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on February 18, 2018
Very interesting book. About 3/4 of the way through I was wondering what the CIA thought of the book and low and behold they have a review of it posted on their web site - not fans! I think the author did a very credible job of digging through stacks of information. The CIA denials seemed to be mostly nitpicking versus refuting the main points of our countries disastrous spying attempts. I am surprised at how poorly they have done and how much men with big egos were able to circumvent common sense. Disastrous look at how the US Governments interfered with other countries elections to the point of assassinations yet how much every is howling in 2017/2018 about Russians interfering with US elections.
6 people found this helpful
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on October 26, 2015
A legacy of ashes is far too modest a condemnation of the damage the CIA has done to the interests of the United States. Ashes implies destruction, which is appropriate to the description of the CIA's overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran, its part in the assassination of Diem in Viet Nam, and the overthrow of Allende in Chile, among others. The perverse legacy of the CIA includes many "achievements," such as the support of the pusillanimous and megomaniacal Shah of Iran, the pathetic and larcenous Chiang Kai Shek and his parasitic wife, and innumerable fascistic regimes including the Greek colonels, Duvalier in Haiti, the Argentine junta, the neo-fascist right it Italy, and numerous drug lords in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The poisonous effects of these regimes have had much more deleterious long-term effects on the interests of the United States than the ashes of destruction suggested by President Eisenhower in his ultimate assessment of the CIA. The CIA's history of covert activity has done more damage to the United States than the combined efforts of its enemies since the end of World War II. More pathetically, the CIA has very seldom been able to provide the kind of analysis and assessments to inform and rationalize foreign policy that it was created in large part to provide.
24 people found this helpful
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on December 19, 2016
Difficult read, but really rewarding. First of all, it is just important information to know and you can learn a lot from it. Also, it puts a lot of familiar names and half memories into context, becoming a mother lode of information. Definitely worth the time, including going over the end notes.
5 people found this helpful
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I've always wondered why this agency, that I thought had messed-up everything it touched was considered as a solid governmental agency. So, I looked for a book of its history. It is even worse than I thought. Although they have had a few successful intelligence situations, they have had a 68 year history of mistakes and failures to predict almost anything right. Even worse, their bungling and failure to understand culture and history has gotten us into numerous wars throughout the world, resulting in the deaths of well over 100,000 American men and women. To be fair, these failures also rest on the shoulders of our presidents (both Republican and Democrat) who either chose to ignore the information provided, pick and choose the information that they want to use, or use the CIA as a tool to formulate their own agenda, often ignoring the culture and history of the region.
12 people found this helpful
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on January 21, 2014
It's hard to believe that a book can be described as both exciting and heart-breaking at the same time, but Legacy of Ashes definitely fits both of those descriptions. In this eye-opening history of the CIA, Mr. Weiner has shown not only why the CIA dropped the ball on Iraq and the Soviet Union, but how they were pretty much destined to do so by the first leaders who had set up the CIA to run an secret (and questionably legal) war against the Soviet Union instead of creating a first-rate intelligence gathering apparatus. And since those founders left the agency so weakened, no successor director has been able to truly turn the agency into what the world's last superpower really needs. Mr. Weiner writes passionately about how the CIA has failed the country in so many operations that i begs the question of who is in charge of intelligence in the U.S. government. And yet it also reads like a fascinating spy novel, if you're into seeing James Bond get offed in every single mission he undertakes. I will say that it seems like every paragraph has to end with some sort of backhanded comment and the fact that the writer himself has few suggestions for how to right the ship makes me wonder, makes me question the book's impartiality. Still, this is an absolutely fascinating read and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in national security, foreign relations, or U.S. intelligence.
4 people found this helpful
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on June 7, 2018
Why are we having immigration problems on our Southern Border?
it is because the CIA has overthrown the governments of every county from the Rio Grand to Antarctica... twice.
We have overthrown governments to grow bananas and killed foreign leaders to Belgium could plunder diamond mines.
I remember how right wing radio blow hards criticized President Obama for apologizing to foreign countries. I know know why.....
We have killed or helped kill millions of innocent people over proxy wars with Russia. We should still be apologizing.
We all should read this book.
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on June 12, 2016
Things don't just happen. There is always a beginning, a development, a current state of affairs. Too many people are unwilling to take the time to understand our government more deeply. This book is an education. Put on some light classical music, pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and settle in with this thriller.
18 people found this helpful
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on May 26, 2015
This book is a must have for history nuts.
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.
3 people found this helpful
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on September 29, 2017
The author has done an excellent job of collecting details and doing the analysis necessary to create a cogent walk through history of an agency in need of a serious overhaul. The facts are laid out, warts and all, giving the reader an accurate accounting of where our government has gone wrong and what might be done to correct it.
3 people found this helpful
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on January 17, 2018
A lot of the ideas about the CIA I've had come from movies and Tom Clancy. This book shatters those ideas. If this author is to be believed then the history of this agency is filled with smoke screen and arrogance but very little intelligence. This book will open your eyes to reality. Kind of scary.
One person found this helpful
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