I greatly enjoyed this book. Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband Joe Wilson as two of my heroes. They gave this country years of courageous and valiant service and were betrayed by the Bush Administration in a despicable fashion. It's a story every American should know.
Some have criticized this book because of the many redactions by the CIA. Much of the information left out is already in the public domain and is included in the afterword by Laura Rozen. Before reading this book, I read a review that suggested reading the afterword first. I did so and it made the redactions less distracting because I already knew much of what was left out.
This is a fascinating story by a woman who was betrayed by the highest members of the government that employed her. In accordance with the terms of her initial employment she had to submit her manuscript to the CIA before it could be published. In this version, the information redacted by the CIA is indicated by an audible tone. This somewhat irritating, like trying to have a phone conversation that is continually breaking up. What becomes more irritating is when you realize that what is being deleted is something like the date of her initial service, and the positions that she had held. At the end is a long, helpful Afterward, based upon information that has become public, but was still considered "secret" by the CIA.
This audio CD is annoying because the CIA blocked out certain portions of her story, so for each detail left out they have inserted an audible tone. I couldn't get past disc #1. However, if you are willing to give it a try, it is stuck on my bookshelf.
"Fair Game" is divided into three major parts which are all necessary for the reader/listener to make sense of it: introduction, main body, and afterward.
In the introduction, Mrs. Wilson provides some background on the unusual format of the main body of her book. She explains that her contractual obligations (as affirmed by a lawsuit won by the CIA) prohibit her from disclosing material deemed confidential by the Agency. This is despite the fact that all the material in question had long since been made public in major media outlets such as the NY Times. Because a coherent presentation of her story requires discussion of these (now extremely public) facts, this effort by the CIA to close the barn doors after the horses had run out was really just an attempt to thwart her ability to publish her side of the story. In the end, Mrs. Wilson decided to simply publish her manuscript with the CIA redactions in place, so although the story becomes a bit framented at times, the reader/listener can plainly tell what kind of ridiculous political game was going on with these redactions.
In the main body, as noted, Mrs. Wilson discusses her training and early experiences as a young CIA agent, the activities of herself and her husband during the scandal concerning the falsely alleged Nigerian yellowcake transfer to Iraq, and the political fallout afterwards as the Office of the Vice President sought to discredit and profesionally ruin the Wilsons.
The most helpful part of the book is actaully the lengthy and exciting afterword by reporter Laura Rozen. Not bound by Mrs. Wilson's CIA contractual obligations, Ms. Rozen goes back and proceeds to fill in all the blanks left in the main body portion of the book. The story unfolds at a dizzying and thrilling pace and leaves the reader in a state of shock that this kind of horrifying corruption and double-dealing could go on in our supposedly fair and transparent society.
Fascinating story of betrayal, read by the author.
I'll admit it - I bought this book because I was curious about the redactions and their effects on the book as a whole. That curiosity lasted about three chapters. An interesting story, but just another memoir/auto-biography from someone who was told, "Hey you! You should write a book!" By reading between the lines (literally) you get a small idea of what the career of a CIA agent entails and what V.P.W. went through with her public "outing." Personally, I couldn't get past her writing style. But to each his own.
I recommend reading the Afterword before reading each chapter. That way you'll have an idea of what's going on and won't get (too) frustrated by trying to fill in the blanks.
This is a good book, although portions of it are deleted - so sometimes the reading is a little disjointed (there are black bars covering text that the CIA wouldn't let her include in the manuscript). It is an amazing story though -
I found this book extremely boring. It basically recounts the story I read in the newspapers (over and over, for months) from a first-person perspective. I could not stay awake. I thought I would like this book because I thought Valerie Plame got screwed by the Bush gang, but I didn't. It makes sense that she can't tell us anything we don't already know because it is classified, but then why did she write a book? Excellent book for insomniacs!
I'm not one to stop reading a book - I usually slog through just to be sure I didn't miss the good parts. However, I just couldn't do it with this one.
I really wanted to like it - but I couldn't get past the blacked out text. I would flip to the back of the book where there were notes for each chapter of the book, but it was just too disjointed for me. Maybe I'll try again if and when the uncensored version is releases.
Annoying, annoying annoying! The tone that blocks out parts of the book get so amazingly annoying, it's hard to actually enjoy the wonderful writer's story. 'sigh' so much for enjoyment on my road trips...
Must read for all Americans