Buy Used
$4.00
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA Paperback – December 10, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0684825380 ISBN-10: 0684825384

Used
Price: $4.00
15 New from $9.88 56 Used from $0.01
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.88 $0.01
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (December 10, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684825384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825380
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A social history of the Cold War careers of four prominent CIA agents.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This excellent addition to material on the early years of the CIA covers the heyday of the Cold War, from the middle 1940s to the middle 1960s. The book focuses on the careers of four operatives: Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes, and Desmond FitzGerald, all of whom helped guide the covert actions and growth of the CIA. Bissell was best known owing to his involvement in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, but Wisner, as the early director of covert operations, was the key figure in the agency's early history. All four appear to have been more interested in the big operation, which could go spectacularly wrong, than in the slow process of intelligence gathering. Much of this same material is covered in Burton Hersh's more critical The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA (LJ 2/15/92). The author, a managing editor at Newsweek, also co-wrote The Wise Men (LJ 10/15/86), which was similar in approach. Recommended for espionage collections of public and academic libraries.?Daniel K. Blewett, Loyola Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Evan Thomas is one of the most respected historians and journalists writing today. He is the bestselling author of six works of nonfiction: Sea of Thunder, John Paul Jones, Robert Kennedy, The Very Best Men, The Man to See, and The Wise Men. Evan Thomas was made editor at large of Newsweek in September 2006 and is the magazine's lead writer on major news events and the author of more than a hundred cover stories.
Thomas has won numerous journalism awards, including a National Magazine Award in 1998 for Newsweek's coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In 2005, his 50,000-word narrative of the 2004 election was honored when Newsweek won a National Magazine Award for the best single-topic issue.
Thomas is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School. He lives with his wife and two children in Washington, DC.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
8
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
1
See all 11 customer reviews
In fact, if you find your country fascinating, you must read this book.
Weegee
Clearly written, fairly easy to read, very interesting insights, detailed characters and personalities, with invaluable content that I have not found elsewhere.
rjam2
Thomas's book was one of the very few required reads that I've actually completed of my own accord.
Taylor Oliver

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I almost broke two fountain pens on this book, and that is close to my highest compliment. Depending on one's mood, it will move any person with a deep knowledge of intelligence to tears or laughter. This is a really superior detailed look at the men that set the tone for clandestine operations in the 20th century: "Patriotic, decent, well-meaning, and brave, they were also uniquely unsuited to the grubby, necessarily devious world of intelligence." From card file mentalities to Chiefs of Station not speaking the language, to off-the-cuff decision making and a refusal to include CIA analysts in strategic deliberations, this is an accurate and important study that has not gotten the attention it merits from the media or the oversight staffs.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Taylor Oliver on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was a required read for a college course that I took on the CIA & Congress. I found this to be an excellent book - full of substance, loaded with information, and a very easy read. Thomas's book was one of the very few required reads that I've actually completed of my own accord. I highly recommend this book to those who are looking for an in-depth study on the inner workings of the CIA's beginnings.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Weegee on December 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a great book. If you find the CIA fascinating, then this is a must read. In fact, if you find your country fascinating, you must read this book.
This isn't your typical James Bond, Tom Clancy sort of thing. Get the real stories in just about the perfect amount of detail. The characters are easy to follow and the scenarios do not require a history refresher course to delve into.
The "Four" who did dare are all geniuses and each has played a part in making sure you sleep well at night. Each person is handled deftly and the book follows in a natural chronological order.
The most fascinating part of the book definitely revolves around the Kennedy administration and Bay of Pigs fiasco. Once again, the politics of politics can turn something so clear into a mess.
The best part of the book is that it handles bigger and smaller points equally well. There are many, oh by the way type quick tales, but the larger campaigns are also handled extremely well. You will find yourself paraphrasing stories and anecdotes from this book to your friends. Great after dinner discussion stuff.
Top of my list for recommendation.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. G Spires on January 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Evans crafted a book that doesn't fall into non-fiction traps. Many non-fiction works miss the mark when it comes to drawing a reader in to a book about the Cold War. They show that the OUTRIGGER program was funded at $XX millions and opposed by X liberals in Congress but it collected Y amount of information from the Stassi.

Those are trivial and boring works.

This one doesn't miss at all -- it's a bullseye.

Evan Thomas' The Very Best Men reads like a thriller. You become wrapped up in the lives of Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes and Desmond Fitzgerald and their early work in America's CIA.

Evans' book isn't just a flag waiver. There are low points, and political failures. Notably the Bay of Pigs and the tragic life of Frank Wisner.

One note: I read Robert Littell's The Company before I read this book, and I see where his characters are drawn from. What order is up to you, but if you are a fan of CIA/spy plots, then I'd read both books together for enjoyment.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
They will never return it. It is that good of a book. Starts with introduction on how these men started it from WWII and walks the reader through the history of how it all got started.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jose_monkey_org on May 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
this is a well written, insightful gem of a book covers the four major figures who defined the early years of CIA. their strengths, their bravado, their naivate, their luck - it's all here. more than just a history, there's a bit of understanding, as well, and some analysis. this book cuts through the cruft and to the meat of the story.

the company's changed a lot since then, but it's important to know where it came from. read this and you'll learn the foundations of that history, and america's second half of the 20th century, as well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again