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The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World Paperback – April 1, 2006
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"The Craft of Intelligence is one of the most fascinating books of our time."--Washington Post
"Brilliantly selective candor."--The New York Times
"Dulles writes well and fascinatingly on the history of espionage and intelligence from Sir Francis Walsingham to Wild Bill Donovan and John McCone . . . The Craft of Intelligence is one of the most fascinating books of our time."--Washington Post
"Brilliantly selective candor. There is material enough here on breathlessly high-level sleuthing to keep Helen MacInnes and Ian Fleming busy writing all kinds of thrillers."--New York Times
"Well organized, informative . . . When he talks about the CIA, its Russian counterparts, and specific examples of fiascoes and coups, the reader will certainly snap to attention."--The New Yorker
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Top Customer Reviews
If you're reading this book to learn the very basics of the intelligence community and it's process it's okay. You can save your money with some dedicated Wikipedia searching. Your information will be more current, as there have been large changes in the intelligence community since Dulles's time. As a historical treatment of the community's structure, it holds some passing interest. There's a compelling argument to be made for any modern expert to understand the historical opinions that senior leaders held toward the structure and bureaucracy that they built.
Three stars for being a work "out of time", but redeemed in part by the sheer fact it's primary source material about someone who's contributions to national defense were by definition secret - and the above mentioned beautifully crafted, bonus course in evasiveness, discretion, and special pleading.
Dulles tells the reader that the communists were plotting to take over Guatemala, and the CIA prevented that takeover. In fact, the CIA overthrew the Guatemalan government to help the United Fruit company – a company with which Alan Dulles and his brother (Secretary of State John Foster Dulles) had strong ties.
Dulles talks about Communist plans to take over the Congo, and he declares that the CIA saved the day. In reality, the democratically-elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, worked toward independence from Belgium. A Belgian-supported mutiny broke out in the military. Lumumba tried to get help from the U.N. and the U.S. He got none. He then tried to get help from the Soviet Union. That’s when he was assassinated by the CIA.
Dulles also talks about how the Communists were going to take over Iran. Nuh uh. Once again, the CIA overthrew a democratically-elected ruler, Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh wasn’t a communist, but he did try to nationalize the country’s petroleum industry- a move that annoyed the British no end. At the behest of the British, the CIA overthrew Mosaddegh and installed the Shah.
(Gosh! I remember when we used to eat that kind of outrageous propaganda up! Nostalgia!)
Dulles tells very little of the craft of intelligence, but he does mention a few episodes of espionage and other scandals (e.g.; the Petrov Affair, the Profumo affair) which are interesting to research on the internet. Dulles says very little about them, and what he does say is self-serving.
Other than that, it’s a simply awful book. I normally wouldn’t have finished it, but there I was on a fourteen-hour plane ride…
Dulles had help. Parts of the book were written by others.
What I didn't like about the book was its many lies: The CIA never tried to influence policy. It just did what its bosses wanted. The CIA never did nefarious things like the Soviet Union....