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Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel

Award-winning writer Matti Friedmans tale of Israels first spies has all the tropes of an espionage novel, including duplicity, betrayal, disguise, clandestine meetings, the bluff, and the double bluff--but its all true.The four spies at the center of this story were part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, conceived during World War II by British spies and Jewish militia leaders in Palestine. Intended to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage and assassinations, the unit consisted of Jews who were native to the Arab world and could thus easily assume Arab identities. In 1948, with Israels existence in the balance during the War of Independence, our spies went undercover in Beirut, where they spent the next two years operating out of a kiosk, collecting intelligence, and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. While performing their dangerous work these men were often unsure to whom they were reporting, and sometimes even wh...

Title : Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616207229
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel Reviews

  • Julie

    Appropriately, Friedman begins his book: “…time spent with old spies is never time wasted.” Interviewing members of a unique branch of the Palmuch during Israel’s War of Independence, Friedman focuses on four spies in particular. They are part of the Arab Section, and elite team of Mizrahi Jews who could pose as Arabs behind enemy lines, gathering intelligence and coordinating sabotage (more of the former than the latter). “The Arab Section was an outlier in the Palmach, a curious feature.”


  • Ellen

    Matti Friedman, author of the Aleppo Codex, has done it again. Another brillantly written book that reads like a spy novel. Much is witten about European Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 40's but very little is know about Jews who came from Arab lands and their contribution to the founding of the State of Israel. We learn about the original Israeli spy network and its founding with the British becasue of the alliance the Arab countries had with the Nazis.

    Friedman uses actual documentation f

  • Ron Wroblewski

    It was an interesting book. The book was written about the lives of 4 Israeli spies. Bur I would say that half or more than half of the book concerned the birth of the nation of Israeli 1948-49. And this was one of the problems of the book. A story would start about the exploits of one or more of the spies then it would discuss the political situation, then revert back to the story of the spies. I wish that the full story would be told continuously and either before or after cover the background ...more

  • Laura

    The author is writing an adult nonfiction book but it reads more like YA narrative nonfiction. That's not a bad thing, but I had to keep reminding myself that this was an adult book. What did annoy me more was the author's inserting himself into the story far too frequently, and some of the explanations of names could have been done in an author's note. This is also a very slim volume that attempts to both highlight the people involved in the Arab Section of the Palmach and what was going on pol ...more

  • RMazin

    In the spring of 1948 Israel and the Arab world are engaged in war. The British have recently pulled out. The Arab countries are aligning against the emerging state of Israel. European survivors are coming into the land of Israel. They are survivors hoping to build a Jewish homeland, in spite of the threats around them. It is a perilous time. What is needed is information. What is happening in the adjacent Arab nations? What is the political threat? Which leaders are the people rallying around? ...more

  • Jennifer

    Friedman's meticulous research and passion for the subject are obvious throughout this book. As he tells the story of Israel's first spies, sent out before Israel was even officially a country, the reader learns about one of the fascinating episodes in Jewish history.

    Despite having never heard this story before and being a fan of historical nonfiction, this book just didn't grab me. I found myself interested enough each time I picked it up, but not interested enough to pick it up that often. I

  • Mal Warwick

    When Americans think of Israeli history, we fasten on a handful of names: Chaim Weizmann. David ben Gurion. Golda Meir. We think of kibbutzim, the Israeli Defense Force, the country's great universities, and its legal system. All these people, and many others whose names are prominent in the country's history, are of European origin. And every institution they created was a product of European thought and tradition. That simply reflects the fact that "in the 1940s, nine of every ten Jews in Pale ...more

  • Krista

    If you're spying for the CIA, you have Langley and the United States of America. You might not see them from your street corner or hotel room, but you know they exist, and their power is a comfort. These men had no such thing. They had no country – in early 1948, Israel was a wish, not a fact. If they disappeared, they'd be gone. No one might find them. No one might even look. The future was blank. And still they set out into those treacherous times, alone.

    In 2011, journalist and author Matti ...more