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Flawed Patriot: The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 21, 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"With a journalist’s unerring eye for detail and the pen of a novelist, Bayard Stockton has created in Flawed Patriot a significant work of great historical value. Secrecy is the key to national security, but there is a fine line between necessity and hubris. Stockton peels back the musty layers to reveal the truth about incidents long hidden or lied about, teaching us not only about our intelligence past, but about Bill Harvey, the sort of maverick loner whose brilliance and daring protected us, and whose bravery led him to take many of his secrets to the grave. Settle yourself into your most comfortable easy chair. Flawed Patriot is compelling reading."—Gayle Lynds, author of The Last Spymaster and Mesmerized
(Gayle Lynds)

"Flawed Patriot is the story of Bill Harvey, one of the greatest intelligence officers I have ever known, from his exploits in West Berlin, where I served many years as his deputy, to his death in 1976. Bayard Stockton tells it all, the good and the bad, as he describes the frustrations of the politically charged Cuban operations under Bill’s nemesis, Robert Kennedy, the fruitless assignment to Rome, Bill’s battle with alcoholism, and the depressing circumstances of his retirement from the CIA. Nothing is left out, including the many speculative charges linking him to the assassination of President Kennedy. Flawed Patriot is a must read for serious historians, intelligence buffs, and all those who wish to know the truth about the life and times of this remarkable man."—David E. Murphy, retired CIA Soviet specialist and coauthor of Battleground Berlin: CIA vs KGB in the Cold War
(David E. Murphy)

"An insider's detailed study of a complex intelligence operative."—William Hood, former CIA officer and author of Mole: The True Story of the First Russian Spy to Become an American Counterspy
(William Hood)

Flawed Patriot is a rich trove of information that will be of particular interest to students and scholars of the Cold War period and its struggles between the American and Soviet intelligence services . . . [the book] has a future as a reference work on a very turbulent period in American history.”—American Diplomacy
(American Diplomacy 2008-09-03) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Offers new insight into an important and controversial CIA career

Written by a former CIA officer who served under Harvey

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc. (November 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574889907
  • ASIN: B004JZWYUG
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,117,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on August 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book features a poorly chosen title and many flaws in composition. However, it provides the reader with a reasonable introduction to an unsung (buried) American hero of the Cold War. More importantly, if the reader reads carefully and between the lines, there is much to learn about the CIA, large bureaucracies (ala Niskanen), what it takes to gather human intelligence, imperial politics, and the future of the American intelligence establishment.

First, to Bill Harvey. Sure, he had flaws ("Show me a hero and I'll show you a bum.") He was irrascible, blunt, opinionated, contempuous of those that hadn't paid their dues, and a three-martini lunch drinker. Leave off the drinking and you have Billy Mitchell, Dick Pick or Henry Ford. Harvey was the first CIA giant in positive intelligence collection, initially as an agent handler (case officer), then holding a series of supervisory positions. His output was prodigious, often working twenty hours a day, and he thought others should work as hard as he. He is remembered best for the Berlin tunnel tap on Soviet phone lines, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.

On the negative side, he simply didn't "fit in." He was a Midwesterner from a non-elite university (Indiana University), different in manners, speech, social connections and attitude from the effete (as he called them) Eastern Ivy-Leaguers then as now populating the CIA (and indeed, all Federal bureaucracies.) If one thinks this is no longer the case, allow me to say that the situation is much, much worse today. The enemy (red) states cannot provide leaders in government unless they have been vetted fully through attendance in the Ivy League or Seven Sisters (like Bush, Obama, Clinton, etc.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The subject was at a very high level and was responsible for many coups--think the time the CIA dug a tunnel into East Berlin in order to 'tap' East German and Russian conversations. He played an integral role in several 'big' operations until he was finally fired by JFK. There is speculation about the CIA's involvement in JFK's assassination.
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Format: Hardcover
Flawed Patriot has a great topic in Bill Harvey. The author's direct knowledge seems to be based on Harvey's career in Germany . The research of the late Mr. Stockton of much of the career of Bill Harvey appeares flawed. The drama of Bill and CG's adoption of a daughter in Germany is in line with what they told my wife and me in Rome,Italy in the mid 1960s. The events surronding Bill's return to Washington from Rome are not fair and complete and appear to be based on interviews that lack some of the facts.
Based on my personal knowledge and my research as an intelligence scholar and professor, Flawed Patroit does no justice to the pioneering work of Bill Harvey in clandestine collection, covert action and technical intelligence operations. In my opinion, Bill Harvey ranks amond the Top Ten Clandestine Service Officers in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first learned of William Harvey in Kennedy Assasination research. Mr Stockdon did a fine job of weaving some of our country's most significant cold war history into the life of one of our most brilliant CIA Operatives. The Author does not hold Harvey in judgement. He merely paints the man for what he was. Stockdon's objectivity about Harvey coupled with his exceptional historical research make this book an absolute must read. Thought inspiring,the reader is actually able to wear the mindset of the time. Take your time there are many names and numbers. Absolutely packed with facts
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Harvey (Bill) a CIA legend used secrets like J. Edgar Hoover. The book Flawed Patriot told how Bill Harvey went from an FBI agent to the CIA. I bought this book
because of secrets Bill Harvey knew about me. I wanted to know everything about this man who had a hand at hiding me and my mother. The book well written had details of how the FBI and CIA work. Bill Harvey, the United States 007 is a story everyone should read. However the story did not dig deep enough into his life.
Bill Harvey knew secrets he learned from the FBI and the CIA about Jack Kennedy. J. Edgar Hoover had all his personal secrets about people of power destroyed after his death, secrets Bill Harvey knew, Code Name Apollo: A Kennedy Legacy secrets he had gathered for J. Edgar. I wonder if Bill Harvey still worked for J. Edgar at the same time he was a CIA agent. The book was great but I wanted to know more about this man..
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is definitely NOT David Martin's "Wilderness of Mirrors." It is nonetheless another wilderness of mirrors. The world may not know much more about Bill Harvey until that oddly-selected year 2063, when pertinent files about his shadowy life are scheduled to be declassified. It's a credit to author Bayard Stockton, himself a former employee of the CIA, that he leaves all the important questions about Harvey, Johnny Roselli and others unanswered. Readers will not find wild speculation here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Harvey was a larger-than-life secret agent who bull-dogged his way through the corridors of power in WW-11 FBI (where his sin of not being instantly available to take Herbert Hoover's telephone call cost him Napoleon's blessings), the OSS and eventually the CIA.

The apotheosis of Harvey's career was conceiving of and managing the digging of the Berlin Tunnel in 1953--an audacious wire-tap of 172 telephone cables just over the border in East Berlin. Before the author gets to telling us this story, he foreshadows it many times as if he's already told it. When he does tell it, the tale is vague and incomplete. Little of the extreme tension is conveyed that this major espionage coup created among the band of agents who carried it out, and none of the exultation.

Harvey was an anomaly in the rising intelligence community. Just like those other genius mavericks--General Billy Mitchell, General George Patton, Col. Charlie Beckwith--he bucked his superiors to get things done, and like them, he was undone by the iron law of all bureaucracies-- that fealty is much more important than results. His resentment at Bobbie Kennedy's ultra micro-managing of the Bay of Pigs fiasco certainly contributed to its failure. It certainly scuttle Harvey's career. Yet what politician has ever learned the harsh lesson that others' are better at their jobs than they are--so let them do their jobs?

A serious 3-martini luncheon schmoozer, Harvey was adroit in finding and attracting talented cohorts. He built up highly loyal groups in spite of the usual internecine infighting that is the hallmark of all operational organizations. In the end his drinking got the better of him, and he was cast off like all such "failures.
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