Gray Work

Gray Work : Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy

3.56 (157 ratings by Goodreads)
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The first ever, first-person story of America's private, paramilitary contractors at work around the world-from a man who performed these missions himself and has decades of stories to tell. This is a fascinating tale-and potentially the first-to describe the work of American contractors, men who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. It will lift the veil and detail the ultimate danger and risk of paramilitary operations (both officially government-sanctioned and not) and show us in very intimate terms exactly what private soldiers do when the government can't act or take public responsibility. GRAY WORK combines covert military intelligence with boots-on-the-ground realism, following Jamie Smith through his CIA training and work as a spy in the State Department, to his co-founding of Blackwater following 9/11, to his decision to leave that company. As the founder and director of Blackwater Security, Smith's initial vision has undeniably shaped and transformed a decade of war. He argues that this gray area-and its warriors who occupy the controversial space between public and private-has become an indispensable element of the modern battlefield.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 32mm | 575g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062271695
  • 9780062271693
  • 1,196,068

Back cover copy

In this unprecedented book, a paramilitary contractor with more than two decades of experience gives us a firsthand look into the secret lives of America's private warriors and their highly covert work around the world. Author Jamie Smith has planned and executed hundreds of missions on behalf of government agencies and private industry in some of the world's most dangerous hot spots--and lived to tell the tale.

They are elite warriors who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. Jamie Smith knows these men well. Not only is he one of them, but he was the founding director of one of the most successful global, private military contracting firms. For the first time, he breaks his silence, pulling back the curtain to reveal in raw, intimate terms exactly what paramilitary spies and operators like him do when the government cannot act or take public responsibility.

Combining the thrilling narrative of an international spy thriller with bracing boots-on-the-ground realism, Gray Work follows Smith through grinding CIA training and his career as an operative, his work with Blackwater Security, and the creation of his own successful company. Here is the grit and gristle of modern warfare, from espionage and assassinations, rescues and renditions, from the dark corners of the Arab Spring and the fall of Qadhafi to black ops from Syria to Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and beyond. Smith has fought terrorists and won; he was ambushed on a mission in Pakistan and took a bullet through his shoulder and to his back, and subsequently survived a grueling mountain trek that almost cost him his life.

As founding director of Blackwater Security and then as head of his own company, Smith has helped shape a decade of war. His book powerfully illustrates how the men who serve in this gray area between the public and private worlds are transforming the art and science of modern warfare. Unparalleled in its revelations and riveting in its intensity, Gray Work is as exhilarating as the best novels by Clancy, Cussler, Flynn, and Thor--and all the more so because it's true.
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Review quote

"Patriot, warrior, spy. Smith may be a real life Jason Bourne." -- Fred Burton, Vice President at Stratfor and coauthor of Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi "No one knows more about the grit and reality of counterterrorism than Jamie Smith, or writes better about it. His insights are indispensable to our understanding of a shadowy and dangerous world." -- Richard North Patterson, author of Loss of Innocence "Espionage, trade-craft, politics, gunfights, explosions, assassinations, and covert operations around the world. Clancy, Griffin, and Ludlum use these in their novels, but only Jamie Smith has really lived them. Page after page, you can't help thinking `this is all real.'" -- Colonel Lee Van Arsdale, retired former Commander, Delta Force Sabre Squadron and Branch Chief, Counterterrorism Special Projects, U.S. Secretary of Defense "Smith's experience in the military and intelligence worlds, and the insights he has gleaned along the way, provide indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand, or profit from, our dangerous times." -- James Rosen, Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent and author of The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate "Smith takes you inside the Libyan revolution with a vivid and emotionally engaging account of the people and politics. This story shows the shaping of American foreign policy by players relatively unknown to the key decision makers. . . . This is a hugely interesting, entertaining, and heart-stopping read." -- Colonel Rick Cantwell, retired US Army Special Forces
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About Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith served in the CIA before becoming the founding director of Blackwater Security. After earning a graduate degree, he went on to postgraduate studies at Boston University. In 2002, he started his own defense contracting company and has planned, led, and executed missions throughout the world from Africa to Asia and the Middle East.
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Rating details

157 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 27% (43)
4 30% (47)
3 21% (33)
2 15% (23)
1 7% (11)
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