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The historical events of that crucial period are well known to most of us. The end of World War II and the division of Germany into sectors by the Allies laid the groundwork for the Cold War and the rise of the OSS, a wartime branch of the American government, into one of the most powerful tools of intelligence.
The involvement of that agency in the defection of Burgess and MacLean from Britain to the Soviet Union; the Suez Canal crisis, which ended Britain's role as a superpower; the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis; the arming of rebels in Afghanistan to repel the encroaching Soviet forces; the Gulf War--all are well documented here.
All these events, which had such major consequences for our own history and that of the world, were well known to, organized by, or played out with the full cooperation of the CIA. These, as well as such minor events as defections on both sides, are the backdrop to this novel which stars a large cast of characters who we get to know as young men and women recruited while still in college. Their personal and public lives are followed as they rise through the ranks of the Company, and we know that one of them is a mole. We don't know who it is any more than the CIA does, and it will take years to unmask the traitor.
In the meantime, we have become involved not only with Littell's fictional characters, but also with some of the real people who inhabited that world: William F. Buckley Jr., G. Gordon Liddy, William Casey--and we are privy to conversations in both the Kennedy and Reagan Oval Offices.
We also know by the end of this exciting story that the fight is not always the good fight. Compromises are made, mistakes happen, and pragmatism wins out over idealism. We do not live in a perfect world, but it's the only one we have and it is that way because of the events in this book. Don't let its size deter you. This is nothing less than a stunning historical document. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
My third read or fourth and the book is a a fresh as the first time I read it. Absolutely the best novel of the Cold War. EverPublished 11 days ago by Moviemike
Great read. Excellent writer that created a very authentic, exciting spy novel. This is my second read and it is even more interesting and suspensval.Published 14 days ago by Jay Michael Duncan
Gripping story outlining the development of the C.I.A. from it's inception until the mid 90's. Some memorable characters and surprises. Read morePublished 22 days ago by ST
One of the best books I've read this year. I was on a Cold War kick and a friend recommended "The Company. Read morePublished 25 days ago by D.R. Usual
Great book. I have read it numerous times. I wish there was a sequel. FantasticPublished 1 month ago by RANDALL M AMBURN
Great read, difficult to put down. His characters are real and the storytelling is compelling.Published 1 month ago by Linda Baustian
Certainly a page turner. But it's basically a whitewash of the extreme right influences in the CIA. It clearly supports the idea of the US going around bumping off leaders it... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pat
This is a great read, well worth your time. Anyone even mildly interested in the Cold War era and the espionage that went on between the two super powers during this period will... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Eddie