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A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran
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A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,192 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
An exhilarating true story that reads like a spy thriller about a former CIA operative recruited out of Iran, while he served as a member of the secretive and highly feared Revolutionary Guards of Iran.


This exhilarating, award-winning memoir of a secret double life reveals the heart-wrenching story of a man who spied for the American government in the rank
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Threshold Editions (first published 2010)
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Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an Iranian-American who was born after the revolution but has had chances to visit Iran several times for significant periods of time, I find Mr. Kahlili's book to be both breathtaking and a testament to the horrors and pain inflicting upon the Iranian people to people like my grandfather to my little cousin. Reza Kahlili exemplifies his story as a young man attending USC to becoming a Revolutionary Guards member once the Revolution hit Iran in 1979. Mr. Kahlili allows the reader to understan ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Libby by: James
Shelves: favorites
NOTE: book review re-posted in December 2015, after accidental deletion. Originally read, rated, and reviewed in August 2012.

Reza Kahlili's book, "A Time to Betray," shares the author's love of his homeland (Iran). Persian and Iranian history, traditions, special memories, family values and treasured relationships that Reza acquired while growing up shaped him into the great man that he had become.

The reader was instantly placed in a position of wondering about Mr. Kahlili's intentions. He shar
Reza Kahlili (not his real name) of the Revolutionary Guards became a spy for the CIA when Iran came under the thumb of Ayatollah Khomeini. This is his story.

I read this book primarily because I wanted to know more about the events that occurred before and under Ayatollah Khomeini. As far as that was concerned, the book didn't disappoint.

Kahlili writes very clearly about the events that eventually toppled the Shah and thus made Khomeini the unchallenged leader of Iran. And while people were not
Doreen Petersen
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Excellent book to read. Run and don't wait to read it. It will change you forever.
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good read ! It is a page turner. The author beautifully captures the relationships, culture and the environment he grew up in Teheran. The book is a memoir rather then a spy thriller. There is a lot of focus on the tensions the authors spying creates with his family , his sense of guilt and describing the life of normal Iranians under the Ayatollah. He talks about the information he shared with the CIA but does not go into much detail on how he collects that information. There are ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides much needed insight into the minds of a 'Radical Islamist' and their policies for running a nation. The author was a Spy, an Iranian, whose story can easily be a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Awesome book from the hands of a insider in Radical Islamist regime.
نزار شهاب الدين
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Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, cia, iran
In movies spies have a debonair confidence that belies the risk. In real life, as told by the person called Reza, it is nerve wracking, grinding, compromising, difficult work.

Through Reza's life we can get a picture of pre and post revolutionary Iran. Reza and his childhood friend Naser were "haves". Besides having free time and access to cars, Reza was able to study computer science in the US. Reza and Naser led primarily secular lives and their other friend, Kazem, was from a poor family, infl
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story of a man who lived a double-life, and the stress that doing so placed on him and his family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the country that Iran has become since their "revolution" in the late 70s / early 80s. Filled with insights from a man who was not only there, but was a first-hand witness to some of these events by virtue of his membership in the "Revolutionary Guard". At the same time, he was a paid agent of the CIA, ...more
Esther Bradley-detally
This was a hard book to read, and i have read a goodly amount about Evin prison, and a man who was Persian born, and a hostage, along with the other American hostage, but the extra one, asked me to write his book. I was too knew of a writer to do so. He has since passed.

Most people know there are 7 Baha'is in Evin right now, and much has been written of them. In fact the journalist who was freed writes about them also in her book. This book was hard, because the suffering was immense, the bruta
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