A good biography is hard to find, and The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames is one such rare tome. In 1983, a bomb exploded outside the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. It marked the beginning of Hezbollah as a political force, but even more importantly, it eliminated America’s most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East — CIA operative Robert Ames. Kai Bird’s fascinating biography examines Ames’ extraordinary ability to form deep, meaningful connections with key Arab intelligence figures. Some operatives relied on threats and subterfuge, but Ames worked by building friendships and emphasizing shared values — never more notably than with Yasir Arafat’s charismatic intelligence chief and heir apparent Ali Hassan Salameh (aka “The Red Prince”). Ames’ deepening relationship with Salameh held the potential for a lasting peace. Readers also learn about Ames’ personal life and formation and gain insights into the turbulent world of the Middle East. The Good Spy is an excellent complement to gaining knowledge about today’s Middle East divisiveness and America’s role in the region. Bird is the Pulitzer-winning co-author of American Prometheus.