The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government

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HarperCollins, Oct 13, 2015 - Political Science - 720 pages
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An explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful—and secretive—colossus in Washington, from the founder of and author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers.

America’s greatest untold story: the United States’ rise to world dominance under the guile of Allen Welsh Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA. Drawing on revelatory new materials—including newly discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s wife and mistress, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials—Talbot reveals the underside of one of America’s most powerful and influential figures.

Dulles’s decade as the director of the CIA—which he used to further his public and private agendas—were dark times in American politics. Calling himself “the secretary of state of unfriendly countries,” Dulles saw himself as above the elected law, manipulating and subverting American presidents in the pursuit of his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite he counted as his friends and clients—colluding with Nazi-controlled cartels, German war criminals, and Mafiosi in the process. Targeting foreign leaders for assassination and overthrowing nationalist governments not in line with his political aims, Dulles employed those same tactics to further his goals at home, Talbot charges, offering shocking new evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

An exposť of American power that is as disturbing as it is timely, The Devil’s Chessboard is a provocative and gripping story of the rise of the national security state—and the battle for America’s soul.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - usuallee - LibraryThing

The Devil's Chessboard I found to be an extremely compelling read (listen). The book is long but once it gets going I never even remotely approached losing interest. The author is a gifted writer and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dsha67 - LibraryThing

Finished The Devils Chessboard: Allen Dulles, The CIA and The Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot. First let me say I enjoyed it and would have given it 4 stars except that in the last ... Read full review


Dedication Epigraph Acknowledgments
Part I
The Double Agent
Human Smoke
Ghosts of Nuremberg
Dangerous Ideas
The Torch Is Passed
Part III
Rome on the Potomac
The Parting Glass
The Big Event
The Fingerprints of Intelligence

Part II
Useful People
Little Mice
Scoundrel Time
The Power Elite
The Dulles Imperium
Strange Love
Brain Warfare
For the Good of the Country
I Cant Look and Wont Look
End Game
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About the author (2015)

David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed national bestseller Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love. He is the founder and former editor in chief of Salon, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, The Guardian, and other major publications. Talbot lives in San Francisco, California.

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