Matti Friedman - Spies of No Country (Corte Madera Store)

Monday, March 4, 2019 - 7:00pm

The four spies at the center of Matti Friedman's story, Spies of No Country, were part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, conceived during World War II by British spies and Jewish militia leaders in Palestine. Intended to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage and assassinations, the unit consisted of Jews who were native to the Arab world and could thus easily assume Arab identities. In 1948, with Israel’s existence in the balance during the War of Independence, the spies went undercover in Beirut where they spent the next two years operating out of a kiosk, collecting intelligence, and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. While performing their dangerous work these men were often unsure to whom they were reporting, and sometimes even who they’d become. Of the dozen spies in the Arab Section at the war’s outbreak, five were caught and executed. But in the end the Arab Section would emerge, improbably, as the nucleus of the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted intelligence agency.

Matti Friedman's 2016 book Pumpkinflowers was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book and as one of Amazon's 10 Best Books of the Year. It was selected as one of the year's best by Booklist, Mother Jones, Foreign Affairs, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. His first book, The Aleppo Codex, won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize, the ALA's Sophie Brody Medal, and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for history. A former AssociatedPress correspondent, Friedman has reported from Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Moscow, the Caucasus, and Washington, DC, and his writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. Friedman grew up in Toronto and now lives with his family in Jerusalem. 

Location: 
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616207229
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - March 5th, 2019

Featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NPR

Award-winning writer Matti Friedman’s tale of Israel’s first spies has all the tropes of an espionage novel, including duplicity, betrayal, disguise, clandestine meetings, the bluff, and the double bluff—but it’s all true.


The four spies at the center of this story