Reviews of Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox

Life Undercover

Coming of Age in the CIA

by Amaryllis Fox

Life Undercover by  Amaryllis  Fox X
Life Undercover by  Amaryllis  Fox
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2019, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    Sep 2020, 240 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Amaryllis Fox's riveting memoir tells the story of her ten years in the most elite clandestine ops unit of the CIA, hunting the world's most dangerous terrorists in sixteen countries while marrying and giving birth to a daughter.

Amaryllis Fox was in her last year as an undergraduate at Oxford studying theology and international law when her writing mentor Daniel Pearl was captured and beheaded. Galvanized by this brutality, Fox applied to a master's program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that predicted, with uncanny certainty, the likelihood of a terrorist cell arising in any village around the world. At twenty-one, she was recruited by the CIA. Her first assignment was reading and analyzing hundreds of classified cables a day from foreign governments and synthesizing them into daily briefs for the president. Her next assignment was at the Iraq desk in the Counterterrorism center. At twenty-two, she was fast-tracked into advanced operations training, sent from Langley to "the Farm," where she lived for six months in a simulated world learning how to use a Glock, how to get out of flexicuffs while locked in the trunk of a car, how to withstand torture, and the best ways to commit suicide in case of captivity.

At the end of this training she was deployed as a spy under non-official cover--the most difficult and coveted job in the field as an art dealer specializing in tribal and indigenous art and sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the Middle East and Asia.

Life Undercover is exhilarating, intimate, fiercely intelligent--an impossible to put down record of an extraordinary life, and of Amaryllis Fox's astonishing courage and passion.



The publisher was unable to provide an excerpt of Life Undercover, but you can read one at Vogue (link opens in a new window).


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In clear, elegant prose, Amaryllis Fox describes an unconventional international childhood and a series of choices that lead her to become a CIA field operative. In addition, she covers gritty details of spy craft and takes readers on a journey that isn't normally possible without top security clearance and years of training and sacrifice. Through excellent storytelling, she explains her yearning to make a real difference in the world by preventing terror attacks, but also reflects on her inner doubts...continued

Full Review (1125 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Karen Lewis).

Media Reviews

People
A riveting account of the decade the author spent risking her life in the CIA's most clandestine unit.

San Francisco Chronicle
Gripping…reads like a true-life thriller.

The New York Times
Fast and thrilling ... Life Undercover reads as if a John le Carré character landed in Eat Pray Love.

Washington Post
Genius… Fascinating…along with the cloak-and-dagger action, Fox writes movingly of trying to reconcile a career in espionage with family life… A look inside the CIA that the agency isn’t ready for you to see… a great read.

Library Journal (starred review)
Relating her experience of being a young woman in the CIA and balancing family life while undercover in a hostile country is invaluable to readers. Fans of Showtime's Homeland and espionage novels will devour this highly recommended memoir, as will readers interested in counterterrorism, nonprofileration, and peacemaking.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Gripping... Fox masterfully conveys the exhilaration and loneliness of life undercover, and her memoir reads like a great espionage novel.

Kirkus Reviews
Extraordinary... [A] remarkable life...Fox engagingly—and transparently—describes her work as an undercover agent for the CIA.

Reader Reviews

Kathyj

Exciting & Skillfully Written
I didn't expect to question some of my own thinking and ideas by reading a novel about a CIA agent. Amaryllis is, at times, very pragmatic and logical while others, she is open and insightful about the human condition. I loved this book.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Nuclear Disarmament and World Peace

Protestors Against Nuclear Weapons In Life Undercover, CIA recruit Amaryllis Fox is tasked with disrupting the trade in black-market weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear materials. Since the first (and, to date, only) nuclear bombs to be used in war were dropped on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the world has experienced a proliferation of deadly weapons as the availability of raw materials and technology needed to build large-scale destructive devices has increased.

The United States developed and tested the first nuclear weapons during World War II, deploying atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. Japan subsequently surrendered, ending WWII conflict in the Pacific. Although the nascent United Nations called for an end to...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Life Undercover, try these:

  • Agent Sonya jacket

    Agent Sonya

    by Ben Macintyre

    Published 2021

    About this book

    More by this author

    The "master storyteller" (San Francisco Chronicle) behind the New York Times bestseller The Spy and the Traitor uncovers the true story behind the Cold War's most intrepid female spy.

  • The Quiet Americans jacket

    The Quiet Americans

    by Scott Anderson

    Published 2021

    About this book

    More by this author

    From the bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia, a gripping history of the early years of the Cold War, the CIA's covert battles against communism, and the tragic consequences which still affect America and the world today.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Lonely People
    All the Lonely People
    by Mike Gayle
    Mike Gayle's charming novel All the Lonely People introduces us to Hubert Bird, an 82-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: Perish
    Perish
    by LaToya Watkins
    It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of ...
  • Book Jacket: Afterlives
    Afterlives
    by Abdulrazak Gurnah
    Afterlives, from Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, begins in late 19th century East Africa in ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Who Said...

Books are the carriers of civilization

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.