My Rating: 4
My latest book review is something I don’t typically read, but when I saw a recent interview with the author/undercover FBI agent on tv, I knew I had to check this one out.
American Radical is the story of Tamer Elnoury (not his real name), a Muslim American working undercover in the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. Originally from Egypt and able to speak Arabic, he was recruited by the FBI after 9/11 to join their elite group and gain the trust of known terrorists who are plotting to take out as many innocent lives as possible. It is his duty in the beginning to simply portray a radical to suspected jihadists and see what their reaction is, but his unique background and superior experience quickly requires much more.
The agency soon puts him on the case of a suspected Canadian radical, Chiheb. Chiheb is plotting an attack and Elnoury must try to find out details about his plans, but first, he has to get him to trust him. I found the entire process fascinating as the author shares his journey as well as the process he uses. He also shares the struggles of his job as well as what he goes through as an undercover agent (not being able to talk to his family for months at a time, having to essentially take on his undercover identity, etc). The book covers his whole relationship with Chiheb, as well as the conclusion.
Overall, this book was very informative about necessary things people do everyday to keep us safe, even if we don't realize it. While the book was entirely Elnoury's story, and didn't go into too much more detail about other Muslims helping the US, it was still engrossing and interesting. A final fascinating note is that the author had to use a pseudonym not only to protect his identity, but also because he is still highly involved in undercover work for the government. This book is an excellent reminder of those brave individuals who protect us and our freedom.