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Legacy of Ashes – The history of the CIA

By: Tim Weiner (411.7/35695)
Publisher: Penguin ISBN: 978-1-84614-064-8

Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has been a byword for everything that is sinister and ruthless about America’s power during the Cold War and the ‘war on terror’. In countless movies and books, it has been shown as decisive, brilliant and in control of its own secret world: the image of omnipotence. But this is an illusion. In reality, the CIA has been incompetent, naïve and a danger to American interests for sixty years

In Legacy of Ashes Tim Weiner draws on years of research to reveal a startingly consistent level of failure. Even the CIA’s inability to foresee the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the events of 9/11, its false assessment of Saddam’s WMD and its role in the ‘rendition’ of innocent suspects are shown not as a fall from some bygone golden age, but as part of the history of a ruinously incapable organisation.

‘This is a fascinating, deeply scary book. With prodigious reporting and on-the-record sources, Tim Weiner shows why the CIA has done so poorly in traditional intelligence. It’s a riveting tale and also a warning. America must develop the ability – and the will – to know and face the facts about the world’ writes Walter Isaacson, author of EINSTEIN.

August 2007


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