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Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA Hardcover – March 11, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Enthralling account of one of America's most accomplished spy masters. . . . One of the more provocative titles in Kennedy-assassination studies." -- Wall Street Journal

From the Back Cover

"Every decade or so, a talented writer provides a genuinely new glimpse into the CIA's shadowy history. Morley's account of legendary spymaster Winston Scott chronicles a life led in secret, stretching from the agency's founding through Scott's tenure as station chief in Mexico City. Morley tells this story with literary energy and an eye for the dark moments when intelligence stops making sense."--Thomas Powers, author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA

"Here is a rare thing, a biography of a C.I.A. chief that neither dodges shameful truths nor throws gratuitous mud. Packed, to boot, with genuine revelations about the crime of the century--the assassination of President Kennedy. A tour-de-force!"--Anthony Summers, author of Not in Your Lifetime

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700615717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700615711
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Boyce Hart on February 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A critical question makes the Kennedy Assassination perhaps more relevant to today than ever:to what extent is the nominal leader, the President, really in control of the permanent military, political, and communications bureacracies that shape his options? In 1961, when Kennedy became president, key components of this permannent bureacracy were thirteen years old. As a parent with a teenager there were moments of tension when one can wonder who or what called the shots. This was uniquely the case in 1960, as for eight years-- the truly formative ones in the developement of the entire post-war US society-- the CIA had been given extreme lattitude. Kennedy's relations with the permanet political and military bureacracy can serve as basis of comparison for how matters of war and peace are decided today, when blame-game controversies sometimes seem mere PR strategies for plausible denial 10.0

Jefferson Morleys book leaves little doubt that no matter what our betters tell us, the CIA was to a very significant degree doing its own things in 1963. The reason this emerges far more clearly than in other books, is that Morley's never allows the ocean of detail to alter his camera agle. It is not a totalizing focus like some other books that mistake thickness for ambition. Rather, it sticks to the Mexico City CIA station, its chief Winston Scott, and his close World War Two friend and possibly his own privatest Idohaon-- the only one weirder than fellow poet and contemporary Ezra Pound-- James Jesus Angleton.

Morley is carefull. When your asking about unauthorized actions of the CIA people who normally talk freely in the New Yorker have a way of clamming up. It is hard to find sources in the middle ground, for example on the question of who knew what when about the Bay of Pigs.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Christian Toussay on May 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
...peeling off layer after layer, we (well, those who still care, but I understand there are quite numerous around the world...) can now forty five years after the facts have a much better, much clearer understanding of what took place in Dallas.

The review above says it all. The book is on one level, the personnal history of the search of a son (adopted, it turns out..) for his mysterious, elusive father.

The fact that the father in question happenned to be Win Scot, head of the CIA Mexico station in the Sixties (the biggest CIA operation targeted at Soviet and Cuban interest outside the US) when Oswald, according to the official story, popped up there and started making himself noticed just a few weeks before Dallas, transforms what would be a mere personnal quest into something of historical importance.

Author Morley is known, appropriately, for his groundbreaking work bringing to light most notably the very strange story of George Joannides' s dealing with the DRE. Morley's work definitely showed how the CIA, deceptively, put Joannides in charge of contacts with the HSCA regarding Cuban matters, without ever mentioning his previous responsabilities as Focal Officer for the DRE during the latter part of November 63...

Students of JFK's assassination may remember that the DRE was very heavily involved in the early attempts to paint Oswald as a Communist Pro-Castro assassin, participating in a conspiracy.

Joannides's field reports on the DRE activities for the relevant period are still missing, and are the subject of a FOIA lawsuit by Morley....
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Martha Hanchulak on August 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a former longtime employee of CIA, I can attest that this book conveys a true picture of the goings on within the agency. The story focuses on the life of Win Scott, who rose to become station chief in Mexico City for many years. Meticulously researched and documented, the book relates how the "company" evolved from wartime OSS in London. We learn about some key operations in postwar Europe and in Central America, and about how counter-intelligence works.
Building his story by telling exactly who did what and when, this author has achieved an authentic history of the period through the assassination of President Kennedy and afterward. The CIA's contacts with Oswald in the weeks before the shooting in Dallas,
and the subsequent stonewalling, withholding and even destruction of information are all spelled out so the reader is aware of what pieces of history are still hidden.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Karen Kent on February 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This author contacted a family member (of mine) for info on the family member's possible role in CIA activities in Mexico in preparation for this book. I appreciate the author's integrity. This is an excellent book, providing a unique perspective in the ongoing search for the truth regarding JFK's assassination. I highly recommend this book. Way to go, Mr. Morley.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jane Augustine on May 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This very well-documented book tells you in precise and unnerving detail how C.I.A.operatives work and what they knew about Oswald in Mexico before the Kennedy assassination -- a lot more than you knew befoe. It is particularly convincing because it's personal, the real story of a man who lived his life inside that system of power, accountable to no one. It's a page-turner with unrecognized spies (everyone?), double agents, stolen loves, a son wants to know his father, a loyal secretary, a dangerous wedding, enough destroyed documents to make you weep and an ending that sets up for a sequel we hope can come from further investigation by this diligent author. Highly recommended for everyone, not just specialists, but there is plenty here for them as well.
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