Advance praise for
“In It’s Not About the Gun, Kathy Stearman chronicles, with raw
honesty, her experiences in the male-dominated culture of the FBI,
where she describes being part of a team for the first time in her
life, developing life-long friends, and providing exceptional
service to the FBI and to the United States.
“In her memoir, Kathy demonstrates the toughness required to
be a female FBI agent, while maintaining the sensitivity needed
in the often-times challenging and disquieting investigative
environments in which she found herself throughout her
career. I cannot overstate the profound respect I feel
for Kathy and what she has accomplished.”
—Tom Fuentes, former FBI Assistant Director, Interpol Executive
Committee, and Senior Law Enforcement Analyst for CNN;
currently VP, International Development, Morris and McDaniel

"When I started reading It's Not About the Gun: Lessons from My Global Career as a Female FBI Agent, I thought I knew what to expect, a typical story about an FBI agent’s career journey. But whoa, was I wrong. Her honesty and openness makes Kathy‘s memoir expectation shattering!"- Jerri Williams, Author and Podcaster, FBI Retired Case File Review.



“This book was wonderfully written and engaging. The author comes across as straight-forward and not overly emotional (probably a necessary stance, working among mostly men). The stories about her upbringing, training, and career were all interesting, and then became even more compelling when paired with her retrospective insight.

Not all of the book was about the author’s own life. The commentary she offered about different political, military, and cultural events and occurrences around the world were also enlightening. As a reader without a desire to tour the world, the author’s descriptions of the physical beauty and traditions in the countries where she worked were colorful and appreciated.”

—Books I Think You Should Read, Blog

Books I Think You Should Read, Blog


“Stearman starts with a recounting of a horrific act of terrorism in Sri Lanka and then looks back to her youth…A bibliophile from the time she could read, she longed for escape from the family farm and found that and more through her federal job. Stearman’s story will engross readers.”—Booklist

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Available Now!

It's Not About the Gun

A former FBI Special Agent recounts the global experiences that shaped her life -and the mixed feelings she now holds about the sacrifices she had to make to survive in a man's world.

When sixteen women came forward in 2019 to sue the FBI for discrimination at the training academy, Kathy Stearman, who had served in the FBI for twenty-six years, was surprised to see the women come forward. No one ever had before. But the truth behind their accusations resonated.

After her long career in the Bureau, Kathy Stearman knows from personal experience that this type of behavior has been prevalent for decades. Stearman’s It’s Not About the Gun examines the influence of attitude and gender in her journey to becoming an FBI Legal Attaché, the most senior FBI representative in a foreign office.

When she entered the FBI Academy in 1987, Stearman was one of about 600 women in a force

of 10,000 agents. While there, she evolved into an assertive woman, working her way up the ranks and across the globe to hold positions that very few women have held before. And yet, even at the height of her career, Stearman had to check herself to make sure that she never appeared weak, inferior, or afraid. The accepted attitude for women in power has long been

cool, calm, and in control—even though Stearman herself is funny, personable, and empathetic.

Stearman changed for the FBI, but she longs for a different path for future women of the Bureau. If the system changes, then women can remain constant, valuing their female identity and nurturing the people they truly are.

From the rolling hills of Kentucky to the rigors of training camp, from the chaos of New Delhi to the fog and intrigue in Beijing, It’s Not About the Gun, paints a vivid picture of life as a woman in the FBI, and reveals how Stearman’s perception of her country and the FBI has evolved as America—and the world—continues to change.

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