The Good Spy: Kai Bird interview on his great new Middle East book


The best new book I’ve read about the Middle East in many years is THE GOOD SPY: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. It’s by Kai Bird, who won the Pulitzer for his biography of Robert Oppenheimer. I’m going to chat with Kai about his new book, about writing, and about the Middle East here over the coming weeks. You can ask him a question too.

We’re using a great new platform called ReplyAll to do this conversation. It works like a radio show except that it develops over time as “the cast” responds to each other. Like a radio show, you can also go to ReplyAll to send us a question. We’ll respond right here in the conversation.


8 thoughts on “The Good Spy: Kai Bird interview on his great new Middle East book

  1. I’ve read the book as well as a few others to which you referred. Very enlightening.
    Wasn’t Ames somewhat naive? For example, he gave his contact a gift of knives, something he thought he would like and were meaningful to the recipient. In return, he received a set of gold and a set of ivory worry beads, items meaningful to the giver.

    • Glad you’ve read the book, Judie. Would be great if you’d post this question by going to because then your question will appear in the thread of the conversation between me and Kai. In other words, you’ll be part of the chat. I hope you’ll do that.

    • Thanks for highlighting the link. It’s a great opportunity for readers to get right inside the interview and ask Kai questions themselves — about his writing, his research, his ideas.

  2. This is the kind of interview that captures and holds the reader’s attention while it generates interest in THE GOOD SPY. As usual, good work, Matt.

  3. How long do you keep the documentation for your book? Do you use portable file cabinets for paper with computer backup? Do you use cloud storage? Scholars in the future might want to access these materials and I am putting on my librarian’s hay.

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