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Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA Paperback – March 11, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Will go down as one of the more provocative titles in the ever-growing library of Kennedy-assassination studies." --Wall Street Journal

From the Back Cover

"A literary triumph that uncovers some of the darkest secrets of state while also revealing the human cost of a life led in service to that secrecy."--Nina Burleigh, author of A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer

"Every decade or so, a talented writer provides a genuinely new glimpse into the CIA's shadowy history. Morley's account of legendary spymaster Winston Scott chronicles a life led in secret, stretching from the agency's founding through Scott's tenure as station chief in Mexico City. Morley tells this story with literary energy and an eye for the dark moments when intelligence stops making sense."--Thomas Powers, author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA

"Here is a rare thing, a biography of a C.I.A. chief that neither dodges shameful truths nor throws gratuitous mud. Packed, to boot, with genuine revelations about the crime of the century--the assassination of President Kennedy. A tour-de-force!"--Anthony Summers, author of Not in Your Lifetime

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700617906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700617906
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a former longtime employee of CIA, I can attest that this book conveys a true picture of the goings on within the agency. The story focuses on the life of Win Scott, who rose to become station chief in Mexico City for many years. Meticulously researched and documented, the book relates how the "company" evolved from wartime OSS in London. We learn about some key operations in postwar Europe and in Central America, and about how counter-intelligence works.
Building his story by telling exactly who did what and when, this author has achieved an authentic history of the period through the assassination of President Kennedy and afterward. The CIA's contacts with Oswald in the weeks before the shooting in Dallas,
and the subsequent stonewalling, withholding and even destruction of information are all spelled out so the reader is aware of what pieces of history are still hidden.
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Format: Hardcover
...peeling off layer after layer, we (well, those who still care, but I understand there are quite numerous around the world...) can now forty five years after the facts have a much better, much clearer understanding of what took place in Dallas.

The review above says it all. The book is on one level, the personnal history of the search of a son (adopted, it turns out..) for his mysterious, elusive father.

The fact that the father in question happenned to be Win Scot, head of the CIA Mexico station in the Sixties (the biggest CIA operation targeted at Soviet and Cuban interest outside the US) when Oswald, according to the official story, popped up there and started making himself noticed just a few weeks before Dallas, transforms what would be a mere personnal quest into something of historical importance.

Author Morley is known, appropriately, for his groundbreaking work bringing to light most notably the very strange story of George Joannides' s dealing with the DRE. Morley's work definitely showed how the CIA, deceptively, put Joannides in charge of contacts with the HSCA regarding Cuban matters, without ever mentioning his previous responsabilities as Focal Officer for the DRE during the latter part of November 63...

Students of JFK's assassination may remember that the DRE was very heavily involved in the early attempts to paint Oswald as a Communist Pro-Castro assassin, participating in a conspiracy.

Joannides's field reports on the DRE activities for the relevant period are still missing, and are the subject of a FOIA lawsuit by Morley....
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This author contacted a family member (of mine) for info on the family member's possible role in CIA activities in Mexico in preparation for this book. I appreciate the author's integrity. This is an excellent book, providing a unique perspective in the ongoing search for the truth regarding JFK's assassination. I highly recommend this book. Way to go, Mr. Morley.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Philip Shenon's recent "A Cruel and Shocking Act" prompted this reader to learn more about Win Scott, whose amazing career spanned early OSS days to 1970, his most important posting being CIA Chief in Mexico City.

As a key player notes, Scott's nature, actions (and inactions) only acquire true appreciation when evaluated in the context of those turbulent Cold War days. Mexico City was Ground Zero for North and South American espionage of key powers. For the US, it was our only look into Cuba. By the time Lee Oswald visited in Sept/Oct 1963, the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis were fresh and, in the case of the former, a black eye for the CIA. Scott's actions reporting on that visit, before and after Dallas, are troubling in their own regard. Morley conveys the ultimate "good soldier" who wanted to do his job splendidly but who acquiesced promptly to gag orders from his Langley superiors. Mr. Morley's account here makes a nice sidebar to Shenon's.

But there is so much more to Scott's story--which is also the story of a son wishing to know more about his enigmatic, accomplished father. The research is meticulous. A helpful "cast of characters" appears at the end. The sourcing is good. It must be very difficult to try to tell a life when by definition that life was led deliberately in deception, half-truth, innuendo. What's more, Scott's "memoir" is far from untroubled--and not even accessible in full.

Winston Scott was a good and loving father to his children and step-children. His marital life, though, was unenviable. So much to compartmentalize. It is good to read a biography of a deeply-flawed person who left indelible marks on history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very well researched and entertaining biography of one of the founders of the CIA. As an American having lived in Mexico City during the 1960s and 70s, many of the names and faces were familiar, and all of the events ring true.
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Format: Hardcover
This very well-documented book tells you in precise and unnerving detail how C.I.A.operatives work and what they knew about Oswald in Mexico before the Kennedy assassination -- a lot more than you knew befoe. It is particularly convincing because it's personal, the real story of a man who lived his life inside that system of power, accountable to no one. It's a page-turner with unrecognized spies (everyone?), double agents, stolen loves, a son wants to know his father, a loyal secretary, a dangerous wedding, enough destroyed documents to make you weep and an ending that sets up for a sequel we hope can come from further investigation by this diligent author. Highly recommended for everyone, not just specialists, but there is plenty here for them as well.
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