Book Review: Code Name Blue Wren by Jim Popkin (2023)

Synopsis: For 17 years, Ana Montes worked as a defense analyst for the Pentagon, keeping tabs on Cuba. Little did her superiors know, she was actually working as a spy, passing information to the Cuban government. This non-fiction book covers her story along with the story of her younger sister, Lucy, who as an FBI agent, played a role in Ana being convicted

Review: I saw this book in our library's "new book" section and, deciding it sounded interesting, gave it a try. It took me a little while to read because of interruptions but wound up being an interesting book.

This story sounds like something out of a spy novel, with Ana betraying her country and her younger sister (along with other family members who joined the FBI) playing a part in her arrest. The fact it was a true story only makes it all that much more interesting.

I liked how the author took the time to tell the story from both points of view, discussing the sisters' childhood, how they both wound up working for the government (albeit in different departments) and how Ana's spy activities hurt their relationship even before she was outed.

The book also gives a great deal of description about the intelligence community prior to 9/11, with communication between agencies not always effective and obvious red flags (like Ana's trips to Cuba) being missed prior to her being placed in such an important and sensitive position and even after suspicions about her loyalty started to surface.

I also thought the book does a good job of explaining Puerto Rican history, something that is necessary, at least in my opinion, to understand part of Ana's motivation, as well as the mechanisms that are needed for a spy operation to be successful. I learned a lot more than I was expecting to as a result.

Final Opinion: It's an intriguing spy story and is 100 percent real. It's worth taking the time to read it if you get an opportunity to.

My Grade: A


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