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The scientist and the spy : a true story of China, the FBI, and industrial espionage / Mara Hvistendahl.

Hvistendahl, Mara, (author.).

Available copies

  • 0 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 0 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

1 current hold with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Moorhead Public Library 364.168 HVI (Text) 33500013192166 New Checked out 03/04/2020

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780735214286
  • ISBN: 073521428X
  • Physical Description: 321 pages ; 24 cm
  • Edition: 1st Edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Riverhead, 2020.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary, etc.:
"A riveting true story of industrial espionage in which a Chinese-born scientist is convicted of trying to steal U.S. trade secrets, by a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. In September 2011, sheriff's deputies in Iowa encountered three neatly dressed Asian men at a cornfield that had been leased by Monsanto to grow corn from patented hybrids. What began as a routine inquiry into potential trespassing blossomed into a federal court case that saw one of the men -- Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo -- plead guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from U.S. agro-giants DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto on behalf of the China-based DBN Group, one of the country's largest seed companies. The Mo case was part of the U.S. government's efforts to stanch the rising flow of industrial espionage by Chinese companies -- some with the assistance of the Chinese government itself -- on American companies. And it's not an isolated one. Economic espionage costs U.S. companies billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. As former Attorney General Eric Holder once put it, "There are only two categories of companies affected by trade secret theft: Those that know they've been compromised and those that don't know it yet." Using the story of Mo and of others involved in the case, journalist Mara Hvistendahl uncovers the fascinating and disquieting phenomenon of industrial espionage as China marches toward technological domination. In The Scientist and the Spy, she shines light on U.S. efforts to combat theft of proprietary innovation and technology and delves into the efforts to slow the loss of such secrets to other nations. As technology and innovation become more and more valuable, government agencies like the FBI and companies around the world are growing increasingly concerned -- and are increasingly outspoken about -- the threats posed to Western competitiveness. General Keith Alexander, the ex-director of the National Security Agency, has described Chinese industrial espionage and cyber crimes as "the greatest transfer of wealth in history." The Scientist and the Spy explains how the easy movement of experts and ideas affects development and the important role that espionage plays in innovation, both for the spies and the spied-upon. She also asks whether the current U.S. counter-espionage strategy helps or harms the greater public good. The result is a compelling nonfiction thriller that's also a call to arms on how we should rethink the best ways to safeguard intellectual property"-- Provided by publisher.
Reviews

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2020 January #1
    *Starred Review* Not since Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest has a cornfield produced so much excitement. Science writer Hvistendahl writes about how the sighting of an Asian man wearing a suit and bending over corn in an Iowa farmer's field led to a two-year, multifaceted FBI investigation into industrial espionage by China. This book centers on corn—its value to the U.S. and the world, the rivalry between Monsanto and DuPont to develop designer hybrid seeds, and the on-the-ground kidnapping of seeds by spies for the Chinese agronomic corporation DBG, whose goal was to develop and market their own seeds after stealing U.S. trade secrets. Hvistendahl makes industrial espionage both understandable and riveting, chiefly by focusing her narrative on two scientists (one Chinese, one American, both manipulated by DBG) who, wittingly and unwittingly, are forced into collecting seeds and information for DBG. 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. Unlike many current spy books, which focus on long-ago espionage, this one examines an investigation into the pressing, ongoing problem of industrial espionage. Hard to put down and harder to stop thinking about. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.
  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2020 January #1
    *Starred Review* Not since Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest has a cornfield produced so much excitement. Science writer Hvistendahl writes about how the sighting of an Asian man wearing a suit and bending over corn in an Iowa farmer's field led to a two-year, multifaceted FBI investigation into industrial espionage by China. This book centers on corn—its value to the U.S. and the world, the rivalry between Monsanto and DuPont to develop designer hybrid seeds, and the on-the-ground kidnapping of seeds by spies for the Chinese agronomic corporation DBG, whose goal was to develop and market their own seeds after stealing U.S. trade secrets. Hvistendahl makes industrial espionage both understandable and riveting, chiefly by focusing her narrative on two scientists (one Chinese, one American, both manipulated by DBG) who, wittingly and unwittingly, are forced into collecting seeds and information for DBG. 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. Unlike many current spy books, which focus on long-ago espionage, this one examines an investigation into the pressing, ongoing problem of industrial espionage. Hard to put down and harder to stop thinking about. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

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.

Subject: United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Business intelligence > United States.
Confidential business information > United States.
Spies > China.
Agricultural industries > United States.
United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Agricultural industries.
Business intelligence.
Confidential business information.
Spies.
China.
United States.

Additional Resources