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Summary

From the New York Times best-selling coauthors of Under Fire - the riveting story of the kidnapping and murder of CIA Station Chief William Buckley.

After a deadly terrorist bombing at the American embassy in Lebanon in 1983, only one man inside the CIA possessed the courage and skills to rebuild the networks destroyed in the blast: William Buckley. But the new Beirut station chief quickly became the target of a young terrorist named Imad Mughniyeh.

Beirut Rules is the pulse-by-pulse account of Buckley's abduction, torture, and murder at the hands of Hezbollah terrorists. Drawing on never-before-seen government documents as well as interviews with Buckley's co-workers, friends and family, Burton and Katz reveal how the relentless search for Buckley in the wake of his kidnapping ignited a war against terror that continues to shape the Middle East to this day.

©2018 Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“In these pages, Fred Burton and Samuel Katz ably describe the selfless service and ultimate sacrifice of CIA’s William F. Buckley, murdered brutally while held as a hostage in Lebanon. Beirut Rules can’t bring this quiet hero back to life. But it will show a new generation the value of a life well lived in service of country.” (President George H. W. Bush) 

“Burton and Katz have done it again! An intense, incredibly well-written tale of terrorism, treachery, and tradecraft. Beirut Rules is an absolute must-read!” (Number one New York Times best-selling author Brad Thor)

Beirut Rules is a masterpiece of intelligence writing. I cannot think of any book on spying that I have read that has impressed me more in terms of its writing quality and research. I didn’t think the details of this story could ever be told, but Burton and Katz have done it...and done it beautifully. Bill Buckley was a hero and inspiration for all of us in the CIA, and I am grateful that the authors have honored his memory by presenting his life and sacrifice to the American public. Be prepared to be moved to tears, as I was." (James M. Olson, former chief of CIA counterintelligence and author of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying

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Good But....

A good listen simply because the subject matter is fascinating - but the authors’ tendency to partiality and eulogy means certain tough questions go unanswered.
For example, the authors fail to satisfactorily acknowledge, let alone answer, why William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was so unprotected in the war-torn and anarchic city where Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad were clearly rampant and targeting Americans.
Just think of it: the CIA station chief living alone, off-campus in an apartment in the heart of west Beirut with no security guards, no protection – and then driving himself (alone) to work at the embassy each day through Beirut’s dangerous streets.
Buckley was kidnapped in March 1984. Plenty of previous warning signs. American University of Beirut president David Dodge abducted in July 1982; April 1983 bombing of the US embassy (63 killed); October 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barracks (241 killed); American University of Beirut president Malcom Kerr shot dead in January 1984; American professor Frank Regier kidnapped in Feb. 1984; American journalist Jeremy Levin kidnapped March 7th 1984. All incidents before Buckley's abduction on March 16th 1984.
So what on earth was he doing there, so exposed, unguarded and at risk?

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very powerful read

very good slight inaccuracy, ref unifil, also I was a witness to Lt Col higgins kidnapping, well on the radio, and other stuff, you are not wrong but not completely right,

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  • Brian Prime User
  • 27-11-18

Detailed but worth every minute.

Slow to start however picks up pace significantly a 3rd of the way into the book. The story is mesmerizing as it outlines the brutality Of those hidden enemies that lurk in the shadows.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria Talbot
  • 03-12-18

For those who wish to truly understand

Beirut Station Chief William Buckley’s kidnapping and murder is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. It is perhaps one of the most significant episodes in the lead up to where the United States stands with modern terrorism.
It should have been a major red flag.
As a matter of public relations, it was an unmitigated disaster, swept under the rug at the time by politicians.
Now, with time, the event’s significance in the evolution of terrorism and our current relationship with Iran is made very clear in this historical text.
Well-written and with great narration, only the CIA-redactions mar the narrative, reminding the reader how these evens are still in play to this day.

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  • Rawhide
  • 08-11-18

Why We Must Contain and Defeat Iran

If you have any questions about the threat posed by Iran, directly and through its proxies, read this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 11-04-19

A fairly concise and coherent rundown

A good rundown of the four decade war between Hezbollah and the US and Israel. it's a little sexed up but still well worth the time.

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  • David
  • 25-10-18

educational, detailed, and important

Great book on a very important moment in USA history. The information detailed by Fred Burton allows you to see the bigger picture of our involvement in the middle east.

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  • Larry N
  • 14-11-19

Excellent reference material

I hate buying a book twice, but after listening to the audio version, you’re going to want a hard copy to put on your shelf for reference material.

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  • Christopher T
  • 09-08-19

Must hear to understand middle east

Very important history. I recommend with the following comments. I think the editors missed places where the book seems repetitive. Secondly, I was not a fan of the narrator. Very drone and almost robotic.

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  • JustBill
  • 01-07-19

He Defined Honor

I remembered these events as it was yesterday, and at 67, I can tell you it was the most painful book in my life to even get through. The whole book refreshed my memories and answered so many questions that have plauged me for years, and can now say based on the book itself, that Mr.. William Buckley was tortured every day for over 400 days in such a way that the 16th Century Tower of London personnel would have envied.
It looks to me that Bill Casey and a few friends ached over Mr.. Buckley's horrid death, and I was also, but in a very naive manner as those were the day's I believed that great institutions such as the CIA were beyond approach. I think Mr. Buckley knew the first day he was snatched out off his car, he knew full well that his employer was impotent when it came to any type of rescue, and they have not improved much since. This book should tell Americans that they are an agency of the government that has outlived its use. Retribution after the fact is a folly when the other party takes it up another notch after such. I wonder if someone had said let's leave these sociopathic idelogs alone in 1980?
I can say for certainty 9/11 would be unknown to all Americans and that's the lesson you should end up with at the end of this book. I am so sorry Mr.. Buckley we did not try harder to free you Sir, but I can tell you the military had several ideas and an idea beats nothing any day of the week. In your darkest of days, your friends those that knew the man tried in vain to do more. The book also confirms that "Fake News" was alive and well the day the music died.

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  • Victor
  • 08-01-19

informative, detailed, thrilling!!

what a great listen. I enjoy the suspense of military special operation books, so I wasnt to sure of this book. Boy was i wrong.

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  • amy erickson
  • 20-11-21

Beirut Rules

Thoughtful and driving, this reads like a political spy thriller, superb and very detailed, producing a page turner, or in the case of an audio bool, riveting active listening. Sparking the imagination, educating on Middle East history, I found myself wishing it had not ended. Perhaps I will listen again, and I should, simply for soaking up details I might have missed. Fred Burton wrote a truly fascinating, detailed story. The true story I hadn’t known much of prior to listening. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give Mr Burton is that he has promoted me to want to learn more about the history of Lebanon, and the men and women of the CIA. Congratulations!