Mukhabarat, Baby! Mortars, WMD, Mayhem and Other Memoirs of a Wartime Spy By Eric Burkhart

Mukhabarat_Baby_Cover-mdCongratulations to Eric Burkhart, former CIA agent, for sharing several of his covert operations with the American public in this groundbreaking new book.

Mukhabarat, Baby! Mortars, WMD, Mayhem and Other Memoirs of a Wartime Spy, By Eric Burkhart Purchase your copy today>

“In the summer of 2003, I became a man. It wasn’t something that occurred quickly with fireworks and a key to the city, it was a change that developed during the first six months of my tour in Iraq. I wasn’t alone in this episode of personal evolution.  I could sense young men, Americans in uniform, everywhere experiencing the same physical sea change. I’ve often wondered how many boyhoods ended in the sands of Iraq. I can think of at least three-thousand. I am not a soldier. I am a professional spy, trained by the best and known by my reputation. This wasn’t my first journey into a war zone.  I left Kosovo in 2001, pregnant with death . . . and although I recovered, the sickness still lingers with me to this day.  But Iraq was different.  All that sand and heat and everything the same two or three colors: my own personal Heart of Darkness. It was a challenge not to lose your wits in that place. I’m still not sure how much of myself I left behind in Baghdad.  This is my story.”

EXPERIENCES IN FOREIGN LANDS, IN TIMES OF PEACE AND WAR, LEAD FORMER CIA OFFICER TO WRITE MEMOIR: Mukhabarat, Baby!: Mortars, WMD, Mayhem, and Other Memoirs of a Wartime Spy

San Antonio, 1/12/2015 – Most of his life, Eric Burkhart has spent preparing for the next move. This retired Intelligence Officer was part of a military family, and spent much of his youth in Europe. The fact the Burkhart’s mother is a French national explains his comfort with both the language and the French culture. Before becoming a spy, Burkhart worked as an Immigration Inspector in Laredo, Texas, and his chronologically presented memoir, Mukhabarat, Baby!, provides an often humorous, and sometimes emotional glimpse into his life on the Rio Grande.

Mukhabarat, Baby! begins with a bit of a jolt. That’s all that should be said at this point. But Burkhart does make a successful effort to keep the story flowing for the most part in order. The introduction to his family provides the reader with a glimpse into the constant thread of humor that runs through the book. Eric Burkhart obviously likes to laugh, almost as much as he likes to make people laugh.

From the introduction of Eric’s humble, “bi-continental” family, Mukhabarat, Baby! transitions to Eric as a recent college grad heading to Africa to work in the townships. This segment of the book is told with the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid as a backdrop. After returning stateside, Burkhart accepts a position with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which required that Eric become very familiar with the care and use of firearms. This training proved very useful, as Burkhart joined the CIA in 2000, and in 2003 he was on his way to Baghdad, where he would be issued a Glock pistol for protection.

During Burkhart’s first tour in Kosovo, he was purposely exposed to a toxin by someone he was meeting for intelligence collection. The circumstances involved, which are discussed in great detail in the memoir, almost took Burkhart’s life. It’s obvious that the writing of the Mukhabarat, Baby! provided a certain amount of therapy, as Burkhart spends time not only detailing the effects of the poison, but the difficulties all persons with chronic, mind-numbing pain have to face every day.

For fans of real-life recollections of wartime, Mukhabarat, Baby! delivers. But it also carries with it a collection of other experiences, which in the end mold this memoir into a celebration and dedication to all of the fascinating people whose lives are captured within.

Reviews

“This book is about a roughly 20-year period in Burkhart’s life and the prolific events that sometimes follow important decisions . . . In MB, the good stuff starts at the prologue, and continues until the last sentence.  The book begins with a re-telling of a dream about Iraq, which reminds the reader that the book will eventually be turning in the direction of conflict and espionage . . . Burkhart’s first assignment with the CIA was in Kosovo . . . [where he] was intentionally poisoned by a Russian he was meeting for intelligence collection purposes.  The lead-up to this relationship, and all the involved details, are laid bare in MB.  It’s not easy stuff to get through, but well-worth the effort. I remember Eric, and how sick he was.  It took a number of years for Agency-appointed specialists from around the country to confirm what was suspected from the start . . . that Eric’s body was in a full-on battle for survival from toxic exposure.  Burkhart documents his journey through the medical system as both the Agency and the physicians and specialists attempt to piece together the story of his poisoning, all the while he continues his career.  Burkhart arrived in Baghdad in the summer of 2003, and his tour in Iraq is a highlight of the book.  If you were curious about life for our folks in that particular warzone, this is the book for you. A review of the Chapter titles should serve as inducement enough for anyone interested in the subject matter.  But Burkhart if anything is a humanist, who brings a certain honesty and integrity to his work.”
•    Lindsay Moran, former CIA Case Officer and best-selling author of Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy

“Burkhart has written a love story to an organization that doesn’t seem to reciprocate.  No need to reveal classified information.  The stories are interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining.  Burkhart reveals the heart of the mystery – the people that keep this country safe.  We can only hope he produces a sequel – about the crazy genetic stew that made him the person he is.”
•    Jackie Macuk, Career Officer, CIA

“This book isn’t about Burkhart…not really.  It’s about the people who came into his life at every different stage.  .  .  If you want a snapshot into the life of an Immigration Officer working on a busy bridge connecting the United States and Mexico, I highly recommend this book.  If you are interested in espionage and its place in a war environment, I recommend this book again.  Personally, I think Burkhart hit the mark every time.”
•    A.S., Supervisory Agent, Department of Homeland Security

“Mukhabarat, Baby! gives a unique glimpse into a world of foreign intelligence collection that most of us normally only wonder and guess about. As I read the memoir, I found myself laughing alongside Burkhart as I was introduced this clandestine world seen through his infectious sense of humor.  I then found myself hardening with determination to fight terrorism during the Iraq war portions, and then I was championing Burkhart during the crisis that befell his career as a result of his poisoning.  It is the true story of a true patriot.  In my favorite line from the book, Burkhart describes the work of his colleagues:
“Freedom reigns in places all over the globe because determined and well-trained Agency officers went to dangerous places and discovered incredibly courageous people who were willing, at the ultimate risk, to share state secrets.”

I would only add that the CIA Officers who collect those secrets are also incredibly courageous as they face their own dangers and sacrifices – and they don’t wear uniforms and get to hear our thanks in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  This book gives a peek into that life and those sacrifices.”
•    Jennifer Jennings