Bookended by the start and finish of Fox’s attempt to prevent a nuclear terror attack, the material in between is no less fascinating ... Without disclosing any classified information, Fox provides an entertaining account of her training, including the kind of tradecraft that most readers are used to only seeing in movies. But what is truly riveting is the emotional rollercoaster that comes with working as an analyst, privy to the truth behind a multitude of impending threats, and then later as an officer with a non-official cover ... Life Undercover reveals the rewards that serving the country provide as well as the toll this service extracts with an intimate and compelling portrait of a woman who literally comes of age in the CIA.
Written with the feel of a spy novel, the former spy’s book offers a salient and dynamic window into who works to keep America (and the world) safe ... As with most things related to the CIA, clarifications and confirmations are tough to come by, so there’s no official response to Undercover ... a timely, compelling story. As fellow citizens, we’d all do well to better understand what that vital work entails.
Fox escribes her path to a career in the CIA in riveting detail ... 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.
... gripping ... Fox also weaves a seemingly commonplace narrative about her marriage and daughter’s birth, but she writes with such poignant introspection that this narrative becomes the soul of her memoir ... When Fox describes meeting with targets or sources embedded deep within terrorist networks, she writes with the strong conviction that the purpose is not to defeat the enemy but to understand them ... Fox’s lyrical prose paints her marriage and motherhood experiences with aching loneliness, as living undercover gradually eroded her sense of true self ... From beginning to end, Life Undercover sets aside high-octane street chases and gunfights for an equally riveting narrative of compassion, revealing that the path to peace is through understanding the common humanity in us all.
Fox’s clear, present-tense prose keeps readers in the action while maintaining the heft of reality, even in totally surreal situations. With loads of suspense and adrenaline, and a streaming series starring Brie Larson reportedly in the works, this insider’s view into how the CIA functions and what life is like for a covert agent will appeal to many, including readers who don’t normally stray from fiction thrillers.
Who knew spooks could write? Amaryllis Fox certainly can. Her Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA is an addictive read. If you’re up for a thriller, you could hardly do better ... The book glitters with the killer lines and delicious improbabilities that make for a great yarn ... As in any good thriller, there is more to Life Undercover than action ... Fox’s plunges into her own heart are moving ... Most unexpected is the quality of the prose ... Enthralled though I was, however, Life Undercover left me ill at ease. The first problem is truth ... Fox told NBC two characters are 'composite,' that her 'aim was really to capture the kind of ‘Capital T’ Truth, the emotional truth…' Such are the hallmarks of fiction. Truth, of course, is not absolute. But with so many acting on their 'emotional truth' these days, the difference between substantive accuracy and fake news matters. This book proves that Fox has not stopped deceiving people, including herself ... From risking her life for an underground cohort of Burmese resisting an all-powerful junta, she pivots to seeing Americans—denizens of the mightiest country on earth—as the defenseless victims upon whom to lavish her devotion. In a shell-shocked twenty-something, I can understand the confusion. In the mature memoirist, it is harder ... Don’t get me wrong. There is much to recommend this book—from the sheer bravura to Fox’s dedication to finding nonviolent ways through the most fraught conflicts. But...she should perhaps write a second memoir a few decades hence, when she’s gained some perspective on what she was really doing and what she was doing it for.
Fox delivers a gripping memoir about the near decade she spent working for the CIA to help stop terrorism ... Fox masterfully conveys the exhilaration and loneliness of life undercover, and her memoir reads like a great espionage novel.
Fox engagingly—and transparently—describes her work as an undercover agent for the CIA, which recruited the author while she was still in college ... A well-written account of a life lived under exceptional secrecy and pressure.