A former #1 NY Times bestseller and a book that the Mossad tried to ban; By Way of Deception is an out and out thrill ride of James Bond-esque capers by what is arguably the world’s most ruthless intelligence agency.
The book is written as the autobiography of a former Mossad officer and alleges to be details of Ostrovsky’s rise from lowly Mossad recruit to one of only a handful of ‘katsas’ or field operatives for the organisation. Although published in 1990 the book has clear resonance today with the idea that intelligence agencies operate outside the bounds of what is acceptable to society. With each chapter the stories get even more shocking; from the suborning of an Iranian nuclear physicist to stealing a container load of Marijuana from Yasser Arafat. Throughout the book there is a strong undercurrent of bitterness as the author claims that he was kicked out of the agency due to being the scapegoat for an assassination gone wrong, and although there have been allegations that the book is just plain unbelievable even as an exercise in fiction it grasps the attention.
This book is perfect if you are taking a long trip or if you just want to spend a weekend lost in the intrigue of Cold War era spy agencies, and the quite outrageous lengths they went to in order to achieve their aims.