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The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA Hardcover – March, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
Hersh himself clearly did vast independent primary research and interview work for the book. His anatomy of the Dulles brothers, Frank Wisner, Wild Bill Donovan, Bill Casey,and the creepy but omnipresent Carmel Offie is superb. Wall Street staffed the US intelligence elite, in 1941 as in 2001---and oil and high finance were and still are that world's elixir. Lastly, the index and notes are a boon to future researchers. [Interestingly, none of the Dulles-adoring biographies published of late cites any of Hersh's work. Hmmmm.]
Hersh has a novelist's skill in bringing this cast of real characters to life: the descriptions are unforgettable, but the research, especially to me, a fellow digger in contemporary intelligence history, is awe-inspiring. Hersh has not written a book predicated on others' books: there is a treasure trove here of original research, especially in relation to the Wall Street connections to Nazi business and, critically, to the SAFEHAVEN investigation, rediscovery of which of course broke the Holocaust gold story some years back.
But most of all, this book is hugely entertaining and not a little amusing, told in a confidingly baroque language, it's true, but imagine you're hearing these stories in a clubland chair, from someone Who Knows Stuff, of a long and fascinating evening. Listen carefully: your attention'll be rewarded.
This is nuanced, detailed writing about complicated history: one's reading effort, I found, rewards---this is an important book laying open the defining people and defining events of the US intelligence empire. It's no surprise Hersh is in high demand as an intelligence expert since Sept 11th, as the CIA and its watchers look for answers.
Negatives: Tens of thousands of pages of information redacted, sanitized, and recently released to the public (through 2014) will substantially change some of the "base line" conclusions Hersh formed, logically (...and reasonably, with regard to Hersh's scholarly credit), suffer to a degree in the absence of proof (...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I stopped reading in the middle of the WWII chapters. This guy got every name in Germany, and I mean every single name wrong. Read morePublished 19 months ago by evaclaudia
Meh...Was this written by an adoring fan? No dates. Just a rambling mess. My head still hurts from the memory of reading this POS. Hey what do I know? Who am I? No one. Read morePublished on July 14, 2014 by Will Sync
While Burton Hersh's work does contain some interesting facts, as a history it is little more than the author's opinions. Read morePublished on April 16, 2007 by Emily
This work by Mr. Hersh is a mind boggeling attempt at history. Unfortunately, I think the reader should do some follow up research. Read morePublished on November 29, 2006 by William A. Darst
The trouble with Burton Hersh is that he never bothered to read what he wrote. If he had he'd have realized that it is uncomprehensible. Read morePublished on July 1, 2002 by Sheridan Peterson