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Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Hardcover – June 28, 2007
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For the last sixty years, the CIA has managed to maintain a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, burying its blunders in top-secret archives. Its mission was to know the world. When it did not succeed, it set out to change the world. Its failures have handed us, in the words of President Eisenhower, "a legacy of ashes." Now Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner offers the first definitive history of the CIA-and everything is on the record. LEGACY OF ASHES is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA itself, and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans, including ten Directors of Central Intelligence. It takes the CIA from its creation after World War II, through its battles in the cold war and the war on terror, to its near-collapse after 9/ll. Tim Weiner's past work on the CIA and American intelligence was hailed as "impressively reported" and "immensely entertaining" in The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal called it "truly extraordinary . . . the best book ever written on a case of espionage." Here is the hidden history of the CIA: why eleven presidents and three generations of CIA officers have been unable to understand the world; why nearly every CIA director has left the agency in worse shape than he found it; and how these failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security.
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The CIA began from the OSS-the Office of Strategic Services at the conclusion of the Second World War. Before that, there was no covert espionage in a formal context. Generals and Presidents rely on intelligence to avoid surprises and anticipate actions. Without it, clandestine activity was the fallback method. Within the agency, there was division; some preferred espionage while others favored covert operations. Is knowing the planet enough, or should change be made? Disasters are imminent if you opt to alter it without adequate knowledge.
Whether you like to read about the history of the U.S or specific history topics like the CIA, this book is amazing!
I had to stop several times just to make sure that what I was reading was real, some of the stories seemed like they should have been in a movie.
This was the first book in some time, that I just couldn't put down. It will definitely make you think about the course of the US and how our "Intelligence" agency is thought about.
I learned a lot and was entertained the whole way.