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Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

by

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Tim Weiner's excellent account of the CIA has already won many kudos and plaudits, including the National Book Award. There's not much I can add to that, other than to say folks really should read this book." Doug Brown, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 Pulitzer 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.

Review:

"Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize — winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"

Review:

"The CIA is a fat, easy target these days. Under George 'slam dunk' Tenet, it failed (along with the FBI) to prevent 9/11, and then it famously and wrongly estimated that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Tenet's $4 million memoir to explain these failures merely subjected him to more slings and arrows, soothed only somewhat by all that moola.

Morale plunged... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"This is a timely, immensely readable, and highly critical history of the CIA, culminating with the most recent catastrophic failures in Iraq." Mark Bowden, author of Blackhawk Down

Review:

"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." Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and Einstein: His Life and Universe

Review:

"Legacy of Ashes, like all first-rate histories, is not only richly informative but provocative and insightful. It is a combustible mix of deeply-researched history, solid reporting and revealing anecdotes. Tim Weiner's history of the CIA explains not merely the past but the present, laying out in fine detail the structural and philosophical flaws that have dogged the Agency from day one and which continue to leave the country unduly vulnerable." Ted Gup, author of The Book of Honor and Nation of Secrets

Review:

"Tim Weiner has read widely and dug deeply to produce this marvelous and convincing history of the CIA across six decades. That every quote is also on the record is a testament to his skill and also, thankfully, to the transparency that endures in the American political system." Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars

Review:

"[B]y using tens of thousands of declassified documents and on-the-record recollections of dozens of chagrined spymasters, Weiner paints what may be the most disturbing picture yet of C.I.A. ineptitude." New York Times

Review:

"Weiner chronicles the CIA's willful ignorance, arrogance and so-called intelligence measured in quantity rather than quality, and poor judgment with anecdotes that often sound like plots invented by an evilly comic John le Carre. Even the footnotes make for good reading." Oregonian

Review:

"[S]hould be must-reading for every presidential candidate — and every American who wants to understand why the nation repeatedly stumbles into one disaster abroad after another." Boston Globe

Review:

"[A] fascinating and revealing history — a jewel of a book." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Weiner punctures claims by the spymasters at the Central Intelligence Agency that they have a track record of thwarting enemy threats and serving their nation well." Seattle Times

Review:

"The most remarkable and...admirable thing about Legacy of Ashes is that it is based entirely on primary sources and on-the-record interviews. Nothing goes unattributed." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"By now, the CIA's longtime role as secret army ought to be known to every American, though clearly it is not. At that level, Legacy of Ashes deserves a wide readership, and will probably win one given the page-turning gusto of its narrative." Newsday

Synopsis:

A revelatory secret history of how America became home to thousands of Nazi war criminals after World War II, many of whom were brought here by the OSS and CIAand#8212;by the New York Times reporter who broke the story and who has interviewed dozens of agents for the first time.

Synopsis:

The shocking story of how America became one of the worldand#8217;s safest postwar havens for Nazis
and#160;
Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies. When the Justice Department finally investigated and learned the truth, the results were classified and buried.

Using the dramatic story of one former perpetrator who settled in New Jersey, conned the CIA into hiring him, and begged for the agencyand#8217;s support when his wartime identity emerged, Eric Lichtblau tells the full, shocking story of how America became a refuge for hundreds of postwar Nazis.

Synopsis:

In the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years, to U.S. support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan. But Johnson dug deeper, to the start of the Cold War, uncovering the untold story of a group of ex-Soviet Muslims who had defected to Germany during World War II. There, they had been fashioned into a well-oiled anti-Soviet propaganda machine. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U.S. intelligence agents vied for control of this influential group, and at the center of the covert tug of war was a quiet mosque in Munichradical Islams first beachhead in the West.

Culled from an array of sources, including newly declassified documents, A Mosque in Munich interweaves the stories of several key players: a Nazi scholar turned postwar spymaster; key Muslim leaders across the globe, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood; and naïve CIA men eager to fight communism with a new weapon, Islam. A rare ground-level look at Cold War spying and a revelatory account of the Wests first, disastrous encounter with radical Islam, A Mosque in Munich is as captivating as it is crucial to our understanding the mistakes we are still making in our relationship with Islamists today

Video

About the Author

Tim Weiner is a reporter for The New York Times. He has written on American intelligence for twenty years, and won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on secret national security programs. He has traveled to Afghanistan and other nations to investigate CIA covert operations firsthand. This is his third book.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385514453
Subtitle:
How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men
Author:
Weiner, Tim
Author:
Wise, David
Author:
Johnson, Ian
Author:
Lichtblau, Eric
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
United States - 21st Century
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Intelligence
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Subject:
International Relations
Subject:
Modern - General
Subject:
Holocaust
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20141028
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-page b/w insert
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Espionage
History and Social Science » Politics » Covert Government and Conspiracy Theory
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Random House - English 9780385514453 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize — winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it. Hypnotized by covert action and pressured by presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its resources fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging foreign elections and bribing political leaders, while its rare successes inspired fiascoes like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. Meanwhile, Weiner contends, its proper function of gathering accurate intelligence languished. With its operations easily penetrated by enemy spies, the CIA was blind to events in adversarial countries like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically wrong about the crucial developments under its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the fall of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. Many of the misadventures Weiner covers, at times sketchily, are familiar, but his comprehensive survey brings out the persistent problems that plague the agency. The result is a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"Review A Day" by , "Tim Weiner's excellent account of the CIA has already won many kudos and plaudits, including the National Book Award. There's not much I can add to that, other than to say folks really should read this book." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "This is a timely, immensely readable, and highly critical history of the CIA, culminating with the most recent catastrophic failures in Iraq."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Legacy of Ashes, like all first-rate histories, is not only richly informative but provocative and insightful. It is a combustible mix of deeply-researched history, solid reporting and revealing anecdotes. Tim Weiner's history of the CIA explains not merely the past but the present, laying out in fine detail the structural and philosophical flaws that have dogged the Agency from day one and which continue to leave the country unduly vulnerable."
"Review" by , "Tim Weiner has read widely and dug deeply to produce this marvelous and convincing history of the CIA across six decades. That every quote is also on the record is a testament to his skill and also, thankfully, to the transparency that endures in the American political system."
"Review" by , "[B]y using tens of thousands of declassified documents and on-the-record recollections of dozens of chagrined spymasters, Weiner paints what may be the most disturbing picture yet of C.I.A. ineptitude."
"Review" by , "Weiner chronicles the CIA's willful ignorance, arrogance and so-called intelligence measured in quantity rather than quality, and poor judgment with anecdotes that often sound like plots invented by an evilly comic John le Carre. Even the footnotes make for good reading."
"Review" by , "[S]hould be must-reading for every presidential candidate — and every American who wants to understand why the nation repeatedly stumbles into one disaster abroad after another."
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating and revealing history — a jewel of a book."
"Review" by , "Weiner punctures claims by the spymasters at the Central Intelligence Agency that they have a track record of thwarting enemy threats and serving their nation well."
"Review" by , "The most remarkable and...admirable thing about Legacy of Ashes is that it is based entirely on primary sources and on-the-record interviews. Nothing goes unattributed."
"Review" by , "By now, the CIA's longtime role as secret army ought to be known to every American, though clearly it is not. At that level, Legacy of Ashes deserves a wide readership, and will probably win one given the page-turning gusto of its narrative."
"Synopsis" by ,

A revelatory secret history of how America became home to thousands of Nazi war criminals after World War II, many of whom were brought here by the OSS and CIAand#8212;by the New York Times reporter who broke the story and who has interviewed dozens of agents for the first time.

"Synopsis" by ,
The shocking story of how America became one of the worldand#8217;s safest postwar havens for Nazis
and#160;
Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies. When the Justice Department finally investigated and learned the truth, the results were classified and buried.

Using the dramatic story of one former perpetrator who settled in New Jersey, conned the CIA into hiring him, and begged for the agencyand#8217;s support when his wartime identity emerged, Eric Lichtblau tells the full, shocking story of how America became a refuge for hundreds of postwar Nazis.

"Synopsis" by ,
In the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years, to U.S. support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan. But Johnson dug deeper, to the start of the Cold War, uncovering the untold story of a group of ex-Soviet Muslims who had defected to Germany during World War II. There, they had been fashioned into a well-oiled anti-Soviet propaganda machine. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U.S. intelligence agents vied for control of this influential group, and at the center of the covert tug of war was a quiet mosque in Munichradical Islams first beachhead in the West.

Culled from an array of sources, including newly declassified documents, A Mosque in Munich interweaves the stories of several key players: a Nazi scholar turned postwar spymaster; key Muslim leaders across the globe, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood; and naïve CIA men eager to fight communism with a new weapon, Islam. A rare ground-level look at Cold War spying and a revelatory account of the Wests first, disastrous encounter with radical Islam, A Mosque in Munich is as captivating as it is crucial to our understanding the mistakes we are still making in our relationship with Islamists today

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