This is the story of a young American who would eventually fulfill his dream of becoming a CIA Case Officer, only to have a promising career cut short after having been purposely poisoned by a contact.
Eric Burkhart was raised in Europe in a bilingual household, and accepted a job in Africa right out of college. Upon his return to the United States, he was hired as an Immigration Agent in Laredo, Texas, working Inspections on one of the busiest port-of-entries connecting the United States and Mexico. This experience is detailed in this humorous, occasionally heartbreaking memoir about choosing to be a survivor.
In 2000, Burkhart accepted a position as a Case Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. The book includes details of both the notoriously arduous hiring process and the rigorous training program, including Burkhart’s eventual successful completion of the Espionage Course taught at the famous “Farm”. Burkhart’s first overseas working experience was in war-torn Kosovo, where he was unwittingly poisoned by an unstable intelligence contact. Burkhart would struggle with the repercussions of this episode for the remainder of his career, and eventually be obliged to accept full medical retirement from the CIA.
However, before retiring, Burkhart completed tours in Iraq and Africa. His time spent in the Green Zone almost immediately following the occupation of Baghdad, constitutes the majority of this enlightening book. Burkhart exposes the reader to the human element within the CIA, and we are introduced to a variety of characters, some who will seem familiar, and some who reveal the eccentricities we expect with this kind of occupation.
Follow Burkhart through the battlefields of Iraq, past the Iraqi Insurgency, and to his next assignment in Africa. Burkhart leaves no emotion unexpressed as he details his medical struggles with the horrific damage caused to his body from Toxic Exposure. Wracked by pain, Burkhart reaches the point where he must consider quality of life issues, and has to accept retirement as a necessary decision. Burkhart has a story to tell, and leaves no stone unturned during this turbulent time both in his life, and in our history.
Title: Mukhabarat, Baby! My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA
Author: Eric Burkhart
Genre: Creative Nonfiction | Memoir | Autobiography
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc.
Published: May 4, 2015
Format: Kindle, 300 print pages
FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via iRead Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
A good spy story has always resided at the top of my reading lists and my favorite TV shows. In spite of these two favorites, I still didn’t know what to expect from Eric Burkhart’s memoir.
I received more than I expected. Mukharabat, Baby! is more than a humdrum daily accounting of this man’s life as a CIA Case Officer and wartime spy for the CIA. Eric has brought together an interesting array of colleagues and stories to share with his readers. Each one brings into focus another aspect of what Eric’s life was like while he served our country so courageously.
What charmed me most in reading Mukhabarat, Baby! is Eric’s down-to-earth accounting of his life in places I consider exotic, dangerous, or deadly arenas to call your workplace. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that inside the CIA is almost like any other corporate office space, government or private sector. Many of the same internal issues and quirky co-workers live there!
Eric has a unique, life-like way of describing the characters with whom he worked closely. I felt I could almost envision them (with or without their physical statements made from time to time). Equally well done are the various locales where Eric was stationed.
But all is not good in certain venues in our lives, and Eric’s life changed in many ways due to his career choice. I would not be a good reviewer, however, if I lifted the screen to reveal all in my review.
I highly recommend Eric’s writing to you. It reveals an All-American fellow who grew up to follow a dream and against all odds, he did. If you are a fan of wartime espionage and/or spy stories, you’ll enjoy each chapter in Eric’s memoir.
Eric, allow me to thank you for your service in keeping our country and its citizens safe.
Eric Burkhart was born in North Carolina in 1965, and raised in France by his mother while his father was serving in Vietnam. Eric’s parents retired to San Antonio, Texas in 1978, and Eric has considered himself a Texan since that time.
After completing college, Burkhart relocated to South Africa for a job in community planning and design. After returning to the United States in 1994, Eric started a career in federal service by becoming a Federal Agent. In 1999 he moved over to the CIA, which became his passion and focus in life. After being poisoned by while working in Kosovo in 2001, Burkhart was eventually obliged to medically retire, but not before extending his career to include tours in Iraq and Africa. Mukhabarat, Baby! is Burkhart’s first book.
The tour schedule can be found at the author’s iRead home page.
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