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Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment Paperback – January 17, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Revealing and engagingly written. . . . A book with the qualities of an adventure story.”
The New York Review of Books
 
“Ambrose is a superb historian.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“Historians and public alike should be profoundly grateful to Ambrose.”
Chicago Tribune
 
“Ambrose brought American history to life with intelligence and care.”
The Tampa Tribune

About the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose wrote twenty books on military affairs and foreign policy. Early in his career he was an associate editor of The Eisenhower Papers, and he later went on to publish the definitive, three-part biography of Eisenhower, as well as many bestselling books of military history, including Band of Brothers and Undaunted Courage. He died in 2002.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307946606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307946607
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#28 in Books > History
#28 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Calif Seal on May 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book describes the actions in the European theater during WWII and then the formation of the CIA and how it was initially used. This includes great details of the British breaking the Enigma machine code and how it was used, the incredibly successful deception in support of the Normandy invasion and the post war activities of the CIA including Iran, and the Bay of Pigs. It is a must read for any WWII buff and to understand Ike's presidency.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Smith on March 27, 2014
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Cannot read anything by Stephen Ambrose and not see the picture he paints with words. This snapshot of history and its subject are a well treated and resourced work. Almost read like a novel. Intriguing beginning and the suspense grows from there. Early blueprint of the beginnings and early maturity of the intelligence community. Excellent book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin B. Bone on July 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Ambrose does an excellent job showing objectivity in what for him is a very personal relationship. His access to Ike allows him to tell stories that we wouldn't get from another source. He doesn't really try to make excuses where things soured, nor does he give undue credit for successes always quoting Eisenhower's "We..." statements. Eisenhower always knew he was part of a team.

It's interesting insight into things that we still yell and scream passionately about today: who started Vietnam, who is responsible for Bay of Pigs, what happened in Iran, U2 flights over the USSR and more

It's time well spent.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on March 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've never been a big fan of Stephen Ambrose. I have always found his historical writing to be a bit fad-driven, so that when he published "Crazy Horse and Custer" he recounted to you the toilet training methodology used by American Indians and White Americans at the time, because that was the pop psychology trend of the era. Later, when "oral history" became a staple of military history, Ambrose jumped right on the bandwagon and followed along, producing "June 6, 1944" and "Citizen Soldiers" about 2 decades after Cornelius Ryan and John Toland had popularized the genre. He had a bunch of controversies later in life, getting tangled up in a plagarims controversy, publishing a book on the transcontinental railroad which reportedly reads as if it clearly was written by someone who knows nothing about trains, and making claims about his access to President Eisenhower, when the latter was in retirement, which are obviously provably false. Funny thing is, all of the aboe doesn't quite completely obscure the fact that before he got big, he actually was a pretty good historian, and this current book (written in 1981) is a good example of the reasonably intelligent work he did.

The book consists of two parts, bridged by a sort of interlude. The first portion covers Eisenhower's relationship with the intelligence community during World War II. The author has an interesting perspective in all of this, and presents it in an intelligent fashion. One fascinating thing he brings out is that SHAEF's chief of intelligence, Kenneth Strong, doesn't get enough credit in the history books. Gen. Strong was a Brit, but he wasn't hidebound or devoted to one point of view.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maveric on April 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Found the WWII phase a little tedious yet can appreciate the need to build a foundation. However, I began skipping around in the book to "cherry pick" segments of interest. Ambrose does a good job of painting a picture of Ike that differes from the general public perception. We see Ike the strategist as well as Ike the tactitian at work. It was also interesting to see how the momentum built leading to the "Bay of Pigs" and how much is lost in transition from one administration to another...it seems that had Ike and JFK communicated throughly the BoP would never have happened.

Overall, Ambrose left me convinced that the spy game has become more about egoes and politics. Where it once was an integral tool to help seal the victory in WWII. The goals were clear and the organization(s) were aligned to achieve a common goal of victroy over the Nazi's. Today the goals are less clear and the efforts are much more political and ego driven. The relative agencies are growing through the need to meet sub-optimized internal objectives. A dangerous war time tool that is in search of a purpose....That is a frightening scenario.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Earl on April 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Now, due to the Allowance of libraries to be opened with historical documents From the Eisenhower era, Much can be seen regarding Dwight D Eisenhower and his historical presence. However this book provides true insight into the man, how he interacted with his peers,made decisions and built bridges among men.

The author includes a unique anecdote about Ike and Churchill...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Bennett III on February 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good read and one of Ambrose's great contributions to history and biography. Most of us have not had the chance to read the history of the time this part of President Eisenhower life covered. It places into context the beginning of where we are today. This is a must read.
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Format: Paperback
Ambrose is an expert on Eisenhower, a fact which is quite apparent in Ike’s Spies, a heavily researched, fascinating book about the beginnings of the CIA. A very good read, the volume is a good representation of the quality of Ambrose’s writing and story-telling. Though the author is favorably disposed toward Eisenhower, he does not sugar-coat Ike’s miss-steps, nor those of his agents.

The book begins with Churchill informing Eisenhower of the ULTRA secret in 1942, and then moves into the gradual development of an Allied spy network in North Africa, whose purpose was both to keep an eye on the Germans and their troop strength and dispositions, and to enlist the allegiance of the French for the coming Allied invasion.

Ambrose carries the reader through TORCH, then the Italy campaign, then OVERLORD. After working his way through the rest of the European theater of the war, Ambrose unfolds the founding of what would become the CIA, and traces America’s spying, assassination plots, and efforts to overthrow foreign governments right through the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Two things I am taking away from having read this book are (1) the messiness of the spy business, generally, and (2) the fact that America has intruded, at times, into matters of other sovereign nations in ways that are hard to justify. Having admitted that, however, it’s all-to-easy for a civilian reader, fifty years removed, to pass judgment and play armchair quarterback of an era when a violent and repressive communism was sweeping the world, and the reader has neither the full data nor the crushing responsibility to act upon it. Ike’s Spies is an eye-opener into a world most of us will never have to deal with.
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