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Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA Hardcover – May 15, 1978


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 15, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671228757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671228750
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yaakov (James) Mosher on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Former Central Intelligence Agency Director William Colby doesn't tell all and that's to his credit. This shows that he's one of the "Honorable Men" covered in the book's title.
By the way, the phrase "Honorable Men" comes from Colby colleague and CIA Director Richard Helms, who heroically kept the agency from politicization during Watergate at the cost of his job. Colby's trajectory as director was similar to that of Helms although what Colby ended up as a burnt offering to was the concept of openness. Following the social earthquakes of Vietnam and Watergate, CIA could not continue as the plaything of the American president, Colby boldly asserted. It had to become embedded in the court of public opinion. It was this difficult job of adjusting CIA to what the great David Hume called in another context the "new plan of liberty" that was Colby's greatest contribution and is the passion infusing this book.
It's impossible to miss this concept. It's all through Colby's wonderful prologue - "End of a Career" - and it's prominent on the final page when the director is sketching the internationalization of U.S. intelligence for the future. The Colby safety-in-numbers doctrine is best summed up in his comment to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev - "The more we know about each other the safer we will all be." (p. 470, original hardcover edition).
The only regret one will have today in reading "Honorable Men" is judging applicability of some of its prescriptions to the post 9/11 world. Colby notes (p. 230) that torture produces bad intelligence - something that the W. Bush and Obama administrations don't care to acknowledge. There are challenges presented by the expansion of government in this country that have international implications. Colby mentions the danger of cartels on page 461.
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By dtheta/dr on May 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the main sources for the current book (2013) "Shadow Warrior". This one ends with the Ford Administration. I read it just before reading "Passionate Nation" a history of Texas. The same sorts of political distance is involved. Just knowing that Colby began in the 101st Airborne is relevant now when his recreation in London is boasted about.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mervyn O. Hagger on November 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a carefully crafted account of Colby's experiences which pretends to be open and frank, but it jumps around enough to allow him to skip over the fine print where the problems are. Its okay because I am retaining the book in order to balance out declassified information that has been released and which not only fills in the gaps, but it allows me to see how this man handles his concept of protecting not just the USA, but the rights of individuals. I had the chance to meet Colby after he retired and I had the chance to put a question to him which he chose not to answer. His stature was quite amazing because he seemed so irrelevant, yet I also met with one of the guys who served with him during the secret wars in South East Asia, and I was assured there were a lot of Vets who would like to kill him. Then Colby drowned in his own back yard on a nice day.
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