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Deception Reviews


Earlier this year, William Langewiesche’s The Atomic Bazaar alerted readers to the blind eye the United States and other nations have turned toward Pakistan’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb and to sell that technology to other nations, including the entire “Axis of Evil.” Levy and Scott-Clark (The Amber Room) work on a larger canvas, shaping their in-depth reporting into a compelling and more detailed narrative. They have not truly improved upon Langewiesche’s portrait of A.Q. Khan, the metallurgist who became “Pakistan’s biggest and most valuable personality” after smuggling atomic secrets out of the Netherlands. But they do substantially support the idea that the nuclear program influenced Pakistan’s internal power struggles, and that American government officials led disinformation campaigns for 30 years in order to hang onto the nation as a dubious ally against first the Soviets and then al-Qaeda. The authors also hint at the possible involvement of Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby in an attempt to discredit an intelligence analyst who spoke frankly of the Pakistani threat during the first Bush administration. Building on a decade’s worth of interviews, the husband-and-wife investigative term serve a stunning indictment of “the nuclear crime of all our lifetimes,” in which, the authors claim, the U.S. has been an active accessory. (Oct.)

Simultaneously astonishing, maddening and absolutely frightening.

Kirkus (starred review)

Deception is a great book…it moves the story on and answers many questions thanks to impressive research.

Gordon Corera, BBC Security Correspondent

Anyone interested in South Asia and the wider subject of nuclear proliferation or who simply enjoys a gripping tale….should read this book.

Daily Telegraph

This is the most horrifying book I have read in a while. At one point, the authors cite a question posed by one senior State Department official about some of his colleagues: Why,’ he asks, ‘when it comes to the destruction of the world, did these guys find it so hard to play it straight?’ NO answer is given; but then none, I suppose, is possible.


By far the most readable and authoritative picture to date. For anyone who worries about the future this really is a volume to keep you awake at night.

Sunday Times

Deception is the most complete and authoritative [account]. Levy and Scott-Clark take the reader deep inside Khan’s operations, including his extensive and previously unreported contacts with China, which gave him technical help beginning in the early 1980s. Their book also provides the fullest picture of Khan’s turbulent family life, his constant tension with his wife, his extramarital affairs and even his visits to a psychiatrist, who noted that he seemed “eaten up… as if he was unable to sate his ambition.

Washington Post – Book of the Year

A richly reported work of investigative journalism

LA Times

Deception is not an easy read. The amount of detail presented, culled from thousands of documents and interviews, may leave a reader breathless, as will the horrific policy implications of America’s evident blindness. Reading “Deception” will likely leaveabout Pakistan, and that’s likely a good thing.

Boston Globe

Levy and Scott-Clark shatter the 21st-century fable of an A.Q. Khan-run nuclear supermarket busted by US intelligence. The main actors were Pakistani military and intelligence, with Washington in the know. To shield them, the entire blame was pinned, as part of a US deal with Gen Pervez Musharraf, on a group of “greedy” scientists led by Khan, and then these very men have been kept away from international investigators.


This is a tale remarkable for its audacity, its scale of treachery, brazenness, and an astonishing absence of scruples. It is a tale of one man’s rise and fall, but it is more than that. There are ample accounts of espionage, smuggling, murder, illicit materials and sex. It is an account of a State that encouraged the violation of any international agreement; undermined any relationship, bilateral or multilateral, in order to achieve its objective of possessing the fission device. But the acquisitiveness led to more-making and then marketing the bomb.

India Today

The disclosures in the book Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, which is to be released next week, are nothing short of stunning.

Times of India

It is not often that a book on US policies on global security and non-proliferation can be read with avid interest, much like one feels when reading a real life spy thriller, as the outstanding and meticulous research carried out by British journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark in their latest publication on the duplicity and double dealing of the United States and its allies on Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

Daily Pioneer

It must be read and seriously

The Hindu

The book is a must read for any one who wants to understand the nuances of nuclear proliferation

Financial Express

Deception is an extraordinary book. It must be read by everyone.

Indian Express

British journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, make a compelling case that successive administrations in Washington were fully aware of Khan’s proliferation activities, but counted it more important to keep Pakistan as an ally than to expose its perfidy. Levy and Scott-Clark have done an excellent job of assembling what was already known about the Khan network and adding to it significantly with fresh detail gleaned from interviews with key players in the saga.

Vancouver Sun

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