The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story

Robert and Dayna Baer, Crown, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-307-58814-2
Robert and Dayna Baer's initial meeting was slightly unusual—both were on a covert mission in Sarajevo for the CIA. In this intermittently intriguing memoir, they describe their careers in "the Company," their romance, and the difficulty they have in establishing a balanced life outside the world of secret agents. Their travels take them to interesting places in interesting times—from Bosnia and Lebanon during civil wars, to Syria under the Assads, the mansions of sheiks, and the safe houses of terrorist groups. As the Baers drift away from family and see friends die, they learn the costs of covert life. Told in chapters that alternate between each partner's perspective, their story is best when discussing the minutiae of agency work. In understated prose, the couple effectively narrate the long bouts of tedium interspersed with moments of paranoia and fear that make up a CIA agent's life. On most assignments, they never learn if their efforts have any positive result—often, they don't even know their co-workers' real names. When the personal becomes the subject, however, the understatement feels inadequate. The Baers give us so little insight into their mutual attraction that it feels like another state secret. After they leave the agency, they seem adrift, and the book loses focuses as well. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 183 pages - 978-0-307-58816-6
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-87848-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-15095-9
Paperback - 305 pages - 978-0-307-58815-9
Hardcover - 439 pages - 978-1-4104-3600-9
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