The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel

The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel

Uri Bar-Joseph

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A gripping feat of reportage that exposes—for the first time in English—the sensational life and mysterious death of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian senior official who spied for Israel, offering new insight into the turbulent modern history of the Middle East.

As the son-in-law of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and a close advisor to his successor, Anwar Sadat, Ashraf Marwan had access to the deepest secrets of the country’s government. But Marwan himself had a secret: He was a spy for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Under the codename “The Angel,” Marwan turned Egypt into an open book for the Israeli intelligence services—and, by alerting the Mossad in advance of the joint Egyptian-Syrian attack on Yom Kippur, saved Israel from a devastating defeat.

Drawing on meticulous research and interviews with many key participants, Uri Bar Joseph pieces together Marwan’s story. In the process, he sheds new light on this volatile time in modern Egyptian and Middle Eastern history, culminating in 2011’s Arab Spring. The Angel also chronicles the discord within the Israeli government that brought down Prime Minister Golda Meir.

However, this nail-biting narrative doesn’t end with Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur War. Marwan eluded Egypt’s ruthless secret services for many years, but then somebody talked. Five years later, in 2007, his body was found in the garden of his London apartment building. Police suspected he had been thrown from his fifth-floor balcony, and thanks to explosive new evidence, Bar-Joseph can finally reveal who, how, and why.


“Trenchant, serpentine…. Packed with jaw-dropping and intimate details…. Bar-Joseph has done a laudable job of synthesizing the voluminous Israeli government information about Marwan, always keeping his eye for some of the outrageous―even absurd―turns of events in a high stakes drama.” — New York Times Book Review

“A trenchant account of the career of a master spy.” — New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

“A trenchant, serpentine account of the career of the Yom Kippur mole.” — New York Times Book Review, “9 Thrillers (One True) That Times Editors Think You Should Read This Summer”

“Uri Bar-Joseph, a political science professor at the University of Haifa and an expert on Israeli intelligence, has written a fast-paced narrative that rivals the best spy fiction. The critical difference is that the story is real.” — San Francisco Gate

“This is the best spy story I’ve ever read―and it’s all true. Uri Bar-Joseph weaves a suspenseful tale of the dangerous life―and mysterious death―of a spy who did nothing less than change the course of history in the Middle East. You won’t be able to put it down.” — Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Goodnight and Dark Invasion

“Eye-opening…. A lucid and compelling glimpse into the world of espionage and the functioning―or malfunctioning―of leaders.” — Wall Street Journal

“This is a remarkable story of Israel’s greatest spy ever, and an intelligence disaster that almost doomed the state. Deeply reported and powerfully told, The Angel is a must-read espionage saga.” — David Hoffman, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Dead Hand and The Billion Dollar Spy

“This remarkable book reveals to us a hidden history, showing how little we actually know of events we thought we understood. One of the most exciting―and surprising―books on Israel I’ve read.” — Yossi Klein Halevi, author of National Jewish Book Award winner Like Dreamers

“Remarkable…. Partly a spy thriller, The Angel is also an invaluable account of major historical figures.” — The Weekly Standard online

“A fascinating read into the wilderness of mirrors of espionage, with a laser focus on one of Israel’s greatest spies.… A tremendous case study for any student of intelligence, geo-politics, or history. The book should be required reading for any special agent or intelligence officer.” — Fred Burton, New York Times bestselling author and VP Intelligence, Stratfor

“Ashraf Marwan was the most valuable source the Mossad had ever recruited.… Bar-Joseph’s fascinating book is an accurate and reliable account of the career of one of the 20th century’s most important spies.” — Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Zvi Zamir, Former Mossad Director (1968-1974)

“Makes a convincing case that Marwan not only never misled the Israelis, but was actually astoundingly valuable to them.… Highly detailed…. Rewarding to anyone interested in Middle East intrigue.… Fascinating.” — Dan Raviv, Moment Magazine

“Intriguing…. The author…shows great empathy for a man who was in turn respected, reviled, and almost certainly murdered. Well-researched and candidly told, this book deserves shelf space next to volumes on Vladimir Vetrov and Kim Philby.” — Kirkus Reviews

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