Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy

Written by: Lindsay Moran

Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy Book Cover
Call me na�ve, but when I was a girl-watching James Bond and devouring Harriet the Spy-all I wanted was to grow up to be a spy. Unlike most kids, I didn't lose my secret-agent aspirations. So as a bright-eyed, idealistic college grad, I sent my resume to the CIA.Getting in was a story in itself. I peed in more cups than you could imagine, and was nearly condemned as a sexual deviant by the staff psychologist. My roommates were getting freaked out by government investigators lurking around, asking questions about my past.

Finally, the CIA was training me to crash cars into barriers at 60 mph. Jump out of airplanes with cargo attached to my body. Survive interrogation, travel in alias, lose a tail. One thing they didn't teach us was how to date a guy while lying to him about what you do for a living. That I had to figure out for myself.



Then I was posted overseas. And that's when the real fun began.
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Blowing My Cover My Life as a CIA Spy Reviews

Nicholas Whyte
It's a fun read about a fascinating topic (who doesn't want to read about life in the CIA?) It's also light: you're going to get amusing spy anecdotes, not confusing details of which terrorist/foreign leader did what.

The first half (about the recruitment and training process) was fantastic. The training section is a riot: the ineptness of some of the trainees (especially Tornado Sally) actually makes me a little worried about our country. Watching them learn about firearms, evasive driving, and It's a fun read about a fascinating topic (who doesn't want to read about life in the CIA?) It's also light: you're going to get amusing spy anecdotes, not confusing details of which terrorist/foreign leader did what.

The first half (about the recruitment and training process) was fantastic. The training section is a riot: the ineptness of some of the trainees (especially Tornado Sally) actually makes me a little worried about our country. Watching them learn about firearms, evasive driving, and practice convincing people to spy for the US government is fascinating. During training she wonders if she's going to be able to cope with the loneliness and ethical dilemmas of being a spy.

Her time as a spy is fun, but her above complaints sort of took over that part of the book. It seemed like half of every chapter was about how much she misses her friends or if she'd ever be able to date again. It just seemed a little too...whiny. (Her other chief complaint, which I'm not mentioning here, seemed really legitimate and would have driven me nuts too). Overall, she seemed a little too Peace Corps/naive/hippie to ultimately be a career CIA agent.

Definitely worth reading. The recruitment/training section is probably 2/3rds of the book with the rest being spy-life.
Feebee
In trying to make sense of current events (shady meetings with Russian diplomats, espionage, leaks, cover-ups, etc) I searched around for books about the CIA. I know practically nothing about how intelligence agencies work and decided to go with a spy memoir. I picked this one up because it was written by a woman and it was relatively short. I just couldn't fathom reading an 800 page memoir about some American CIA spy during the Cold War.

Anyway, this was a great introduction to how the CIA, and In trying to make sense of current events (shady meetings with Russian diplomats, espionage, leaks, cover-ups, etc) I searched around for books about the CIA. I know practically nothing about how intelligence agencies work and decided to go with a spy memoir. I picked this one up because it was written by a woman and it was relatively short. I just couldn't fathom reading an 800 page memoir about some American CIA spy during the Cold War.

Anyway, this was a great introduction to how the CIA, and intelligence gathering in general, works. More than half of the book concerns CIA training - a combination of basic military training and elaborate roll playing game. The rest of the book is about actual spy work in the Balkans and while the stories aren't dramatic, they are decent examples of what CIA operatives actually do on a daily basis.

Alida
I like this book... I didn't love it but I liked it.

Although, at times, Moran is a little whiney overall, it was interesting. It seems to give an insight as to how it really feels to be a CIA employee and Moran makes it known that it is not what it is typically portrayed to be. However, it also seems boring. Incredibly boring. Honestly, I would've preferred she had lied and made it seem more glamourous because I would have enjoyed reading it more.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld :: Moon-Flash :: Outlaw Princess of Sherwood :: Fool's Run :: Lita: A Less Traveled R.O.A.D.--The Reality of Amy Dumas
Sean
I was reminded that I read this book when news came out today of the CIA releasing files of the OSS. It seems Julia Child, among many, many others, was a spy for the government during WWII. I'd always wanted to be a spy.

I read Moran's book some three years ago when it was first published in CL, and I found it very engaging. It's at turns, amusing, terrifying, and suprisingly, sad. Having said that, I still harbored a desire to be a spy. Which reminds me....
Alexandra
Don't expect field stories. The bulk of the read focuses on how demoralizing the whole CIA initiation and training is. Fascinating stuff, but again, due to obvious reasons, there's not much of anything concerning things outside Langley (and surrounding areas). She despairs about lack of ability to form and keep relationships, which got a little whine-y, but I suppose after what she's been through, she has a right to be.
Holly S.
Interesting for the perspective, but to be quite honest, I was surprised when the author revealed multiple times her desire to be a writer, as I found her actual writing to be the weakest link in an otherwise fairly entertaining story... Easy read, if a bit meandering and self-indulgent at times, but still worth the time, especially if you are interested in the world of espionage.
Holly Bik
A mindless, and most likely un-memorable read. There was nothing particularly bad about the book or writing per se - but given the subject matter (and the author's short tenure at the CIA), the "inside look" at the agency provides a very shallow overview, and mostly focuses on autobiographical reflections.
Ryan Morris
Almost a comical book, I was looking for something that was a little more serious about the life of a CIA Case Officer. The book tends to gloss over the more interesting parts of training and gives too much coverage on the author's love interests. It's a pre-9/11 book, so much of the things it is concerned with are not at the focus of the CIA's mission any more.
Joe
A quick read; the CIA training and tradecraft bits were interesting, though the book is weighed down by accounts of the author's attempts at maintaining her personal friendships and love life. (While the insider's look at the truth behind being an undercover CIA case officer are also cynical and melancholy, they're at least relevant and add credibility to the unglamorousness of the profession.)
B. Factor
A concise and well written description of the life of a CIA spy, that looks closely (and insightfully) into the adverse emotional and moral consequences of pursuing a career of secrecy, deception, and convincing others to betray their countries. It also addresses the spectacular incompetence of a large bureaucracy that spends public money without public scrutiny, oversight, or accountability.
Catherine
Moran worked for the CIA from 1999 to 2003. She goes into quite a bit of detail, from her first thoughts about wanting to become a spy to the reasons why she left. She doesn't mince words about eventually becoming disillusioned with the CIA after 9/11 and the agency creating false information in order to build the case for the war in Iraq.
Brian
This book was an okay memoir. The best parts of the book are the detailed accounts of training to be part of the CIA, but overshadowed was more about Lindsay Moran as a person and unfortunately that was less interesting.

The last quarter of the book or so is about September 11 2001, and that was kind of annoying, kind of shifted focus of the book. Worth reading though.
Debbie
Glad my friend gave me this book to read. I wouldn't have read it otherwise. And I liked it. It was well-written and illustrated more of the mundane rather than the thrilling experiences of being a spy. For people like me who don't know anything about how the CIA works, I thought it was interesting. But I realize that other stories must be so much better.
Lisa
I think our country's in trouble if this is the caliber of individuals who decide to serve their country. Quite depressing in fact. Indicsriminate spending, sexism, bullying, bloated beaurocrats, drug use, alcoholism, rampant paranoia: no wonder our country has no idea what's going on. What happened to people with common sense?
Sharon Buchbinder
I read this book on the plane to and from St Louis. A quick fun read enhanced by the fact that I met the author in person--and when I read the book, I could hear her voice. Very insightful journey into the real CIA world, at times almost read like a Shakespearean tragedy in the facade versus the reality of the spy world. Thinking about being a spy? Read this first.
Laura
A fun, fascinating memoir written by a young woman who dreamed of being a spy since she was a kid, got her dream, and realized it wasn't exactly what she expected. A very fun read where you will also learn A LOT about the CIA - even the humorous parts! Lindsay Moran is a fantastic writer - I really loved her creative, intelligent style.
Joseph
A frank and funny take on life inside the CIA, as a young case officer. Moran is here to remind us that, whatever ends up on the movie screen, spies are just people, doing people-stuff, and a lot of that is mundane, frustrating, absurd, and funny.
Susanne Clower
Kind of a chick-lit treatment of what it's like to be a CIA spy. Funny, with some tidbits of "insider" news. To be fair, the book never pretends to be anything else. If Bridget Jones worked for the CIA and wrote a book, this would be it.
Elena
An easy and entertaining read, yet flagrantly displaying abysmal lack of depth. The author (a charismatic and for the most part morally disoriented young woman) succeeded in telling almost nothing by telling everything.
Elizabeth Gillingham
Hmm, I liked this book, but it wasn't one of those that I just couldn't put down. In fact it took me quite a long time to finish it. I like the stories of the CIA training, but once Ms. Moran actually became a CIA spy it just got a bit depressing.
Tyler
If you are looking for lot of complaining about work and life in general then this book is for you. As for getting an understanding for life in the CIA you do get a good idea of what life is like both in training and on the job.
Manda
Lots of stories about training to become a spy and what life was really like working for the CIA.
Lara
In the first 37 pages I have laughed out loud 5 times.
Good read. Light and funny.
Mae
For some reason, I just HAD to find out about spy life and ended up mostly skimming this book. A few interesting tidbits, but I'd never recommend it to a friend. Maybe an enemy.
Staci
This provided a fun insight on what it is like to train to be a CIA agent. It's a fast, easy read.
Denise
Some of it was laugh-out-loud hilarious. If this is really how the CIA operates, and it's supposed to be true, no wonder our country's in trouble
Damon
She seems remarkably uncritical about the activities of the CIA, but the stories from Macedonia are priceless--real life Borat stuff.
Ali Piovesan
Interesting to read a first hand account of CIA training but the author is kind of irritating so I didn't have much sympathy for her.
Tichakorn Hill
The book that inspired me to read similar fun-filled books and eventually wrote one myself. I heart you, Lindsay!
KellyK
This is good. It is a nice, easy read. Great storyline. It is like the movie GI Jane, but not as rough around the edges.
Brian
I guess I thought this was going to be more spy-oriented. It's more of a book about a normal person who wants to be a spy, who then wants to be a normal person.
Olivia
Very good. I plan on reading this one again soon.
Beth
Hilarious and fast-paced at times, a little dry at others. I'm obsessed with all things spy-related, so for me it was an easy read about an interesting topic.
Alexandra
My brother gave me this one it lagged in some areas but I was entertain at how our goverment really works.
MJ
Really fun, quick read. My sister-in-law and mother both recommended it. Pretty crazy tale of one former-CIAer's experience going through training and the first times out in the field.
Liz
Not nearly as exciting as you want it to be...makes being a spy sound like a drag....or maybe the author is just a drag?
JulieK
I was afraid this was going to be really chick-lit-y, but it was better written than I expected. Recommended if you've ever been curious about what it's like to train for, and work for, the CIA.
Pat
It was an interesting book, comical at times, but lost some interest after she finished her training at The Farm.
Paul Petrone
A simple, straightforward memoir of one woman's six year stint in the CIA. I enjoyed it and found it informative of what the day-to-day life of a spy is like. Quick read too, read it in two days.
Jessica
Her descriptions of training and the day-to-day work of recruitment and paperwork are fascinating, while the emotional impact of her career rings resonantly true.
Laura
Interesting, fun, and quick read. I enjoyed it, but I would never want to be in the CIA!
Missy
Easy, fast read...interesting behind-the-scenes story of a real (and female) CIA agent.
Stacy
Ms. Moran really is a good writer, keeping her narrative swiftly paced for an easy page turner. She is perceptive without being pushy as she describes her experiences.
Josh
Pretty fun, breezy account of the training and work of a young agent.
Becky Trombley
I picked up this book at the International Spy Museum. It was intriguing, but left me with more questions than it answered. What would you expect?
Claudia Bernardez
It did not hold my interest, as I thought it would.
Ken
I should of listened to the reviews on here. 80% of the book was about her training and so uninteresting . This book was a bore
Gaby
I've always wanted to be a spy...but now I know it's not quite the way it looks on TV. I found it fascinating to learn about the CIA.
David
Sort of funny, sort of sad, sort of self-centered... like reading a classmate's work in a creative writing seminar.
Nicole
yes i contemplated joining the clandestine services... this book confirms why i'm glad i didn't... :) quick, easy, good read for anyone who wants to know what it's like.
Lynn
It's funny how the CIA let Moran spill her guts in this book, while a third of Valerie Wilson's _Fair Game_ has been redacted. Hmmm.
Darren Sapp
It is, as advertised, the life of a CIA spy. Unlike the movies, it's not quite as glamorous as we think. As such, the story runs very dry toward the end, but that is reality.
Jo
An eye opener. The truth isn't as glamorous as one may think!
Crider
This book was a great way to see the training that goes into being a spy. For those that thought that being a spy was like James Bond, they would be sorely disappointed. Very quick read!
Kim
super interesting concept, writing did not support the concept. I think I heard it will be a movie soon, which is appropriate. As a piece of great literature, not so much.
Tate
A quick and dirty account of Moran's experience as a CIA agent.
Kathryn
I enjoyed the beginning but then really had to push myself to finish the end.
Tree
If you want to see what the CIA looks like inside, I'd highly recommend it.
Julie
This book was interesting because it provided a first-hand account of the CIA's training program, but I think it could have benefited greatly from a good editor.
Jean
Eye opening explanation of what goes on in the CIA.
Davida
A definite page turner! It's an inside look into the CIA and life as a spy -- very interesting!
Tiffany
Written like a novel. Easy to read. Is more about how the author felt about her time working for the CIA rather than cool adventures of being a spy.
Kara
Chick-lit and espionage--an entertaining combo! Don't expect John le Carré or hard hitting nonfiction - this is more along the lines of a smart beach read.
Khanson919
Probably a two and a half stars book. Knowing the training to become a CIA agent was interesting but the actually life of a spy seems pretty tedious.
Sarah
Bridget Jones meets James Bond. Very easy to read; enjoyable if you're sympathetic to her character.
Kira
what a jaded view of the CIA this book gives you - very interesting.
Danya
If Stephanie Plum joined the CIA, I think this is what the book would look like. An easy holiday read.
Stephen
Thanks again to Charles for sending me this book. I enjoyed rereading it for a second time.
Shane
pretty good description of training, but this is obviously somebody who didn't fit the culture.
Lisa
A skilled writer who is mad at the CIA for not living up to her childlike ideals. She is immature and pissed to be an American . I'm glad she left the CIA. We don't need people like her in it!
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