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Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda (New York Review Collections (Paperback)) Paperback – June 30, 2004
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— Timothy Naftali, The New York Times Book Review
"A remarkable, twisted tapestry of intrigue."
— Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer
"The most reflective writing about intelligence…Powers deals with the history as well as the bureaucracy of the US intelligence agencies and has a sophisticated grasp of irony, self-delusion, and character."
— The Boston Globe
"Mr. Powers is one of our most thoughtful writers on espionage….But it’s not just that Mr. Powers knows the material; he knows what to make of it."
— Dallas Morning News
"It is a deeply thought-provoking book—wide-ranging and readable, incisive, expert but without jargon, able to challenge all its own assumptions.”
—Katharine Sale, Financial Times
"These discerning essays span 25 years and provide a revealing history of the victories, defeats and ambiguities of Cold War and post-Cold War intelligence gathering. Powers portrays in vivid human terms repeated FBI failures in counterintelligence, the intelligence agencies’ inability to infiltrate terrorist groups, chronic reluctance to share information and a management structure that leaves no one in charge of and accountable for the entire effort….Powers brilliantly conveys the ethos and culture of intelligence agencies—a complexity he has been studying and writing about for almost 30 years….a formidable contribution to the difficult work ahead in re-aligning the intelligence agencies’ Cold War-vintage structure."
— Lorraine Adams, The Washington Post Book World
From the Author
--Thomas Powers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Beginning with a review of the life of Billy Donovan, the progenitor of WWII American espionage, and ending with a review of books on the current threat from international terrorism, Powers covers a broad spectrum of topics. Though he is much stronger on the Cold War history, the author is able to bring his background in history to comment on current threats. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in national security and the intelligence world.
It was "cold" only in that the US and Soviet Russia never confronted each other directly on the military battlefield. It was plenty hot during the numerous shooting wars generated by the conflict. Loss of American life during the Korean and Vietnam wars is mirrored by the loss of Russian soldiers in their own hot wars against US proxy armies. The loss of national partisan belligerants plus the civilians who found themselves living on the battlefield probably takes the death toll into the millions -- this is what I take away from the book, Thomas never explicitly spells this out. He tells the story dispassionately, like a true historian journalist, without editorializing. He leaves the moral judgements up to the reader.
Powers treats the CIA sympathetically. This is no political diatribe against "CIA wrongdoing". I think this innate sympathy is what accounts for his success as a CIA expert -- along of course with his truly prodigious reading! Other highlights of the book are the accounts of US traitor spies within the agency, and how President GHW Bush adroitly handled the final demise of the Soviet empire. Bush '41 was "the ideal Presidential consumer of intelligence". Bringing the story up to modern times is some material relating to the 911 terrorist attack. America caught off guard similar to the Pearl Harbor attack but no investigation into the CIA about this, as would be expected.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A remarkable book for those looking for a dispassionate and comprehensive review of the intelligence apparatus of the United States (read O.S.S./C.I.A. Read morePublished on February 2, 2011 by Jade Warrior
Powers was a well-known writer and commentator on intelligence issues who has had valuable insights into the process of intelligence and the role of the CIA. Read morePublished on April 25, 2009 by Robin J. Smith
i learned a lot about this history. was useful for the papers that we had to do in class.Published on March 13, 2007 by Amazon Customer
This book is not for people with an amateur interest in American secret intelligence. I didn't make it past the third chapter so my review is based on the first two in which the... Read morePublished on December 10, 2003