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The Spymaster of Baghdad
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The gripping true story of a spymaster, a bomb-maker and two brothers - one undercover in ISIS, the other his handler

About the Author

Margaret Coker is an investigative journalist. She has lived and worked in Iraq and the wider Middle East since 2003. An ex-Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times, she honed her reporting skills at The Wall Street Journal where she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as part of a team chronicling Turkey's failed coup, political purges and teetering democracy. Her coverage of national security issues won the Overseas Press Club Award and the Edwin M. Hood Prize from the National Press Club, America's top prize for diplomatic reporting. This is her first book.

Reviews

Authentic, moving, visceral, chilling, utterly revelatory, truly masterful. A stunning tour de force by an author who has lived every word of it on the ground. A story of our time that absolutely needs to be told -- Damien Lewis, bestselling author of Zero Six Bravo
Searing, pulse-pounding, yet also acutely human, this compelling account of how Iraqi agents infiltrated ISIS takes us deep beneath the lurid Baghdad and Mosul headlines and into a sharply focused world of courage, ingenuity, terror and love. This is not just a story of dry-mouthed espionage, but also of its profound repercussions upon loved ones and family; the intense struggle to live in peace in a land where extremists of all varieties seek to bring death. Greatly illuminating and powerful -- Sinclair McKay, bestselling author of Dresden
Coker's book would do John le Carre - and undoubtedly any number of Operations Officers - proud for her treatment of the role, value, and challenges of human intelligence and agent running. This book is not about the high-tech gadgetry of surveillance drones, signals intercepts, or cyber intelligence, though all three play a role in this story. It is about the unrivaled value of the man or woman on-the-ground or in the loop with access to the information. It is about the delicate art of handling a source, an agent, or an informant -- Joshua C. Huminski, Director of the Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence & Global Affairs at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress * Diplomatic Courier *
This eye-opening account of the Iraqi intelligence unit which infiltrated Islamic State may read like a thriller, yet it is also grounded in the experiences of everyday Iraqis . . . a unique masterpiece in the genres of espionage writing and spy biography -- Vin Arthey * Scotsman *
Margaret Coker, formerly of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, continued to cover Iraq after most of the American press corps had moved on; she has produced a gripping new book about the shadow war between Iraqi intelligence officers and the Islamic State, The Spymaster of Baghdad . . . Her subject is an elite Iraqi espionage unit called "the Falcons," composed of ordinary men who helped save their country from the onslaught of ISIS. Coker's reporting on these men, their families, and the family of a young woman recruited by terrorists is so meticulous that it lets her enter invisibly a closed, sometimes frightening world and portray it with cinematic detail -- George Packer * Atlantic *

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