The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the Fbi, and Industrial Espionage

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Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Riverhead Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.3 X 1.1 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Mara Hvistendahl covered China's renaissance in science and technology as a correspondent in Shanghai for Science. She has also written for The Atlantic, Popular Science, WIRED, and other publications. She is the author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A proficient Mandarin speaker and former National Fellow at New America, she lived in China for eight years and now resides in Minneapolis with her family.


"A nuanced look at some of the pawns in the U.S.-China rivalry ... through her reporting in China and the United States, Hvistendahl recounts the case with the vivid details and pace of a spy thriller." --Foreign Policy

"A compelling whodunit. . . [A] captivating and well-researched book." --The Wall Street Journal

"Mara Hvistendahl's compelling account of the drama reads in parts like a spy thriller, replete with car chases, phone-tapping and aerial surveillance as agents track the shovel-carrying suspects across America." --The Economist

"If there is a subplot that makes this book essential reading, especially for those working in the sciences today, it is Hvistendahl's documentation of the disturbing effects that the too-vigorous pursuit of industrial spies has had on Chinese scientists and engineers in the United States." --Science

"A riveting whodunit." --The Washington Post

"[A] fascinating story, which speaks to the larger geopolitical tensions shaping our time." --Bookpage

"A true-crime thriller about a Chinese-born scientist's agricultural espionage." -Men's Journal

"[A] compelling tale of industrial espionage. . . This engaging book has something for everyone; it can be read as a spy thriller, an examination of U.S.-China relations, or a case study of agricultural espionage." --Library Journal

"[A] fascinating and well-researched study. . . . Those looking for insights into the current tensions with China will be rewarded." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Not since Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest has a cornfield produced so much excitement. . . . Hvistendahl makes industrial espionage both understandable and riveting. . . . This is a complex story, but it's presented clearly and vividly, thanks to Hvistendahl's background as a science journalist here and in China; to her exquisite pacing; and to her narrative skills . . . Hard to put down and harder to stop thinking about." --Booklist (starred review)

"Before there was a trade war, there was industrial espionage. To understand today's fight between the United States and China, you need to understand the seeds of the conflict, and this book is on the money. A nonfiction thriller for our times." --Ian Bremmer, author of Us Vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism

"The Scientist and the Spy is as compulsively readable as espionage thriller and as darkly troubling as any morality tale. Told with empathy, insight, and remarkable detail, the author shines a clear light on the increasingly relentless federal investigation, its Chinese targets, and the powerful government and business interests that drive the story to its fascinating conclusion." --Deborah Blum, author of The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Quest for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century