Secret History, Second Edition: Secret History, Second Edition

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Overview

In 1992, the Central Intelligence Agency hired the young historian Nick Cullather to write a history (classified "secret" and for internal distribution only) of the Agency's Operation PBSUCCESS, which overthrew the lawful government of Guatemala in 1954. Given full access to the Agency's archives, he produced a vivid insider's account, intended as a training manual for cover operators, detailing how the CIA chose targets, planned strategies, and organized the mechanics of waging a secret war. In 1997, during a ...
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Secret History, Second Edition: The CIA's Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

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Overview

In 1992, the Central Intelligence Agency hired the young historian Nick Cullather to write a history (classified "secret" and for internal distribution only) of the Agency's Operation PBSUCCESS, which overthrew the lawful government of Guatemala in 1954. Given full access to the Agency's archives, he produced a vivid insider's account, intended as a training manual for cover operators, detailing how the CIA chose targets, planned strategies, and organized the mechanics of waging a secret war. In 1997, during a brief period of open disclosure, the CIA declassified the history with remarkably few substantive deletions. The New York Times called it "an astonishingly frank account ... which may be a high-water mark in the agency's openness." Here is that account, with new notes by the author which clarify points in the history and add newly available information. This book reveals how the legend of PBSUCCESS grew, and why attempts to imitate it failed so disastrously at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and in the Contra war in the 1980's. The Afterword traces the effects of the coup of 1954 on the subsequent unstable politics and often violent history of Guatemala.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This is a fascinating study, first commissioned in 1992 by the CIA itself as an internal teaching tool and classified "secret," and later (in 1997) made public during a brief vogue for more open disclosure policies at the agency. The relatively few redacted portions are represented in the present volume by blank spaces. The study exposes the specific conditions which led to the CIA's short-lived "success" in its Guatemalan operations, why that success indeed proved illusory, and how the CIA was in error to use the results of its campaign in Guatemala as encouragement to proceed with covert operations in other countries, such as Cuba. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Nick Cullather sheds new light on an old regime change, assissted by documents initially made public during the tenure of former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director (and current Secretary of Defense) Robert Gates. Cullather's work is concise, detailed, and eminantly readable...In summary, Cullather provides a realistic and nuanced view of an otherwise well-covered operation, see through the eyes of the agency that led PBSUCCESS...For students of Latin America and U.S. national security policymaking in the region, Cullather has done a great service." —Mark Montesclaros, Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804754675
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2006
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Nick Cullather is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University. He is the author of Illusions of Influence: The Political Economy of United States-Philippines Relations, 1942-1960 (Stanford University Press, 1994).
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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Culture of Destruction
Foreword to the CIA Edition 5
Ch. 1 America's Backyard 7
Ch. 2 Reversing the Trend 38
Ch. 3 Sufficient Means 74
Ch. 4 The Sweet Smell of Success 105
App. A PBSUCCESS Timeline 127
App. B: Bibliography 133
App. C A Study of Assassination 137
Afterword: The Culture of Fear
Index
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