Dangerous Company

The Misadventures of a “Foreign Agent”

Pulsating with action from the first page to the last, Dangerous Company: Misadventures of a “Foreign Agent” is a memoir that reads like a thriller. Sam Patten left US politics behind when he went overseas to promote democracy during George W. Bush's first administration. Then he became an advisor to political leaders in countries like Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, the Congo, Nigeria, and Mexico.

When Washington went on the hunt for anyone who could have helped the Russians elect Donald Trump as US president, Patten was a “usual suspect.” Following charges referred by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in 2018 he was convicted of failing to register as a foreign agent under a seldom-enforced 1938 statute.

In Dangerous Company, Patten gives us front-row seats to Russia during Vladimir Putin’s early years, the newly independent states where “color revolutions” ushered in both democratic change and more corruption, and the inside of a legal hurricane that consumed the Trump administration.

But beyond the action, this is a story of an America that may no longer exist. Patten’s adventures seem to be chasing the twilight of the American Century—from World War I to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The time when the United States sought to influence powers around the world has faded into the present moment, in which there is more discussion about which countries are influencing us. 

Dangerous Company is a fast-paced, colorful, and insightful account of an American abroad and at home over the past quarter century.

ISBN: 978-1-63755-775-4
SKU: 18-1155-01
Categories:Memorable Biographies and Memoirs, Amplify Publishing, Memoirs and Biographies, Political

“Sam Patten is an American original, and the tales he tells in this superb memoir reflect our country at its best: adventurous, idealistic, results-oriented, and altruistic. He is also naive at times and excessively hopeful at others. As the reader follows Sam’s travels and travails across the globe, what comes across most of all is a belief in the possibility of progress and the ability of individuals to help make it. Sam is transparent about his pitfalls, with a candor that used to be part of the classic American persona but increasingly seems like a quaint relic in our polarized, rhetoric-filled society. I was left with hope and a belief that Americans still can make a difference in the world, even after all the mistakes we have made over the decades.”—ERIC RUBIN, former US ambassador to Bulgaria

“Sam Patten plays both devil and saint: an American who dared to get his hands dirty in the realities of the world, so very distant from the sterilities of the screen. And he writes well about it.”—DUDLEY FISHBURN, former member of Parliament under Margaret Thatcher

Dangerous Company is a fascinating tale of sex, romance, power, and brilliant success (the purple finger in the air) to sordid associations with the bad boys of American politics, followed by Patten lying in a pool of his own blood, wondering if some aggrieved potentate had ordered a hit. Across five continents Patten was not just 'present at the creation' but its midwife. It’s a memoir that reads like a Ken Follett novel and a must-read for deep staters and denizens of the vast world beyond the Beltway alike!”—CHRISTOPHER BURNHAM, former assistant secretary for the US Department of State and under-secretary-general of the United Nations

“Long ago I told Sam he needed to write a book, and oh Lord, did he ever! His riveting behind-the-scenes tales of diplomacy and intrigue—how the sausage is made, where the bodies are buried, and a how-to (and occasionally how-not-to) survive and thrive in the heady world of high-stakes power battles in foreign capitals around the globe is on full display. Here Sam’s life well lived explodes on the page in full color and makes for a fascinating read.”—MARK PFEIFLE, former US deputy national security advisor for communications

“I strapped in and let Sam Patten take me on a swashbuckling, hair-raising, danger- and escapade-filled adventure through Russia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Mexico. Did it seem crazy when we got to Congo? Yes, it did. But such is the invisible underworld of expert hired guns paid to bring American-style politics to places probably not ready for it. Given the journey, it is no surprise when Patten ultimately ends up in Ukraine and the maw of Donald Trump’s Russiagate, at the wrong end of the spear of Robert Mueller’s investigation. Read this book.”—STEVE LEVINE, author of Putin’s Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia

“Sam Patten set out to see the world and have an impact. He saw the world, traveling from one hot spot to the next, and he had an effect—but not always the one he planned for. In Russia, he worked on democracy promotion and was a close friend of the assassinated opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov. It was at home that he made a mistake that almost landed him behind bars. In this absorbing and honest memoir, he tells a story of political intrigue at the highest levels and the price he paid when success was at hand, but judgment failed him.”—DAVID SATTER, Russian scholar and author of The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin

Sam Patten

Communications Strategist


Absorbed by politics from an early age, Sam Patten dedicated his early career to electoral campaigns at home and abroad. Born into a family oriented around power, Patten considered himself destined for great things. Yet the dangerous company he kept nearly destroyed him.

Like Forrest Gump, Patten appears at pivotal moments in history over the past quarter century: the breakup of the Soviet Union, the millennial election of George W. Bush, America’s war in Iraq, Russia’s invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, and the investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election at home.

The story of Patten’s adventures and misadventures reads like fiction. To top it off, at the moment he is exiled from Washington, DC, the city of his birth, Patten is nearly murdered in broad daylight on a busy street in the capital city. But he survived, and this is his eyewitness account of world-shaping events.

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