The Scientist and the Spy
A riveting true story of industrial espionage in which a Chinese-born scientist is pursued by the U.S. government for trying to steal trade secrets, by a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction.In September 2011, sheriff's deputies in Iowa encountered three ethnic Chinese men near a field where a farmer was growing corn seed under contract with Monsanto. What began as a simple trespassing inquiry mushroomed into a two-year FBI operation in which investigators bugged the men's rental cars, used a warrant intended for foreign terrorists and spies, and flew surveillance planes over corn country--all in the name of protecting trade secrets of corporate giants Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer. In The Scientist and the Spy, Hvistendahl gives a gripping account of this unusually far-reaching investigation, which pitted a veteran FBI special agent against Florida resident Robert Mo, who after his academic career foundered took a questionable job with the Chinese agricultural company DBN--and became a pawn in a global rivalry.Industrial espionage by Chinese companies lies beneath the United States' recent trade war with China, and it is one of the top counterintelligence targets of the FBI. But a decade of efforts to stem the problem have been largely ineffective. Through previously unreleased FBI files and her reporting from across the United States and China, Hvistendahl describes a long history of shoddy counterintelligence on China, much of it tinged with racism, and questions the role that corporate influence plays in trade secrets theft cases brought by the U.S. government. The Scientist and the Spy is both an important exploration of the issues at stake and a compelling, involving read.

The Scientist and the Spy Details

TitleThe Scientist and the Spy
Author
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherRiverhead Books
ISBN-139780735214286
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Science, Cultural, China, History, Politics, Business

The Scientist and the Spy Review

  • Katie (katieladyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    Finished. Absolutely wild. Super thought provoking. Def hoping to continue to follow this story in the news thank you again to @riverheadbooks for the free copy. I’ll be thinking about this one for awhile Finished. Absolutely wild. Super thought provoking. Def hoping to continue to follow this story in the news 😳 thank you again to @riverheadbooks for the free copy. I’ll be thinking about this one for awhile
    more
  • Clara Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    Note: The copy I have with me is the uncorrected version, which I have won through a raffle by Fully Booked called 20 Reads for 2020. I cannot cite the book as such, and will still have to refer to the officially published version. However, I believe that I somehow have the very skeleton of the book to be released on 04 February 2020. The book, despite being a non-fiction account of the case of Hailong Mo, reads like an action-suspense novel. I finished the book in such a short time because I Note: The copy I have with me is the uncorrected version, which I have won through a raffle by Fully Booked called 20 Reads for 2020. I cannot cite the book as such, and will still have to refer to the officially published version. However, I believe that I somehow have the very skeleton of the book to be released on 04 February 2020. The book, despite being a non-fiction account of the case of Hailong Mo, reads like an action-suspense novel. I finished the book in such a short time because I cannot put it down - I wanted to know what happened next. Hvistendahl did an excellent job in writing simply whilst providing the reader with a background on industrial espionage both from the American and Chinese perspectives. She also suspends bias and is critical of the racial profiling evident from how the FBI handled several alleged trade / defense / scientific secret theft cases. She illustrates how industrial espionage has always been an existing issue overshadowed by terrorism. Using numerous sources ranging from firsthand interviews as well as court proceedings and news articles, Hvistendahl writes a compelling account of the economic espionage cases and its effect to a nation long hailed as the epitome of democracy - an ironic claim for various nationalities that make up "America".
    more
  • Brian Miller
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting read about the growing threat of intellectual espionage and how little of a handle we really have to deal with this emerging threat. The book covers the case of a small Chinese team that is sent to the US for the purpose of stealing new breeds of corn so that China can help feed its enormous population. The Chinese group is basically a bumbling group of individuals who can do little right and the US which seems always a step behind. A really good read that shows how the world A very interesting read about the growing threat of intellectual espionage and how little of a handle we really have to deal with this emerging threat. The book covers the case of a small Chinese team that is sent to the US for the purpose of stealing new breeds of corn so that China can help feed its enormous population. The Chinese group is basically a bumbling group of individuals who can do little right and the US which seems always a step behind. A really good read that shows how the world may function now that we have become a global society. Thank you Netgalley, by Mara Hvistendahl, PENGUIN GROUP Riverhead, and Riverhead Books for the ARC for my honest review.
    more
  • Haoyan Do
    January 1, 1970
    It's really like what Kevin said that Robert Mo is doing such a stupid thing. Criminals usually don't think as normal people do. I really feel very sorry for Robert. He should just take a stand, and refuse to do any illegal activities from the very beginning. His sister would still help him to get a position, probably not making as much money though. It's so weird that he would go to Iowa to dig corns illegally. Just to think about this image makes me feel sad and even sick. The book has a lot It's really like what Kevin said that Robert Mo is doing such a stupid thing. Criminals usually don't think as normal people do. I really feel very sorry for Robert. He should just take a stand, and refuse to do any illegal activities from the very beginning. His sister would still help him to get a position, probably not making as much money though. It's so weird that he would go to Iowa to dig corns illegally. Just to think about this image makes me feel sad and even sick. The book has a lot of great details and did a good job describing everything, except that it should describe the biological process of corn seed more. I think most of the readers are like me, with no knowledge how corns grow, mate, change etc. Without such a basic knowledge, it is bewildering when one encounter terminologies like "reverse engineering", seeds, male and female. It is logic defying to know that he still wants to steal when he can do reverse engineering on legal seeds. Also it is puzzling that why can't Robert just go to a super market and buy some corn there, how he could know where to dig in Iowa, giving the fact there are endless acres of corns there.Being an Asian is not an easy thing in this century, last century, and the century before it, no matter where we live, in Asia or in America. We are facing much stricter scrutiny, harsher punishment, hard to break bamboo ceiling, and a lot of other difficulties. I wish all the Asians will start to think about issues of justice, equality, fairness, community more. I wish we are not just another selfish dreamer to climb the social ladder, to complain those first world complaints. I hope we understand our historical burden and our duty to fight for a better world.
    more
  • Miguel
    January 1, 1970
    It’s easy to see why this book is getting a lot of positive reviews – it’s a solidly researched and reported story that wasn’t on the front pages but which stands alone as a microcosm of both East-West intellectual property issues and the failings of the US judicial system. There’s a lot of sympathy to be had for the main protagonist here - a patsy who’s swept up in a larger story of China’s interest in obtaining US agricultural IP. His treatment at the hands of the US judicial system is no It’s easy to see why this book is getting a lot of positive reviews – it’s a solidly researched and reported story that wasn’t on the front pages but which stands alone as a microcosm of both East-West intellectual property issues and the failings of the US judicial system. There’s a lot of sympathy to be had for the main protagonist here - a patsy who’s swept up in a larger story of China’s interest in obtaining US agricultural IP. His treatment at the hands of the US judicial system is no surprise given his lack of financial support and the outcome is somewhat preordained. Entertaining throughout.
    more
  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    excellent, balanced account of the state of counter-intelligence and spying with Chinese characteristics. the author debunks the "grains of sand" theory still believed by u.s. intelligence agencies and addresses the racial and cultural biases that hamper effective intelligence operations against the Chinese.
    more
  • J Wayne Wisniewski
    January 1, 1970
    Simple story, biased author, not worth the timeThis is a pretty straightforward story of Chinese spying that could have been told in one chapter. Author seems to have little problem with Chinese espionage. Disappointing book and the author’s bias was even more disappointing.
    more
  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting and well researched.
  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    it’s an unexpected page turner - Hvistendahl can write ! lots of loose ends at the conclusion just like rl .
  • Aunt
    January 1, 1970
    Recommended by the The Economist
Write a review