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Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles Hardcover – November 29, 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This is the first full-length biography of the man historian Michael Beschloss calls the keystone figure in the history of American intelligence. Allen Dulles (1893-1969) served in the Office of Strategic Services in Europe during WWII and was named director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1953, serving under Eisenhower and Kennedy. In an overlong, sometimes tedious narrative, Grose (Israel in the Mind of America) describes how Dulles oversaw the firm establishment of the CIA in the Washington power structure during the Eisenhower years (his older brother, John Foster Dulles, was then the Secretary of State), only to be forced out after the CIA's failure in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Later appointed to the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy, Dulles became its most diligent member, according to Grose, and a supporter of the view that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Other controversial issues explored include Dulles's exploitation of ex-Nazi Reinhard Gehler's spy network in the early years of the Cold War, and whether JFK authorized, or even knew about, CIA attempts to liquidate Castro. Grose delves unenlighteningly into Dulles's shortcomings as husband and father; he kept a mistress or two and spent little time at home. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Benefiting from access to newly opened sources, this book describes how Dulles used his natural charm to win friends, discover information, and work his way to the top of the CIA. Grose, who has years of experience in foreign affairs both as a journalist and a State Department official, also paints an interesting picture of the powerful, moneyed world of international finance and politics that most of us never see. He goes fairly easy on Dulles, concentrating on his official work and delving less deeply into his personal life; in many ways, this book reflects Dulles's own style. For a more critical view of Dulles's complex relations with fascists and European industrialists before, during, and after World War II, see Burton Hersh's The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA (LJ 2/15/92). Recommended for informed readers. (Index not seen.)-Daniel K. Blewett, Loyola Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 641 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (November 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395516072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395516072
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Gentleman Spy" is more than just the life of one man, Allen Dulles. It's the development of the United States into a super power and of the build-up of a massive intelligence network. At the center or sometimes fringes of all this dwelled Allen Dulles. Dulles' influence on intelligence gathering and covert activities still dominates our country, even though he left the CIA over 35 years ago. His love for the great game of espionage inspired young disciples who in turn became key leaders of the intelligence community. It's easy to praise or blame Dulles for many of the problems that we are still experiencing today due to lack of honest or accurate analysis, or involvment in the affairs of duely elected foreign governments. Peter Grose has mapped Dulles life in this massive biography and has done an excellent job of exploring Dulles' mind as to why he did what he did. The book is never boring. Dulles set the image of the "American Gentleman Spy," as being witty urbane and downright ruthless. Peter Grose has provent hat Dulles blended himself into that image seamlessly.
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Format: Paperback
Gentleman Spy

By Peter Grose

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

Opinions on Allen Dulles range from prominent diplomat, CIA mastermind and raconteur to a traitorous, conniving scoundrel, who sold out his country for personal gain. His Brother Foster is held in exactly the same regard.

This book I would not rank as the definitive biography of Allen Dulles. A definitive biography, it would be my guess, has not yet been written - and may never be written. This man and this family have more skeletons in its closet than one book could possibly contain - even a 641 page tome as this one.

To go even further, I would not define the main purpose of this book to be a biography of Allen Dulles. This is a history book dealing with the establishment of the CIA and its evolution over the years.

The CIA begins as a rather simple and primitive wartime intelligence gathering agency. It starts out in the late 40's and evolves into a giant government secret organization with unlimited, untraceable funds following the pattern of the Russian KGB or the Nazi SS.

It actually incorporates into it nefarious folds ex-members of the German SS and other Nazi organizations - "good Germans" according to Mr. Allen Dulles' conscience and a book he published.

It becomes involved with torture, killing, espionage, assassination, fomenting revolution, toppling foreign governments, and creating havoc and discord around the world on behalf of the American government for purposes often difficult to determine. This is not accusation; it is fact. You can read about it almost anywhere and in hundreds of books.

As head of the CIA and one of its initial founders Allen Dulles is everywhere and involved in things yet to be disclosed.
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Format: Paperback
What a great book! If you are a history buff like me, you'll love this book. Allen Dulles, former lawyer, former diplomat, former OSS Operative, former President of the Council on Foreign Relations, for Director of the CIA (under Eisenhower and Kennedy), and brother of the Secretary of State (John Foster Dulles who the airport is named after), and member of the establishment -- this book is quite a treat. It takes us through the post-WWI years and then through WWII where Dulles was stationed for OSS in Bern. It then details the formation and escalation of the Cold War. Grosse does a terrific job detailing Dulles's public and personal lives. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Any notion that Allen Dulles was a gentleman is absolutely absurd! He helped Hitler secure funds for his war machine from American and British financial institutions. On behalf of his client, Nelson Rockefeller, Dulles arranged to keep a steady flow of Saudi oil flowing to Nazi Germany throughout the war. He knew about the Holocaust, but didn't lift a finger to help the Jews. Dulles and James Jesus Angleton setup the Nazi Ratline near war's end that smuggled thousands of Nazi war criminals out of Europe to various Middle Eastern states as well as Argentina. After the war, he organized Operation Paperclip to smuggle hundreds of Nazi war criminals from South America into the United States to work for the CIA. He and brother John Foster Dulles committed high treason by providing aid and comfort to the enemy during wartime; crimes for which they should have been executed. Instead, they got an international airport named after John Foster Dulles.
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