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Gray Work

Confessions of an American Paramilitary Spy

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In this unprecedented book, a paramilitary contractor with more than two decades of experience gives us a firsthand look into the secret lives of America’s private warriors and their highly covert work around the world. Author Jamie Smith has planned and executed hundreds of missions on behalf of government agencies and private industry in some of the world’s most dangerous hot spots—and lived to tell the tale.

They are elite warriors who run highly dangerous missions deep inside foreign countries on the brink of war. Jamie Smith knows these men well. Not only is he one of them, but he was the founding director of one of the most successful global, private military contracting firms. For the first time, he breaks his silence, pulling back the curtain to reveal in raw, intimate terms exactly what paramilitary spies and operators like him do when the government cannot act or take public responsibility.

Combining the thrilling narrative of an international spy thriller with bracing boots-on-the-ground realism, Gray Work follows Smith through grinding CIA training and his career as an operative, his work with Blackwater Security, and the creation of his own successful company. Here is the grit and gristle of modern warfare, from espionage and assassinations, rescues and renditions, from the dark corners of the Arab Spring and the fall of Qadhafi to black ops from Syria to Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and beyond. Smith has fought terrorists and won; he was ambushed on a mission in Pakistan and took a bullet through his shoulder and to his back, and subsequently survived a grueling mountain trek that almost cost him his life.

As founding director of Blackwater Security and then as head of his own company, Smith has helped shape a decade of war. His book powerfully illustrates how the men who serve in this gray area between the public and private worlds are transforming the art and science of modern warfare. Unparalleled in its revelations and riveting in its intensity, Gray Work is as exhilarating as the best novels by Clancy, Cussler, Flynn, and Thor—and all the more so because it’s true.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 13, 2015 – Smith, a "simple, Christ-following American from Mississippi" offers a look inside the world of the "operator"—a contractor who works in the "gap between the soldier and the spy"—that doubles as an advertisement for his security services company, Gray Solutions. The book, in tone and content, reads like late-night bar braggadocio. Smith presents himself as a cutting-edge, hands-on expert in a new kind of warfare, the product of a "savage, hard" world that is "more lethal than ever." Private security companies, Smith argues, trace their roots to government agencies like the CIA, where he claims he began his own career. He learned the techniques of intelligence collection in an increasingly paramilitary atmosphere, during the CIA's development of "a killing machine like none that has ever existed on this planet." Today, there is cutthroat competition for contracts among the paramilitary entrepreneurs, and Smith's account of his business's volatility is almost as exciting as the tales of operational derring-do that hold the book together. Smith insists that private contractors do "hard work worth doing" in "providing training, intel, and security services" to ungoverned spaces in "innovative and flexible frameworks." He is persuasive enough to be almost convincing.

Customer Reviews


A compelling read. I loved it. Historically amazing insight. I worked with him at CIA - his info is spot on!

Gray Work
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Apr 07, 2015
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings