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Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Paperback – May 20, 2008
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History To Repeat & Some To Not
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More About the Author
His new book, ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, was hailed as "[an] eye-opening study of Richard Nixon's booze-soaked, paranoid White House years and the endless tragedies they wrought" by Kirkus Reviews prior to publication. "It speaks volumes about Nixon that there is still more to learn about him, 40-plus years after Watergate. It speaks further volumes that what we are learning is even worse than what we knew."
Publisher's Weekly said ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD is a "devastating account of Nixon's presidency, drawing on documents declassified in the last seven years.... Chilling excerpts from tape recordings that have only recently been made accessible include cold-blooded exchanges between Nixon and [Henry] Kissinger in which the two debate the merits of committing war crimes in order to win in Vietnam. This is powerful raw material, but Weiner's brilliant turns of phrase transform it into something extraordinary."
His previous books include ENEMIES, a history of the FBI acclaimed as "fascinating" by The Wall Street Journal. LEGACY OF ASHES, his chronicle of the CIA, won the 2007 National Book Award; it was a bestseller across the United States and around the world. He has lectured at the CIA, universities, political think tanks, and Presidential libraries. He directs the Carey Institute's nonfiction residency program in upstate New York and teaches as the 2015 Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies at Princeton.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is a case in point. Although ostensibly about CIA as an institution, the book really focuses on DO and its alleged failures. This fascination with the DO by journalists, Presidents, and CIA Directors has allowed the analytic arm of CIA to atrophy from almost the very first. Yet the many failures and embarrassments that Weiner has chosen to chronicle in this book are as much the fault of DI as DO.
Now this book is essentially a massive and well written critique of CIA and especially the DO. For the most part it is pretty accurate, but as CIA has pointed out in a rather pitiful rebuttal of the book, it is not entirely fair and balanced. For example, in 1998 India exploded a nuclear weapon to the utter surprise and amazement of the entire U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).Read more ›
The two - sides of Intelligence work, the gathering of information, and the undertaking of covert operations are generously surveyed in this work. Weiner a long- time reporter for the NY Times devoted twenty- years to this book, and in the course of it read through fifty- thousand declassified CIA Intelligence documents. He also interviewed ten former directors of the CIA.
He points out errors made all along the way. Frank Wisner at the beginning ignored 'intelligence gathering' and sent during the Korean War thousands of hired agents to suicidal behind- the- enemy- lines operations. In the Bay of Pigs fiasco and in numerous other operations the CIA instead of providing hard, truthful contradictory analysis essentially worked to politically support a prior decision of the Executive branch. Speaking 'truth to power' has not been its essential strong point.Read more ›
In the Second World War and the period immediately thereafter, having been forced out of a self-imposed hiatus from dealing with the rest of the world, the United States had come face-to-face with totalitarianisms and the unparalleled carnage they had wrought. We learned of the Nazi death camps, the victims of communism in countries that were grist for the Soviet mill and, as time went on, untold millions who died for Mao's Marxist experiments in China. It should be no surprise that those who witnessed the slaughter and destruction that followed what appeared to be a triumphant march of ideology would be able to justify extreme measures to slow it down. This central reality gave rise to dramatic changes in the U.S. military including the build-up of a nuclear arsenal, the Marshall plan, communist "witch hunts", the space program, and the CIA. In short, the world was a very different and much more dangerous place than we had imagined, the U.S. was the only major western nation left intact, and we were struggling to find effective ways to deal with existential threats.
Unfortunately, very little of this context is provided in Legacy of Ashes. Too often we are left with nothing but the operational details of failed efforts to accomplish - what? The CIA and/or the White House wanted to overthrow Guatemala and Iran or assassinate Castro because personalities were enamored of covert operations?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
HIGHLY recommended reading. It confounds. It explains the origins of global strife taking place today. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Patrick M.
Pretty interesting spin on the Spy v. Spy industry. LEGACY OF ASHES is particularly insightful in its front half, detailing much of the early formation of the CIA in the aftermath... Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. A. Cartwright
All you need to know about this book is that the CIA actually had to respond in a pathetic essay. Good for a laugh, talk about a stamp of approval. Get this book!Published 1 month ago by N. Stevens
Very well researched. Filled with details that explain every instance of illegal activity and outright ignorance of the law of the US by the CIA during its' entire history. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paul B.
A distorted and strangely negative account of all phases of the formation and activities of the CIA. Read morePublished 2 months ago by SD33 - Georgia
Excellent information, Told in a straightforward way. His writing is excellent.Published 3 months ago by Rochelle Cleaver