Library of Congress

National Book Festival

Award-winning author and journalist Kai Bird is best known for his biographies of political figures. Recognized with fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson, Alicia Patterson Journalism and Guggenheim foundations, Bird also co-wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.” In his latest work, “The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames” (Crown/Random House), Bird uncovers the legacy of a remarkable operative in the CIA who held influential and effective intelligence on the Middle East. Bird emphasizes Ames’s key role by highlighting how his strategies of building strong relationships with Arab intelligence created the potential for lasting peace in the Middle East. “The Good Spy” ultimately describes the life of Ames and recounts his tragic death during the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut. Bird’s narrative leaves readers asking where U.S. relations with the Middle East might be today if Ames’s strategies had been pursued.

Previous National Book Festival Appearances

Kai Bird

Photo by Stephen Frietch