Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
All-powerful, brilliant, decisive, ruthlessly effective . this is the image of the CIA as portrayed in countless films and novels. It is wrong.
This shocking book, based on thousands of declassified documents and interviews with agents at all levels, shows the reality behind the glamorous myth: a blundering, chaotic and dangerously incompetent organization, so ineffective it was nicknamed 'Can't Identify Anything' by Nato forces. In a story of botched coups, missed targets, lost operatives and fatal errors, Tim Weiner shows how the CIA now poses a threat not only to the security of the US, but the world.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
A five star topic, with five star research, does not a five star book make. I give Mr. Weiner one star for this 'book,' which is not a book at all. It is a collection of research notes that would be better titled "What the CIA did after the second world war to ruin the world for most people, including its own agents." Though Weiner has done a great job of bringing them together, there's no 'organization' to the facts. The title of each chapter is a quote from someone taken from that chapter; each chapter is split up into oodles of 1-2 page sections that are, again, headed by a quote from someone in from that section. In other words, this is one-damn-thing-after-another history. That's great if you're doing research, but is a torturous read; a friend of mine summed it up nicely: he can write great sentences, but he has no idea how to put sentences together into paragraphs. And the same thing goes for his sections/chapters/book sections/the book's narrative. The general narrative is meant to be "The CIA does too much covert operating and not enough collection and analyzing of data." Which might be true, but given the immense pressure that ever more idiotic American presidents have applied to the Agency, it's hardly the big cause for concern. Maybe *not* trying to murder everyone to the left of Goldwater in South American/Asian/African/Middle Eastern/European politics would be a good idea? Anyway, this is less a review than a warning: I'd advise you to buy this book, and dip into it every now and then. There's no reason to read it cover to cover when you could be reading good, depressing spy novels instead.
Review: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIAUser Review - Goodreads
A detailed description of the depressing cycle of intelligence failures at the CIA. Torn between intelligence gathering and covert activity, uncertain of its priorities, the CIA does neither well ...