The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (A Touchstone book)

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9780671639945: The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA (A Touchstone book)
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Scores of interviews with insiders and more than seven thousand pages of formerly classified documents support this history of the CIA, which focuses on "The Company's" remarkable personalities and leaders from Wild Bill Donovan to William Casey

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From Publishers Weekly:

Ranelagh, a British writer, provides here a major overview of the Central Intelligence Agency from its founding in 1947 to the present. Based largely on hundreds of interviews, the book examines the personality and policies of each director in the context of the times. The agency's public posture is traced in detail: how, for instance, its agents began the '60s as "closet heroes," emerging as public heroes in the Cuban missile crises only to become public villains as a result of the Vietnam War. Favorable emphasis is placed on the contribution of William Colby, the most beleaguered of the directors, whose voluntary disclosures laid open the agency's inner workings, "giving onlookers the extraordinary spectacle of a secret service having its secrets revealed by the nation on whose behalf it operated." Colby's successor, George Bush, is also given high marks, especially for the way he overcame the public's initial skepticism about his abilities. As to William Casey, the current director, Ranelagh draws no conclusions, though he does call him insensitive and "unhaunted by ideals." Photos.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Much has been written on the Central Intelligence Agency over the past two decades, but until now there has not been an exhaustive and widely accessible history of the CIA. Based on hundreds of interviews and a careful reading of many books and documents, The Agency is a highly readable work of objective scholarship. Ranelagh's writing style is lively, and his character sketches can be devastating. The book is well documented and contains a fine selective bibliography. In addition to documenting the history of the CIA, Ranelagh admirably surveys the politics of the postwar years and is careful to place CIA activities within the context of international events. His final section is an excellent essay on the state of the CIA under the Reagan administration, and on the shift away from human intelligence to a highly technical operation. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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