Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

by Tim Weiner


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With shocking revelations that made headlines in papers across the country, Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tim Weiner gets at the truth behind the CIA and uncovers here why nearly every CIA Director has left the agency in worse shape than when he found it; and how these profound failures jeopardize our national security.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307389008
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/20/2008
Pages: 848
Sales rank: 113,870
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.02(h) x 1.67(d)

About the Author

Tim Weiner, a reporter for The New York Times, has filed stories from inside the CIA and around the world for twenty years. He is a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize for covering national security. This is his third book.

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Legacy of Ashes is the record of the first sixty years of the Central Intelligence Agency. It describes how the most powerful country in the history of Western civilization has failed to create a first-rate spy service. That failure constitutes a danger to the national security of the United States. Intelligence is secret action aimed at understanding or changing what goes on abroad. President Dwight D. Eisenhower called it “a distasteful but vital necessity.” A nation that wants to project its power beyond its borders needs to see over the horizon, to know what is coming, to prevent attacks against its people. It must anticipate surprise. Without a strong, smart, sharp intelligence service, presidents and generals alike can become blind and crippled. But throughout its history as a superpower, the United States has not had such a service.

History, Edward Gibbon wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, is “little more than the register of crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.” The annals of the Central Intelligence Agency are filled with folly and misfortune, along with acts of bravery and cunning. They are replete with fleeting successes and long–lasting failures abroad. They are marked by political battles and power struggles at home. The agency’s triumphs have saved some blood and treasure. Its mistakes have squandered both. They have proved fatal for legions of American soldiers and foreign agents; some three thousand Americans who died in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001; and three thousand more who have died since then in Iraq and Afghanistan. The one crime of lasting consequence has been the CIA’s inability to carry out its central mission: informing the president of what is happening in the world.

The United States had no intelligence to speak of when World War II began, and next to none a few weeks after the war ended. A mad rush to demobilize left behind a few hundred men who had a few years’ experience in the world of secrets and the will to go on fighting a new enemy. “All major powers except the United States have had for a long time past permanent worldwide intelligence services, reporting directly to the highest echelons of their Government,” General William J. Donovan, the commander of the wartime Office of Strategic Services, warned President Truman in August 1945. “Prior to the present war, the United States had no foreign secret intelligence service. It never has had and does not now have a coordinated intelligence system.” Tragically, it still does not have one.

The CIA was supposed to become that system. But the blueprint for the agency was a hasty sketch. It was no cure for a chronic American weakness: secrecy and deception were not our strengths. The collapse of the British Empire left the United States as the sole force able to oppose Soviet communism, and America desperately needed to know those enemies, to provide foresight to presidents, and to fight fire with fire when called upon to light the fuse. The mission of the CIA, above all, was to keep the president forewarned against surprise attack, a second Pearl Harbor.

The agency’s ranks were filled with thousands of patriotic Americans in the 1950s. Many were brave and battle–hardened. Some had wisdom. Few really knew the enemy. Where understanding failed, presidents ordered the CIA to change the course of history through covert action. “The conduct of political and psychological warfare in peacetime was a new art,” wrote Gerald Miller, then the CIA’s covert–operations chief for Western Europe. “Some of the techniques were known but doctrine and experience were lacking.” The CIA’s covert operations were by and large blind stabs in the dark. The agency’s only course was to learn by doing—by making mistakes in battle. The CIA then concealed its failures abroad, lying to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. It told those lies to preserve its standing in Washington. The truth, said Don Gregg, a skilled cold-war station chief, was that the agency at the height of its powers had a great reputation and a terrible record.

Like the American public, the agency dissented at its peril during the Vietnam War. Like the American press, it discovered that its reporting was rejected if it did not fit the preconceptions of presidents. The CIA was rebuked and scorned by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter. None of them understood how the agency worked. They took office “with the expectation that intelligence could solve every problem, or that it could not do anything right, and then moved to the opposite view,” notes a former deputy director of central intelligence, Richard J. Kerr. “Then they settled down and vacillated from one extreme to the other.”

To survive as an institution in Washington, the agency above all had to have the president’s ear. But it soon learned that it was dangerous to tell him what he did not want to hear. The CIA’s analysts learned to march in lockstep, conforming to conventional wisdom. They misapprehended the intentions and capabilities of our enemies, miscalculated the strength of communism, and misjudged the threat of terrorism.

The supreme goal of the CIA during the cold war was to steal Soviet secrets by recruiting spies, but the CIA never possessed a single one who had deep insight into the workings of the Kremlin. The number of Soviet spies with important information to reveal–all of them volunteers, not recruits—could be counted on the fingers of two hands. And all of them died, captured and executed by Moscow. Almost all had been betrayed by officers of the CIA’s Soviet division who were spying for the other side, under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Under Reagan, the CIA set off on misconceived third–world missions, selling arms to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to finance a war in Central America, breaking the law and squandering what trust remained reposed in it. More grievously, it missed the fatal weakness of its main enemy.

It fell to machines, not men, to understand the other side. As the technology of espionage expanded its horizons, the CIA’s vision grew more and more myopic. Spy satellites enabled it to count Soviet weapons. They did not deliver the crucial information that communism was crumbling. The CIA’s foremost experts never saw the enemy until after the cold war was over. The agency had bled the Soviets by pouring billions of dollars of weapons into Afghanistan to help fight the Red Army’s occupying forces. That was an epic success. But it failed to see that the Islamic warriors it supported would soon take aim at the United States, and when that understanding came, the agency failed to act. That was an epochal failure.

The unity of purpose that held the CIA together during the cold war came undone in the 1990s, under President Clinton. The agency still had people who strove to understand the world, but their ranks were far too thin. There were still talented officers who dedicated themselves to serving the United States abroad, but their numbers were far too few. The FBI had more agents in New York than the CIA had officers abroad. By the end of the century, the agency was no longer a fully functioning and independent intelligence service. It was becoming a second–echelon field office for the Pentagon, weighing tactics for battles that never came, not strategies for the struggle ahead. It was powerless to prevent the second Pearl Harbor.

After the attacks on New York and Washington, the agency sent a small skilled cadre of covert operators into Afghanistan and Pakistan to hunt down the leaders of al Qaeda. It then forfeited its role as a reliable source of secret information when it handed the White House false reports on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It had delivered a ton of reportage based on an ounce of intelligence. President George W. Bush and his administration in turn misused the agency once proudly run by his father, turning it into a paramilitary police force abroad and a paralyzed bureaucracy at headquarters. Bush casually pronounced a political death sentence upon the CIA in 2004 when he said that the agency was “just guessing” about the course of the war in Iraq. No president had ever publicly dismissed the CIA that way.

Its centrality in the American government ended with the dissolution of the office of director of central intelligence in 2005. Now the CIA must be rebuilt if it is to survive. That task will take years. The challenge of understanding the world as it is has overwhelmed three generations of CIA officers. Few among the new generation have mastered the intricacies of foreign lands, much less the political culture of Washington. In turn, almost every president, almost every Congress, and almost every director of central intelligence since the 1960s has proved incapable of grasping the mechanics of the CIA. Most have left the agency in worse shape than they found it. Their failures have handed future generations, in the words of President Eisenhower, “a legacy of ashes.” We are back where we began sixty years ago, in a state of disarray.

Legacy of Ashes sets out to show how it has come to pass that the United States now lacks the intelligence it will need in the years ahead. It is drawn from the words, the ideas, and the deeds set forth in the files of the American national-security establishment. They record what our leaders really said, really wanted, and really did when they projected power abroad. This book is based on my reading of more than fifty thousand documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA, the White House, and the State Department; more than two thousand oral histories of American intelligence officers, soldiers, and diplomats; and more than three hundred interviews conducted since 1987 with CIA officers and veterans, including ten directors of central intelligence. Extensive endnotes amplify the text.

This book is on the record—no anonymous sources, no blind quotations, no hearsay. It is the first history of the CIA compiled entirely from firsthand reporting and primary documents. It is, by its nature, incomplete: no president, no director of central intelligence, and certainly no outsider can know everything about the agency. What I have written here is not the whole truth, but to the best of my ability, it is nothing but the truth.

I hope it may serve as a warning. No republic in history has lasted longer than three hundred years, and this nation may not long endure as a great power unless it finds the eyes to see things as they are in the world. That once was the mission of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Legacy of Ashes 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 80 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this book had been written by Jimmy Breslin, it would be, ¿The Gang that Couldn¿t Shoot Straight Part Deux.¿ Only this book was not written by Jimmy Breslin and the consequences to our prestige as a nation, respect in the world and national security are much more serious. However it is a very interesting read, at many times incredible in the audacity of some missions sometimes just shocking in the stupidity displayed by what are supposed to be our nation¿s best. Mr. Weiner lays out the history of the CIA from the very beginning until our very recent history. In the process through extensive interviews and research of declassified documents, he tells a very unnerving story of what our CIA is, what it was meant to be and what it thinks it is. It is a damning indictment of the agency, the various directors and many of the presidents in power during its existence. Towards the end of the book, he pretty clearly sums up what the book is about, ¿Nineteen men had served as director of central intelligence. Not one met the high Standards Eisenhower had set. The agency¿s founders had been defeated by their ignorance in Korea and Vietnam and undone by their arrogance in Washington. Their successors were set adrift when the Soviet Union died and caught unaware when terror struck at the heart of American power. Their attempts to make sense of the world had generated heat but little light. As it was in the beginning, the warriors of the pentagon and diplomats at State held them in disdain. For more than half a century, presidents had been frustrated or furious when they turned to the directors for insight and knowledge.¿ Well that is what the book is about but before you get to that point, there is history, poignant stories, incredible blunders, and one of the best actual spy stories ever written. A true opus. Politically, the book is straight down the middle. You will find out that neo-cons were attracted to the agency from the beginning are were wrong from the beginning. I guess we could have seen it coming. They claimed 500 Soviet Missiles aimed at the US when there were only 4 and that is just the beginning. A featured character is Mr. Paul Wolfowitz who has managed to fail upwards for many years now. On the other side of the spectrum, the book paints President Eisenhower as perhaps our sharpest president in this entire era. However the idea of some guy putting on his underwear in the morning is a little disturbing. In today¿s times it¿s hard to remember the red menace and how that colored their thinking of the time, but it is shocking to learn how right wing and secretive Robert Kennedy was. An icon of liberalism definitely not portrayed that way in this book. The entire account of the Bay of Pigs invasion very much syncs with other accounts I have read so I have no reason to doubt the Robert Kennedy reporting. Other presidents: LBJ is an insecure mess. RMN is a drunken hawk. GRF, though having served in the Senate Intelligence committee for many years was surprised to find out he knew nothing of what the CIA was doing. JEC is a nice man, but not entirely as innocent as most people thought. RWR is out of the loop entirely, with a dark side and a cast of incredible characters to carry out some of the most disastrous missions in the entire agency history. Bill Casey definitely is not portrayed in gushing terms as Valerie Plame described him in her book. WJC was not a hands-on manager when it came to intelligence and was distrusted by the CIA and all the military. GWB, the worst period, as much of a nightmare to the agency as the rest of the United States. He would be the one to eventually undo the CIA and turn into ashes. Nobody comes off unscathed. A fair, fascinating look into the annals of the CIA and our presidents policies and relationship with the agency. A must read.
B-2 More than 1 year ago
The book is a bird's eye view of the CIA's history, based on the documents declassified in the last decade. It is a very critical view - but not at all in line with Agency's Hollywood's image ( evil devious all-powerful ruthless world conspiracy). The Agency is criticised for it's mediocre performance, inefficiency, poor planning, carrierist mindset, neglect of reliable intelligence in favor of poorly conceived covert projects and , frankly, for bringing more harm than good to US interests ever since Pearl Harbor. If you ( like me) can't really name a single major CIA success during your lifetime, the book is an explanation. Of course, the author could be biased ( I wouldn't know), but even if only half of his facts are only correct, CIA is a hardly a spy service one would expect a mighty superpower to have. I grade the books as Buy and Keep (BK), Read Library book and Return ( RLR) and Once I Put it Down I Couldn't Pick it Up ( OIPD-ICPU). This one is BK .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having worked for the CIA and knowing the people he wrote aboout, I found this book to be quite good. Enjoyed it immensely.
Rollo_Moss More than 1 year ago
Weiner sets out to demonize the CIA, and by use of selective incidents and cherry-picking of history, "succeeds." Not a balanced account of an agency that, like all government agencies, is made up of flesh-and-blood humans capable of ingenuity and bravery and, capable, too, of short-sightedness and cowardice. But what do I know? I only spent 5 years in CIA.
BarristerND More than 1 year ago
This work is extraordinary in its breadth and scope. Weiner chronicles the CIA's history from its beginnings with Truman to present day. I was very surprised at some of the revelations about Eisenhower and the Kennedys. It is an image destroyer. No one is sacrosanct. The Agency's incompetence is clearly displayed, especially currently. You won't want to put it down although it will make you so angry you may want to throw it at a wall, occasionally. A must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wiener's overview of the CIA, at its best and worst, is amazing. A paramilitary organization enthralled by the sophisticated nature of the British spies, Dulles, Donovan, and others went on to find the Agency that has changed the world for better and for ill. At a time when intelligence is at a premium compared to what Rumsfeld says, the history highlights the Agency's brilliant successes--the defection of KGB agents, dismantaling of the AQ Khan network, overthrow of the Chile government and their spectacular failures--overestimating the Soviet's military strength, the numerous attempts on Castro's life, operations in Soviet Russia and Maoist China, and domestic spying. However, the Agency is still facing its own demise.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tim Weiner, an American journalist, has written a useful history of the US state¿s Central Intelligence Agency. It has been the president¿s private, secret and illegal army, it does what the president wants, so it is not `a rogue elephant¿, as the Church Committee called it. He shows that from its origin in 1947, the CIA has always been incompetent and incapable. In 1948 the CIA launched a scare about the Russians invading Berlin the next day Congress approved the Marshall Plan. A secret clause let the CIA skim $685 million from Plan funds, what Weiner calls `a global money-laundering scheme¿. In 1948 the CIA set up secret prisons in Germany, Japan and Panama, using torture and drugs on its captives. It carried out 81 major anti-democratic covert operations in Truman¿s second term, 170 in 48 countries under Eisenhower, and 163 in just three years under the liberals¿ hero Kennedy. Its efforts at gathering intelligence from 1948 (`World War Three starting in Berlin¿) to Iraq (`Weapons of Mass Destruction¿) have been consistently wrong. It always said that the Soviet Union was impervious to reason, impossible to reform and understood only force ¿ but this is projection, mirroring the CIA itself. It ran coups overthrowing elected governments and installing tyrants, for example in Iran, Guatemala, Congo, where Eisenhower ordered that Lumumba be `eliminated¿, Chile and Greece. Against Cuba it used biological and chemical weapons, assassination attempts hiring Mafia hit men and a botched invasion. The CIA funded Italy¿s neo-fascist terrorists in the 1970s. It illegally spied on the American people. The CIA lied to Congress, the people and presidents, for example, Weiner notes its director Allen Dulles¿ `practice of deceiving the president¿. To cover for the CIA, presidents lied to Congress and the people. Weiner remarks that the CIA¿s testimony to Congress ¿left the impression that the United States had hired a gang of conmen and thieves to run its foreign affairs.¿ It organised death squads in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and in Afghanistan and Iraq today. It carries out illegal renditions of innocent suspects to its secret prisons in Thailand, Poland, Afghanistan and Iraq. Could a democratic country use such a vicious tool?
jcvogan1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Using only publicly available sources the author covers the CIA from the post war period through 2006. The main thesis is that the CIA is incompetent and always has been. Argument is very persuasive that the early CIA was a disaster as it focused on paramilitary activities. Much less is discussed in the 70's and 80's, except major news stories, fall of the Shah etc..., and the role the CIA played in those events.
kainlane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting history with little bias, though I'm sure there was some there. A lot of dates and names to keep track of, but that is expected of a history book.
patienceltd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the book to read if you want a sweeping overview of the hubris, ignorance, and sheer destructiveness of American covert action since the inception of the CIA. The book suffers somewhat from the sheer volume of the material (which simultaneously hides some omissions and falsehoods) and a historical narrative structure, rather than an in-depth analysis of the organization. The author's does succeed in framing the CIA'S faults as a combination of personality culture, the problem of "dirty tricks" in a free society, internal tension between intelligence gathering vs. covert action, and unaccountability.Overall, it does a respectable job of providing the reader with a background on how the CIA both mid-wived and failed to foresee the September 11th attacks, and how it continues to fail in both its overt and covert goals.
enoerew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To summarize, an intelligence-gathering agency composed of civilians was formed following the end of World War II in order to inform the U.S. president of world events and threats, only to develop into a militarized and eventually privatized entity. One may feel a good deal of shame seeing the underbelly of one's country, but the truth must be known.
Richj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An important book. Lays out the role and (mostly) the failures of the CIA. If you want to know if Congress was lied to, this is the book to read (the answer is yes -- for decades) Written and edited well enough to make it worthwhile to read such a tome.
dickmanikowski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Exhaustive history of the Central Intelligence Agency, tracing its ups and downs and its few successes and many failures. The allegations of political interference by virtually every presidential administration are highly disturbing, as are the tales of field agents running their own covert operations without the knowledge of the director.It's a depressing story which ends without much hope
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very readable, single volume history of the CIA which proports to be based exclusively on available sources. Obviously one cannot undertake a task of this magnitude on this topic without having people come out with a number of large and small quibbles. The best and most fair (and thorough) description of the quibbles that I have read is on the CIA website itself. Nothing that I have seen, however, convinces me that it not worth reading this excellent book.There are two big weaknesses in the history. The first is that the information almost exclusively covers clausdine services with only minimal information given on fact finding, especialy the role of improved technology on fact finding. The second weakness is that the CIA failures (most emphasized by the author) and successes are not put in context of agencies with similar mandates in other countries. Were other countries predicting what the US was not?
wfzimmerman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just received the review copy of this book. My first reaction is that it is a must for anyone who reads books about intelligence -- it is the first single-volume history of the CIA's entire lifetime written completely from original sources and without using classifed or unattributed data. (For which the author deserves maximum kudos!)That being said, I am not entirely satisfied with the book -- I have a nagging feeling that it's written at the wrong level of resolution. By which I mean it is focused on providing narrative accounts of the activities of a relatively few high-level managers and Washington bureaucrats, rather than providing a detailed operational assessment of the CIA's effectiveness. The author is clearly aware that such assessments exist -- he draws on them extensively in early chapters, for example in the discussion of the suicidal (and rather provocative from today's perspective!) missions to paradrop hundreds if not thousands agents into the Soviet Union, China, and Korea during the 1950s. I found myself hungering for some synthesis tables -- a list, perhaps, of publicly documented CIA projects in the 50s and 60s, and their outcomes. In essence, I am wishing that this book was written by a worldly academic rather than a journalist. This is an "inside the Beltway" Woodward-style story, rather than an operational history. I can't blame the author for this choice, since in all likelihood the audience for a Woodward-style book is at least 10x the audience for an operational history, but it does mean that the book has a hard time living up to its advance billing as a complete history of the CIA.More later, as I read on.
jonmodene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hmmm.The entire modern history of the CIA is shown to be a bitter brew of failure and hubris.Hard to believe.Yet Tim Weiner spins a believable and detailed story.Whoever is the next President should read this and then issue an Executive Order to shut the whole slime pit down that same day.Start over and hire some talented and proven people to run the next one. A great read.
dlovins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
60 years of CIA history as largely an exercise in futility and failure, per NYT correspondent Tim Weiner. To be fair, though, it seems hard to avoid paralysis given the paradoxical nature of its mission. John Hamre, former deputy secretary of defense and president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington says: "It is an organization that thrives through deception. How do you manage an organization like that?" Weiner amplifies this point: "How do you run a secret intelligence service in an open democracy? How do you serve the truth by lying? How do you spread democracy by deceit?" (p. 501)Persistent problems include overemphasis of covert ops at expense of strategic intelligence gathering, chronic shortage of qualified agents with necessary language and diplomatic skills, and of course politicization of intelligence.Weiner issues a sober warning (p. xvii): "No republic in history has lasted longer than three hundred years, and this nation may not long endure as a great power unless it finds the eyes to see things as they are in the world. That once was the mission of the Central Intelligence Agency."
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The New York Times Sunday Book Review of 7/22/07 described Tim Weiner¿s history of the CIA as ¿a litany of failure¿ but I¿m not sure I agree that this was the only message of the book. Certainly there are many descriptions of intelligence failures, from not foreseeing the explosion of the Soviet atomic bomb to ignoring the warnings that ended in the destruction of the World Trade Centers. But the CIA engaged in a lot of more ¿successful¿ activities as well, most notably, contributing to the toppling of foreign unwanted regimes. (And it should be noted ¿unwanted¿ means by the U.S. rather than the citizens of the country in question.) In fact, when CIA operatives decided a ruler needed to be deposed, the U.S. President was often the last to know. During the Eisenhower regime, the Dulles brothers for example (one verifiably crazy and the other arguably crazy) largely took matters into their own hands in getting rid of Mossadegh in Iran (we¿re still suffering the blowback from that one) and Arbenz in Guatemala. In each case, the threat of Communism was used as an excuse, but greed for natural resources seemed to be the actual reason for fomenting unrest, economic deprivation, murders, and misery. (Mossadegh reportedly abhorred Communism, but committed the grave sin of wanting a larger (and more equitable) share of his country¿s oil profits from the British, who owned the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In the case of Arbenz, when no evidence could be found of Communist influence, our Ambassador told the Dulles brothers that ¿If he is not a Communist, he will certainly do until one comes along.¿) The book begins with the establishment of the OSS in 1942 and takes us up to the beginning of 2007. Since Weiner is drawing almost exclusively from documents and interviews from former CIA members and Congressional committee inquiries, his history isn¿t as hard-hitting as it might have been. Details about drug-running, assassinations, regime undermining, torture and dirty tricks really get pretty short shrift, even though they have formed the core of the CIA¿s field activities since its formation. As a rule, though, the farther back in history he goes, the more information he has. (In some instances, however, such as the CIA¿s LSD experiments, he admits that most documentation was destroyed. Similarly, regarding the Bay of Pigs and Kennedy¿s assassination (which followed, apparently, many attempts by the ¿ferret-like¿ Bobby Kennedy to assassinate Castro), most witnesses are dead and left no written testimony behind.) As Weiner moves into more recent times, his coverage gets scantier. Nixon and Kissinger should have had the same very extensive coverage as John and Bobby Kennedy; certainly the former caused even more heartache in Central America than the latter (though not for want of trying). Our involvement in Afghanistan (detailed extensively in other books such as ¿Charlie Wilson¿s War¿) gets virtually no coverage whatsoever by Weiner. And what about the whole Valerie Plame scandal? Not a word. And perhaps the most glaring omission of all: no more than a fleeting reference to the FBI and its relationship to the CIA and role in the same operations.Nevertheless, this book is a good start for exploring the background of the CIA: who the major players have been, what the interaction has been like with the other government agencies, and what role we have played in the seemingly ¿internal¿ affairs of other nations. The book is interesting, and maddening ¿one listens incredulously to the grim and endless recital of our sins and omissions abroad and our failure, even today, to learn from them. Still, this book has its own omissions, and thus is only a first step to understanding the place of the U.S. in today¿s world.(JAF)
MaryriverMcLeod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I waited years for this book! Always wanted to know if my gut was right about what was really going on - sadly it was. Every American should read this and one of the questions we should ask the canidates for pres is "What are you going to do about the CIA?" It really is an important topic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If even half of what this book says is remotely true we have been misled and lied to by our country’s leaders about national security issues and events that should have been critical to our safety and conduct of world affairs. And I am certain from the amount of research that Tim Weiner has done and cited that it is a factual and accurate recitation of those facts. This is a “must” read for anyone who cares about our history and security.
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