A sprawling chronicle that details how a clutch of Ivy- educated Wall Street attorneys and their associates--the ``Old Boy network''--created the Central Intelligence Agency and influenced the formative decades of the cold war. Hersh (The Mellon Family, 1978, etc.) has performed a prodigious job of research, conducting more than 100 interviews and burrowing through mounds of archives and declassified documents. His narrative runs from the 1919 Versailles conference, where the young Dulles brothers observed uncle Robert Lansing, Woodrow Wilson's secretary of state, to the Bay of Pigs operation and the frustrating retirement years of its principals. Six men occupy the foreground here: sanctimonious John Foster Dulles and his hedonistic younger brother Allen, who before their heyday as Eisenhower cold warriors were well-heeled corporate lawyers who ran interference for German firms instrumental in the Nazis' prewar rearmament; legendary OSS chief ``Wild Bill'' Donovan; Frank Wisner, ultimately CIA operations chief; New Deal diplomat William C. Bullitt; and Carmel Offie, the dandyish assistant to Bullitt and Wisner and a master of diplomatic sleight-of-hand. Hersh hopes to show how these latter-day Wilsonian ``global salvationists,'' aching to roll back the Communist menace, forged an intelligence apparatus intoxicated with the black arts of covert activities- -loosely supervised, often amateurish, sometimes harebrained. He sheds light on the frantic wartime operations of Allen Dulles and Wisner in Europe, as well as on how much the Americans benefited from the bulging Soviet files of ex-Nazi intelligence chief Reinhard Gehlen. Yet time and again, Hersh projects his insouciance until it begins to grate (e.g., George Kennan was a ``brilliant, mavericky, neurasthenic cheese-parer''). Dulles & Co. deserve a more straightforward treatment than this arch account that bites off more than it can chew. (Eight-page b&w photo insert--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"...skillfully captures what is probably the most important conclusion to draw about Donovan, Dulles, and Wisner..." -- New York Times Book Review, 1992<br /><br />"...thoughtful portrait of the CIA as an often amateurish, usually misguided bureaucracy...most revealing." -- Baltimore City Paper, 1992<br /><br />"Burton Hersh has brought to life the dark and secret world of American intelligence in its formative years." -- Daniel Schorr, NPR political analyst<br /><br />"...skillfully captures what is probably the most important conclusion to draw about Donovan, Dulles, and Wisner..." -- New York Times Book Review, 1992<br /><br />"...thoughtful portrait of the CIA as an often amateurish, usually misguided bureaucracy...most revealing." -- Baltimore City Paper, 1992<br /><br />"Burton Hersh has brought to life the dark and secret world of American intelligence in its formative years." --Daniel Schorr, NPR political analystSee all Editorial Reviews
I am a student of the Dulles brothers and CIA and there is much well documented in this book that other books on this topic do not cover. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Brad Rockwell
I stopped reading in the middle of the WWII chapters. This guy got every name in Germany, and I mean every single name wrong. Read morePublished 8 months ago by evaclaudia
Meh...Was this written by an adoring fan? No dates. Just a rambling mess. My head still hurts from the memory of reading this POS. Hey what do I know? Who am I? No one. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Will Sync
While Burton Hersh's work does contain some interesting facts, as a history it is little more than the author's opinions. Read morePublished on April 16, 2007 by C. W.
This work by Mr. Hersh is a mind boggeling attempt at history. Unfortunately, I think the reader should do some follow up research. Read morePublished on November 29, 2006 by William A. Darst
The trouble with Burton Hersh is that he never bothered to read what he wrote. If he had he'd have realized that it is uncomprehensible. Read morePublished on July 1, 2002 by Sheridan Peterson