Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA

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Basic Books, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 546 pages
8 Reviews
World War II commando, Cold War spy, and CIA director under presidents Nixon and Ford, William Egan Colby played a critical role in some of the most pivotal events of the twentieth century. A quintessential member of the greatest generation, Colby embodied the moral and strategic ambiguities of the postwar world, and first confronted many of the dilemmas about power and secrecy that America still grapples with today.

In Shadow Warrior, eminent historian Randall B. Woods presents a riveting biography of Colby, revealing that this crusader for global democracy was also drawn to the darker side of American power. Aiming to help reverse the spread of totalitarianism in Europe and Asia, Colby joined the U.S. Army in 1941, just as America entered World War II. He served with distinction in France and Norway, and at the end of the war transitioned into America’s first peacetime intelligence agency: the CIA. Fresh from the fight against fascism, Colby zealously redirected his efforts against international communism. He insisted on the importance of fighting communism on the ground, doggedly applying guerilla tactics for counterinsurgency, sabotage, surveillance, and information-gathering on the new battlefields of the Cold War. Over time, these strategies became increasingly ruthless; as head of the CIA’s Far East Division, Colby oversaw an endless succession of assassination attempts, coups, secret wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Phoenix Program, in which 20,000 civilian supporters of the Vietcong were killed. Colby ultimately came clean about many of the CIA’s illegal activities, making public a set of internal reports—known as the “family jewels”—that haunt the agency to this day. Ostracized from the intelligence community, he died under suspicious circumstances—a murky ending to a life lived in the shadows.

Drawing on multiple new sources, including interviews with members of Colby’s family, Woods has crafted a gripping biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

  

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Review: Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA

User Review  - Doyle - Goodreads

Although, sometimes dry this is a very well academic written story. The story not only of Colby's life, but of the counterinsurgency efforts of Vietnam, as well as the politics that often interferes with the intelligence business. Read full review

Review: Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA

User Review  - Marc - Goodreads

A very good bio of William Colby, very long but readable for the most part. A warts and all look at Colby's life, with Woods being critical when he should be. There's great stuff here on the CIA in ... Read full review

Contents

THE COLBYS AND THE EGANs
9
JEDBURGH
31
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
53
THE AGENCY
69
COVERT OPERATIONS ON
81
POLITICAL ACTION AND LA DOLCE VITA
95
FIGHTING A PEOPLEs
115
THE MILITARY ASCENDANT
171
BIRDS OF PEACE AND BIRDS OF WAR
307
THE FAMILY JEWELS
331
AsCENsION
361
REvELATIONs
391
DANCING WITH HENRY
409
DEATH OF A DREAM
421
FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL
437
EPILOGUE
465

SECRET ARMIES
213
LAUNCHING THE OTHER WAR
247
CORDSZ A PEACE CORPS WITH GUNS
273
flcknowledgments
479
Index
517
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Randall B. Woods is John A. Cooper Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. Author or coauthor of ten books, including LBJ: Architect of American Ambition and Fulbright: A Biography, which won the Robert D. Ferrell Prize, Woods lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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