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The Volunteer
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The Volunteer
A Canadian's Secret Life in the Mossad
Written by Michael RossMichael Ross Author Alert and Jonathan KayJonathan Kay Author Alert
Category: Biography & Autobiography - Personal Memoirs; History - Israel; Religion
Format: Trade Paperback, 296 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 978-0-7710-7777-7 (0-7710-7777-7)

Pub Date: April 29, 2008
Price: $22.99

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The Volunteer
Written by Michael Ross and Jonathan Kay

Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780771077777
Our Price: $22.99
   Quantity: 1 

About this Book

The riveting story of a Canadian who serves as a senior officer in Israel’s legendary Mossad.

In 1982 a young Michael Ross joins the legion of Canadian twenty-somethings backpacking in Europe. Through happenstance, he winds up working on a Kibbutz in Israel, where he falls in love with the land and its ancient, multi-layered history. He immerses himself in Israeli culture, converts to Judaism, and adopts his new country’s struggle for survival as his own, joining the Israel Defence Force and eventually Mossad’s most elite and storied covert-operations unit, Caesaria.

For seven-and-a-half years, Ross worked as an undercover agent — a classic spy. In The Volunteer, he describes his role in missions to foil attempts by Syria, Libya, and Iran to acquire advanced weapons technology. He tells of his part in the capture of three senior al Qaeda operatives who masterminded the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; a joint Mossad-FBI operation that uncovered a senior Hezbollah terrorist based in the United States; and a mission to South Africa in which he intercepted Iranian agents seeking to expand their country’s military arsenal; and two-and-a-half years as Mossad’s Counterterrorism Liaison Officer to the CIA and FBI.

Many of the operations Ross describes have never before been revealed to the public.

My first face-to-face encounter with the entity the world now knows as al Qaeda began on Friday, August 7, 1998, the day the group detonated truck bombs outside U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 291 innocents, including 12 U.S. citizens, and injuring over 4,500 African bystanders. On August 7, I was at home in Israel, enjoying a rare day off, but soon after the blasts, my pager went off. It was an urgent request to call the Mossad’s 24/7 communications center. I checked in by phone, then raced to HQ in my tiny Renault, running up the two flights of stairs to the counterterrorism department.

There, I found Etti, an analyst in the “World Jihad” branch (known informally as the department of “awful Ahmeds”) and a few others studying the cable traffic from our liaison station in Nairobi. I noticed Etti had a cigarette going — despite the no-smoking policy at HQ, it was the sort of thing a tough old hand like Etti could get away with under these circumstances. She greeted me with her usual flurry of casual obscenities, and handed me a stack of reports that brought me up to speed.

— From The Volunteer


From the Hardcover edition.

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Review Quotes

A Globe and Mail and Maclean’s bestseller

“A powerful memoir.”
National Post

"[A] gripping story, filled with the stuff of spy thrillers. . . . this book provides a unique glimpse into a shadowy world not many of us will ever see."
Globe and Mail

"For those who want insight into one of the world's best secret services, this book is must reading, as much for what it doesn't reveal as for what it does. And it does reveal a great deal."
Winnipeg Free Press

“[A] sobering insider’s take on global politics and the terrorist threat.”
Quill and Quire

“[It’s] Bond in a T-shirt and slippers. Whether or not one should tell tales out of school, ‘Michael Ross’ tells them effortlessly. He and Jonathan Kay have produced a page-turner, filled with well-observed, convincing detail.”
— George Jonas, author of Vengeance (the book that inspired the film Munich)


From the Hardcover edition.

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About this Author

Michael Ross is a native of Victoria, British Columbia. He served as a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces prior to being recruited as an undercover agent in the Mossad. While working for the Mossad, Ross was a “combatant,” a term designating an agent working under non-official cover. He also operated as a case officer in Africa and Asia for three years, and was the Mossad’s counterterrorism liaison officer to the CIA and FBI for two-and-a-half years. Ross is a published writer, with articles recently placed in both the National Post and the Globe and Mail on Middle Eastern affairs and terrorism. He lives in Victoria.

In writing this memoir, Ross is assisted by Jonathan Kay, a managing editor and op-ed columnist at Canada’s National Post newspaper and regular contributor to the New York Post and Commentary magazine. He has won two National Newspaper Awards. Jonathan Kay lives in Toronto.


From the Hardcover edition.

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