Monday, February 5, 2018

Staff Picks: American Radical (Adult Non-Fiction)

American Radical by Tamer Elnoury is a non-fiction book that reads like a fictional spy novel.

Mr. Elnoury is a American Muslim born in Egypt. After graduating from college, he became an undercover police officer. After 9/11, he offered his services to the FBI. He had previously been told that he would be valuable to the FBI because he speaks Arabic.

In September 2012, Mr. Elnoury went undercover to infiltrate an Al Qaeda cell and helped to prevent a train derailment in Canada and a possible Times Square bombing on New Years Eve.

Learning about the life of an undercover FBI agent was fascinating. The Bureau sends their undercover officers to Hollywood for a week of acting classes. Mr. Elnoury credits the acting lessons for doing as much to save his life as any other training that the FBI provided. 

Until I read this book, I never appreciated the effects that working undercover could have on a person. Mr. Elnoury had to spend months calling a man "brother" - a man that he considered to be an evil monster. He had to take another "brother" on a tour of the 9/11 memorial in New York City knowing that the man idolized Osama Bin Laden and wanted to kill thousands of Americans. 

Mr. Elnoury is not the FBI agent's real name since he is still working as an undercover agent. He possibly saved the lives of hundreds of Americans and yet, no one knows  his name. In fact, until I read the book, I really did not have an understanding of just how many potential terrorist attempts are prevented by the hard working men and women of the FBI. I consider Mr. Elnoury, whoever he is, to be a true American hero.

Recommended by:
Amy Weiler
Information Specialist
Sharon Forks Library