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Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,983 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
On July 6, 2003, four months after the United States invaded Iraq, former ambassador Joseph Wilson's now historic op-ed, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," appeared in The New York Times. A week later, conservative pundit Robert Novak revealed in his newspaper column that Ambassador Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a CIA operative. The public disclosure of that secret ...more
Kindle Edition, 433 pages
Published (first published 2007)
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Ashley Zacharias
This book should make every American angry. Angry that an American President, Vice President, and their staff would break the law, destroy the careers of patriotic civil servants, and send thousands of soldiers to die in an unnecessary war for no reason but to avoid an embarrassing headline in the newspaper. Angry that an agency whose sole reason for existing is to discover and present the truth to those in power should spend taxpayer's money keeping the truth from those who are paying for it. A ...more
Sandra D
Nov 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, memoir, women
I followed this story for nearly four years, so I was delighted to finally be able to get the story from Valerie Plame Wilson's point of view.

When I first dug into the book, I thought, "Well, she's not a writer, but neither am I, so I can't hold that against her." But the further I went, the more I felt like something was missing (besides the blacked-out parts); it was curiously flat, with very little depth or dimension. Even the chapter where she dealt with post-partum depression failed to move
...more
Eastofoz
May 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in Valerie Plame-Wilson's side of the story
A Kafka-esque story that will send chills down your spine because it’s actually true; too bad it’s such a dry, flat read. It’s worth more 3.5 stars than just three because the author was able to make this mess into something that the average reader could understand.

This is the story of ex-CIA spy Valerie Plame-Wilson whose cover was blown by the government that employed her all out of pure spite because her husband, a diplomat, told the powers that be that there was no cause to go to war with Ir
...more
Amanda
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Valerie Plame Wilson has a story to tell, and it's a compelling one. But the story isn't the problem. The execution in this book is almost unreadable and while Wilson has been through a lot, I don't think that absolves her of the blame for pushing this book to publication when it wasn't ready.
Wilson's story is probably interesting and exciting, but I'll never know because she and her publisher chose to move forward with a book after the CIA redacted almost all of its contents. And instead of sta
...more
Captain
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A cautionary tale of what can happen when you, A.) assume that like you others will do the right thing, especially when one works in a bureaucracy, B.) assume that the government wouldn't sell you out in a heart beat to forward its own agenda no matter how ludicrous, C.) don't cover your own ass and back up your own work D.) assume that the CIA wasn't partisan or politicized before the Bush administration. E.) are literally that naive.

I learned a lot from this book and it also confirmed a lot o
...more
Clarrissa Moon
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome biography! I'd like to thank her and her whole family for being strong enough and tough enough not to let our White House get away with it.
The Bush administration unfortunately has still gotten away with too much and in my opinion the result of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby was too tame. They should have been tried for treason...period.
I wish justice could have been done the right way with not only this but 9-11 itself. We'll never see it done. Not enough people are yelling for justice. W
...more
Belinda
Well.... I had followed this story in the New York Times so was eager to read Ms. Plame Wilson's memoir. The book wasn't horrible, but not the juicy read I hoped for.

The redacted sections (courtesy of the CIA, as if they haven't done enough to her!) make for a choppy, disjointed story. For example, the part explaining how Valerie meets Joe is so buried in blacked out pages that the reader goes from Valerie hoping to "have it all" to giving birth to twins.

The narrative lacks the emotion I expect
...more
Ed
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Fair Game” is an odd book. Reading accounts of the Plame affair in the “New York Times” or “Washington Post” tells more about her career and issues with the CIA than she was allowed to in her book. Those who followed the machinations of the cabal that used bogus and cynical claims that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi armed forces had so-called weapons of mass destruction were familiar with the scurrilous treatment of Valerie Plame, career CIA officer and her husband Joseph Wilson, retired State De ...more
Jackie
Aug 11, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Valerie Plame Wilson explains her version of events before and during the scandal involving her husband and trial of Scooter Libby. She insists the intent for writing this book was a means of getting the truth out. Yet the information is blatantly slanted with her obscure, subjective details and professed hatred for the Right. You get toward the final chapters and there is a plug for donations to the Wilson Trust. This trust funds her lawsuit against Cheney, Libby, Rove, and others.

Overall I fe
...more
Mike Hoffman
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book did everything a good book is supposed to do. It engaged me, evoked emotional response, told a good story and left me wanting more. This woman's story (or as much as our government would lt her tell) was totally tragic. An effective and talented spy, outed by the country she loved for political retribution. They put her and her family at risk, they attacked her on so many levels. Yet, she remained positive, focussed and truly unique.

I watched Frost/Nixon again right after I listened t
...more
Genie
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This highly personal memoir, recounts how and why Valerie came to work for the CIA and describes the trauma endured by she and her family due to the betrayal by the administration. Valerie, daughter of an Air Force colonel and sister of a marine, gave over twenty years of loyal service to the defense of the United States. In return, she saw her career come to an end and her reputation smeared for political ends.

Laura Rozen's afterwards (in the last two CDs) reviews the public record and gives th
...more
Eugenia
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valerie-plame
Apparently, the CIA redacted approximately 10% of her book, but she and her publisher decided to leave the blacked-out portions in. So according to a review in The New York Times, the part about where she met her husband jumps from a mention of "a woman in a Chanel suit who wheeled two Burberry-wearing pug dogs in a baby carriage" to Joe becoming a part of her life, with 7-and-a-quarter pages of blacked out lines in between!

I read Joe Wilson's book several years ago when her cover was first blo
...more
Katie
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I remember being shocked and fascinated when Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative by her own government and I kept thinking that there had to be some kind of explaination. Surely the US government wouldn't do this to someone who served their country. I was wrong and the subsequent legal proceedings revealed a cover up at the highest level. Palme's husband, Joe Wilson had been sent by the CIA to Niger to investigate claims of Iraq obtaining yellowcake uranium from Africa prior to the ...more
Lisa
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Valerie Plame Wilson, an undercover operative for the CIA, was "outed" by the Bush White House (a federal crime) in retaliation for her husband's opposition to the President's statement that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger--her husband, Joseph Wilson, was a former ambassador sent to investigate the Niger story and had reported to the CIA and the White House that the rumor was false. Nevertheless, the President included the story in his State of the Union address. This was dur ...more
Margaret Boling
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, level-adult
11/2010 Mike and I went to see the movie Fair Game during the Thanksgiving weekend. I was so fascinated with the story that I wanted to at least look through Plame's and Wilson's books. Sometimes I get 'caught' by memoir, especially political memoir, and sometimes I don't find it particularly interesting.

12/3/2010 I'm intrigued with the structure of the book. About 3/4 is the memoir by Plame; however, many chapters have had portions redacted by the CIA. To compensate, Simon & Schuster hired
...more
Abdul Manan
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Film Fair Game, yang dibintangi oleh Naomi Watts dan Sean Penn, menarik. Tapi bukunya, yang berjudul sama, jauh lebih menarik. Ini adalah kisah hidup Veleri Plame, agen rahasia CIA yang menangani isu senjata pemusnah massal. Sebagaimana layaknya agen rahasia, identitasnya tak boleh dibocorkan. Jika itu dilakukan, pembocornya akan dijerat pidana.

Ini cerita tentang Washington, di mana intrik dan persaingan seperti sebuah cerita yang biasa-biasa saja. Identitasnya sebagai agen rahasia ternyata boco
...more
Florence
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Washington can indeed be a very nasty place. As the Bush administration gathered its evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, prior to invading that country, it encouraged the CIA to provide evidence that he WMD did, in fact, exist. Anything contrary to that assessment was looked upon with skeptisicm and virtually ignored. Enter former ambassador Joe Wilson with a report from Niger debunking a rumor that Iraq had procured "yellowcake" from that country for use in nuclear weapons. I kn ...more
shana naomi
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies
i read this the day after watching the film w/ my parents. very impressive source material (and great movie).

i should have read this backwards, though - there's a note from S&S at the top about how she submitted the book (per regs) to the CIA for approval and clearance of any sensitive material. it came back substantially redacted, and various negotiations and a lawsuit later, most of them were left standing -- even the areas that were not classified and had been otherwise reported on in the
...more
Jamie
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
Okay, I was all excited to read this book after hearing Ms. Plame's interview on NPR. The CIA! Spy work! The scandal of her outing! How frustrating, then, to get this book and discover that all of the interesting parts have been blacked out by the CIA. Huge chunks of the book are reduced to fragments like "And then he said..................the gun....................got married." I have no idea what happened, to whom, or where. The only part of the story that was relatively intact was the sectio ...more
Lisa
Oct 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Where do I start? I was so disappointed in this book. I was really expecting more. Even though I can empathize with Valerie Plame and her story, I found the book and the way she wrote of a person that was trying way too hard to not want to play a victim, but yet wanted you to feel sorry constantly about her situation. From everything from the Vanity Fair spread, her postpartum depression, and not to mention the reasoning for keeping all of the blacked out material present to yet prove the point ...more
Kyle Pennekamp
Sep 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty boring. Covers her time in the CIA (most of the details of which were redacted, which made for a pretty uninformative read, even with the explanatory afterword), then Novak's outing of her and the aftereffects. Most of her publicity stuff she tries to excuse saying her decisions were made because of all the stress she was under, but it comes off as pretty tough to by, and not a very good excuse. No Valerie, you think, you pretty much just liked the idea of being on the cover of Vanity Fai ...more
Philip
Feb 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have rated the book higher for its content, but I found it a little irritating to know every place the CIA had censored it. I would have preferred a statement about the kinds of material that had been expurgated. That said, it's an informative and troubling book. It compellingly makes the case that there was no intelligence failure that led us into the war in Iraq. Instead, there were a few bad actors (in the White House, unfortunately) who did not want intelligence that did not support ...more
Stephen Collins
I'd always been interested in this case as it took place through the US courts and the media. I followed it with a passing, if not obsessive interest.

Reading the story, from Valerie Plame's side, especially as the book has been published with the CIA's redactions in place (they create a marvellous, if somewhat dissonant effect as you read), gives a tremendous insight into how twisted and bitter the Bush government's need to perpetuate the Iraq War was (and remains afterwards, even now).

Plame was
...more
Bob Nichols
I followed her story at the time of its unfolding. This book tells the story again, though not much new or interesting was added. A good part of this book shows the CIA redactions. That’s part of the story too, but the black lines (even pages of them) were distracting. The long afterword by Laura Rozen, I suppose, relates what Plame could not say because of her work with the CIA. But it was like adding a second book and it was just too much.

The Bush people were shameless when it came to payback
...more
Matt Welter
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fair Game is a book that talks about the story of a former CIA agent, Valerie Plame. Valerie Plame is someone who worked extremely hard as she went through the rigors of The Farm: The CIA Training Center, in order to become a Field Officer. She went through things such as mock interrogations, where she was beat, sky diving and various other training while at the Farm. Valerie Plame tries to get her point across by showing many scratched out sentences in her book, which the CIA forbid her to incl ...more
Rachael
Oct 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, biography
This book, not surprisingly, seemed very one-sided to me. I thought that it was going to be a biography but it seemed to be more about bashing George W. Bush and his administration. Character assassinations galore! Mrs. Wilson's story was very choppy because of all of the redacted sections. I hoped that the afterword would help to fill in the gaps but it was more of a history lesson than a gap-filler. Definitely not my favorite book.
Erin McCarthy
This was difficult to read because of the large amounts of text redacted by the CIA. I didn't feel that I was able to really grasp the early events leading to the author's exposure as a spy until I read the addendum.
Dora Sky
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an intriguing read. I enjoyed it a lot.

Sometimes it was hard to follow because most of the sentences are cut off and it jumps into a different line but overall it was alluring.


I watched the movie also and it was quite enjoyable!
Ahed Al Hashmi

“Fair Game” is both a personal and political memoir about the 2001 Iraq war , the spy wife and the ambassador man shows us how the war was started by secretary mistake .
Sara
Oct 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-read
As abridged by the CIA.
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Picks: Fair Game: How A Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed By Her Own Government 1 5 Jun 06, 2013 08:42AM  
Review 1 27 May 04, 2009 02:54PM  
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  • A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran
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  • Hell Hath No Fury: True Stories of Women at War from Antiquity to Iraq
  • Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative
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  • Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches
  • Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq
  • The Madman and the Butcher: the Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie
  • The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House
  • Baghdad Burning II: More Girl Blog from Iraq
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  • Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi
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Valerie Elise Plame Wilson, known as Valerie Plame, Valerie E. Wilson, and Valerie Plame Wilson, is a former United States CIA Operations Officer and the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
More about Valerie Plame Wilson...