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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 Salon.com 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 exposť 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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An Amazon Best Book of October 2015: Salon.com co-founder David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard paints a riveting but unflattering picture of longtime CIA chief Allen Dulles (and of his Secretary of State brother, John Foster Dulles) in a nonfiction account covering decades of espionage, questionable tactics, and outright conspiracy. Heaping detail after detail into a dense but fast-flowing account, Talbot has written a book that reads like part Cold War history and part Tom Clancy novel. Both brothers protected the rich and powerful. Both felt they could act outside the rules. Both feared the Soviets and would do seemingly anything to oppose them. Readers will be glad these men are gone, even as they drink up every word written about them. And some will wonder if others have quietly taken their place.--Chris Schluep
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, David Talbot exposes the underside of one of America’s most influential figures. The Devil’s Chessboard tells the timely, provocative, and gripping story of the rise of the national security state—and the battle for America’s soul.
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