Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has been a byword for everything that is sinister and ruthless about America's projection of power during the Cold War and with the 'war on terror'. There have been few major political events around the world in which the hidden hand of the Agency has not been seen. In countless movies and books, the CIA has ...
Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has been a byword for everything that is sinister and ruthless about America's projection of power during the Cold War and with the 'war on terror'. There have been few major political events around the world in which the hidden hand of the Agency has not been seen. In countless movies and books, the CIA has been shown as decisive, brilliant and in control of its own secret world: the image of omnipotence. But this is an illusion. In reality, the CIA has been incompetent, naive, chaotic, and a danger to American interests for sixty years."Legacy of Ashes" is both a horrifying and a richly enjoyable book. Tim Weiner's immense research reveals a startlingly consistent level of failure. The general dismay at the CIA's failure to see the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, the invasion of Kuwait, the events of 9/11, its wholly false assessment of Saddam's WMD and its role in the 'rendition' of innocent suspects implies that it has fallen from some bygone golden age. "Legacy of Ashes" makes clear that the CIA has always been a blundering, ruinously incapable organization, with each decade providing its own low points. "Legacy of Ashes" is as gripping and powerful a narrative as its fictional movie counterparts, but the story it has to tell is a lot less comforting.
New. xvii, 702 p.,  p. of plates: ill.; 25 cm. Hardcover and dust jacket. Good binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2007. Contents: Author's note--pt. 1. In the beginning, we knew nothing: the CIA under Truman, 1945-1953--1. Intelligence must be global and totalitarian--2. The logic of force--3. Fight fire with fire--4. The most secret thing--5. A rich blind man--6. They were suicide missions--7. A vast field of illusion--2. A strange kind of genius: the CIA under Eisenhower, 1953 to 1961--8. We have no plan--9. CIA's greatest single triumph--10. Bomb repeat bomb--11. And then we'll have a storm--12. We ran it in a different way--13. Wishful blindness--14. Ham-handed operations of all kinds--15. A very strange war--16. He was lying down and he was lying up. pt. 3. Lost causes: the CIA under Kennedy and Johnson, 1961 to 1968--17. Nobody knew what to do--18. We had also fooled ourselves--19. We'd be delighted to trade those missiles--20. Hey, boss, we did a good job, didn't we? --21. I thought it was a conspiracy--22. An ominous drift--23. More courage than wisdom--24. The beginning of a long slide downwards--25. We knew then that we could not win the war--26. A political H-bomb--27. Track down the foreign communists--pt. 4. Get rid of the clowns: the CIA under Nixon and Ford, 1968 to 1977--28. What the hell do those clowns do out there in Langley? --29. USG wants a military solution--30. We are going to catch a lot of hell--31. To change the concept of a secret service--32. A classic fascist ideal--33. The CIA would be destroyed--34. Saigon signing off--35. Ineffective and scared--pt. 5. Victory without joy: the CIA under Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, 1977 to 1993--36. He sought to overthrow their system--37. We were just plain asleep--38. A free-lance buccaneer--39. In a dangerous way--40. He was running a great risk--41. A con man's con man--42. To think the unthinkable--43. What are we going to do when the wall comes down? pt. 6. The reckoning: the CIA under Clinton and George W. Bush, 1993 to 2007--44. We had no facts--45. Why in the world didn't we know? --46. We're in trouble--47. The threat could not be more real--48. The dark side--49. A grave mistake--50. The burial ceremony--Acknowledgments--Notes--Index.
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-09-24 Pulitzer Prize-winner Weiner combed through the history books and recently declassified records to offer up this fascinating, comprehensive and sometimes appalling history of the Central Intelligence Agency. Weiner documents everything from the agency's formation in the aftermath of WWII to its failure to prevent the events of September 11, 2001, and every misstep, blunder and international incident in between. For an important book like this one, it's important for an audiobook narrator to have a certain gravitas, and Rudnicki has plenty. His deep, resonant voice keeps the listener riveted and is ideally suited to the serious, historical-and often grim-subject matter. Rudnicki occasionally uses accents to add flavor to the text when reading quotations, but for the most part wisely eschews this practice and simply brings Weiner's words to life. Rudnicki is one of the best narrators in the business, and he's in top form here-Legacy of Ashes is one of the best audiobooks of the year. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, June 4). (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-06-04 Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy. (Aug. 7) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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