most imaginative and courageous. Put aside spy novels that bear no resemblance to reality—here is a gripping portrayal of the real world of intelligence operations by a man who was really there.”

    Robert M. Gates, former Secretary of Defense

  • “Tony is one of the officers of the Central Intelligence Agency who have dedicated their lives to the quiet service of their country. His experiences are part of the story, still mostly classified, of how the men and women of the CIA helped bring down the Berlin Wall and win the Cold War. The story, of course, is a continuing one. Tony’s colleagues and protégés are still at their quiet work, now against rogue states and terrorists, and are still making our country a safer place to live. I am happy that Tony has been able to bring his story, and its lessons of service, to the public.”

    Porter J. Goss, first director of the Central Intelligence Agency

  • A rare and unique glimpse into the CIA's Office of Technical Services, and, in particular, into the secret work undertaken to supportclandestine operations. A thoroughly absorbing read for both the aficionado and the layman. Nigel West
  • “Honored by the CIA on its fiftieth anniversary as being one of the agency’s fifty trailblazers, the now-retired Mendez spins a fast-paced tale of intriguing characters partaking in skullduggery in exotic locales, made all the more appealing because Mendez himself is the featured star of the proceedings. In an almost offhand manner, he writes about seeing and doing things that would wilt the flower of courage in almost any reader… using his artist’s eye for detail to paint vivid word pictures of his predicaments. Mendez possesses a remarkably keen sense of the mechanics of a good cloak-and-dagger story and fortunately pours it on in abundance here in his quite hefty—and surprisingly lively—autobiography. ”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “What is it like to be a spy? Anyone who has ever wondered about those shadowy figures (so often described in fiction by le Carré and others) can now get a peek into the world of 1950s and 1960s espionage. Mendez worked in the CIA’s Technical Services Department for over twenty-five years, eventually rising to its top position. With the approval of the CIA’s censors, he has written a remarkably detailed picture of his work as a document forger and disguise maker for undercover assignments all over the world. This is endlessly fascinating stuff, especially for a generation raised on James Bond and George Smiley.”

    Library Journal

  • “Palpably proud to have been a secret agent, Mendez effectively conveys the thrills its practitioners derive from espionage, via an anecdotal accounting of his varied thirty-year career…The reader receives a vivid sense of the clandestine world through his part in the successful operations to extract a KGB defector from India and an Iranian spy from revolutionary Iran…Garnished with his efforts to defeat KGB surveillance in Moscow (and glazed, no doubt, by coauthor McConnell), Mendez’s memoir is a dish cloak-and-dagger connoisseurs will savor.”


  • “The coauthors convey with clarity something of this shadow world which requires of its inhabitants hard work, strong stomachs, low blood pressure, and a full measure of creative improvisation. A swift, engrossing summary of a life and a way of life.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “CIA operative Antonio Mendez’s memoir is an entertaining audiobook that offers insight into international espionage and brings a distinguished career to life. Mendez…is most famous for his skill at subterfuge, doing everything from creating fake documents to devising disguises to help his colleagues escape or avoid danger. Those roles permeate the book, and that is where narrator John Pruden focuses his performance….Pruden delivers the material with the same sense of joy and amazement that Mendez clearly experienced while at the agency. The result is one of the most enjoyable audiobooks in years. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “One of the most enjoyable audiobooks in years.”


  • A Book-of-the-Month Club Selection
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
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About the Author

Antonio J. Mendez served in the CIA for twenty-five years. He is the recipient of several honors, including the Intelligence Star for Valor. He is the author of Spy Dust and The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA. He is co-author with Matt Baglio of Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History. He lives with his family in rural Washington County, Maryland.

About the Narrator

John Pruden is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. His exposure to many people, places, and experiences throughout his life provides a deep creative well from which he draws his narrative and vocal characterizations. His narration of The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers was chosen by the Washington Post as a Best Audiobook of 2010.