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
4 Reviews

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 exposé 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  - jwrudn - LibraryThing

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government by David Talbot combines a biography of Allen Dulles with a history of the CIA. The book culminates in the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JCaris - LibraryThing

Excellent. Talbot presents an in-depth portrayal of Allen Dulles shaping the CIA to propagate his worldview. The dark side of the federal government and the machinations of the intelligence agencies ... Read full review


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Human Smoke
Ghosts of Nuremberg
Useful People
Little Mice
Brain Warfare
Dangerous Ideas
The Torch Is Passed
Rome on the Potomac
The Parting Glass
The Big Event
The Fingerprints of Intelligence

Scoundrel Time
The Power Elite
The Dulles Imperium
Strange Love
For the Good of the Country
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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