Legacy of Ashes The History of the CIA Author:Tim Weiner For the last sixty years, the CIA has managed to maintain a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, burying its blunders in top-secret archives. Its mission was to know the world. When it did not succeed, it set out to change the world. Its failures have handed us, in the words of President Eisenhower, "a legacy of ashes." — Now Pu... more »litzer Prize?winning author Tim Weiner offers the first definitive history of the CIA--and everything is on the record. LEGACY OF ASHES is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA itself, and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans, including ten Directors of Central Intelligence. It takes the CIA from its creation after World War II, through its battles in the cold war and the war on terror, to its near-collapse after 9/ll.
Tim Weiner's past work on the CIA and American intelligence was hailed as "impressively reported" and "immensely entertaining" in The New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal called it "truly extraordinary . . . the best book ever written on a case of espionage." Here is the hidden history of the CIA: why eleven presidents and three generations of CIA officers have been unable to understand the world; why nearly every CIA director has left the agency in worse shape than he found it; and how these failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security.« less
juicyfruit reviewed Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA on
Helpful Score: 1
I have mixed feelings for this book. As an audio book, it was not the best. The narration was dry with hardly any attempt at different voices or tones. Very monotonus. The writing itself was better. This book gives quite a good look at the history of the CIA and Weiner took pains to use original sources and attribute quotes to actual people - no anynomus sources. I was impressed and surpriesd by the detail that is covered. This books allows us to peek behind the curtain of secrets and I would reccommend it to anyone who has an interest in American government or world events.
Dense, factual, eye-opening account of the CIA from Truman to Bush43. The author reveals the CIA warts and all and leaves you to draw your own conclusions about past events. He bases his research on recently declassified information (some recently "re-classified") and interviews, with extensive notes at the end.
Although not very complimentary as another reviewer said, Weiner recognizes the importance of swift, accurate intelligence for the sake of national security. He outlines the history of the CIA's decision-making -- the hubris, the predominance of covert action over active intelligence (spying), the inability to self-examine when things go wrong, and just the nasty push and pull of politics between the Whitehouse and the Director of the CIA. Now that the CIA appears to be swallowed up by the Pentagon after the fiasco of Iraq's WMD's, (Weiner views this as a testament of the loss of faith in the CIA but not necessarily what's best for the CIA as an institution), he rather poignantly wonders if it might be too late for the CIA to rise again from the ashes of a legacy that has fallen far, far short of delivering its best work.