- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Kansas; Annotated edition edition (March 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0700616535
- ISBN-13: 978-0700616534
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence Annotated edition Edition
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“A richly detailed account of the FBI’s response to the world crisis of the 1930s and 1940s that overturns much accepted ‘wisdom’ about FBI intelligence failures and turf battles. Batvinis stays close to his sources while telling an engrossing story that should become the new standard account of FBI counter-intelligence. A stimulating and fascinating work.”—Richard Gid Powers, author of Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover “A strong and compelling book on the FBI’s pre-World War II transformation.”—Katherine Sibley, author of Red Spies in America: Stolen Secrets and the Dawn of the Cold War “A pioneering and important book on a little-explored aspect of FBI history.”—Athan Theoharis, author of The FBI and American Democracy: A Brief Critical History
"This interesting book traces the development of the FBI's counterintelligence role in the crucible of pre-World War II security concerns."
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Top customer reviews
In his book,The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence, Raymond J. Batvinis provides a history of the U.S. government's recognition in the late 1930s that a specific, professional, and coordinated response to clandestine foreign-government activities was necessary. As Batvinis explains, his book "traces the factors that led to the sudden awareness of the intelligence threat facing the nation, the reaction to that threat and the steps taken to confront it." To provide context, he bookends his narrative with two Nazi espionage cases that significantly impacted the decisions of this era. Batvinis details the mistakes and failures of the early counterintelligence effort, the tensions and rivalries between the government bureaucracies, and the innovations and accomplishments of the resulting institutional structures, such as the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference, the Special Intelligence Service, and the Plant Survey Program.
His story concerns historical change. It concerns a shift to a modern mindset and approach to national security. And although his book lacks a clearly articulated central thesis, Batvinis furnishes evidence to support the argument that the formation of the U.S. Intelligence Community began prior to World War II as a result of the awareness and foresight of President Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover, Henry Morgenthau and others. This repositions the creation of the national security establishment from being a response to the Cold War.
The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence is a thoroughly researched and authoritative recounting of its topic. The important issues are discussed with objectivity and critical analysis. It fills in a gap normally found in other histories of the FBI and humanizes, through personal accounts, the work of the FBI. It is highly recommended as an introduction to the roots of today's U.S. Intelligence Community.
Raymond Batvinis also does a fine job of exploring the bureaucratic battles within the government--especially between the FBI and the State Department--over who performed the mission and how it would be executed. The combination of the FBI's criminal investigation skills coupled with new techniques and objectives--for example wiretapping and domestic surveillance--presages some the debates and abuses of the post-9/11 era. In this regard "The Origins of FBI Counter-Intelligence" is highly instructive.
While an excellent book in overall, I was taken by the lack of depth in discussing the beginnings of the dispute between J. Edgar Hoover and General William Donovan of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, over jurisdictional issues involving counterintelligence from the onset of World War II. This is why I gave it a four instead of a five star review. Nonetheless, this is a very fine study of an important topic.