CIA is a messy place. A messy place whos trackrecord is just one line (with few exeptions) of failure after failure. The book feels well researched but I cant shake the thought that we donät get all of the picture. If the CIA really has performed so increddibly bad during its years it ought to have been closed by the adminsitration.
This is a really good listen and it gives the listener a thourough rundown of the worlds history from the 1940s up to date, at least regarding all the instances where the CIA has been involved, and that seems to be... everywhere!
This largely unbiased viewpoint at the facts of the US spycraft for recent history is a captivating story. For those who enjoy getting to know the founders of US institutions and their lives, it leaves the reader wanting more. One really gets to know the sacrifices, and the hardships of those in the CIA through the different administration.
This book is great for anyone wanting to know how Government works in a compelling story and analysis. Yes, there is a great deal of criticism of the Agency and the mistakes that were made. The author, however, conveys a spirit and tone not of defamation or mud-throwing, but one of wanting to improve the agency for better effectiveness as an organization and for its employees (and product customers). The book also excels at showing the human side to the agency, and helps one understand how actual people thrived or failed in their posts.
I found this a great book to connect to American history and make me appreciate the sacrifices of the people at the agency. If I were to ask the author to change anything in any future revisions, is to add more potential solutions to the problems leading to the "ashes" described in the title.
The narrator was fantastic!
If you liked Argo as an inside view into the CIA, you'll love this book!
Love excellent narrators like Ray Porter. Love the Joe Ledger series.
1) Regime change did not start with Bush or Iraq. It started with Eisenhower.
2) JFK was not all Camelot. He made the CIA intervene in internal affairs of many countries than any of his predecessors. His obsession with killing Castro and his subsequent assassination may or may not be revenge killing.
3) CIA is not all great as its myth. It was brilliantly bad at its core purpose (to collect intelligence). It was good at wetware operations and regime changes.
4) The CIA was almost always wrong with its intelligence reports, so bad in fact not one President trusted it. Except for the Israeli war, it was wrong on ALL counts.
5) The CIA did not win the Cold war. The USSR lost it.
6) The sheer amount of useless lives lost due to CIA carelessness is criminal.
7) The CIA was a bastard child since its inception was vetoed by the President who refused to sign the declaration and killed the OSS.
If you are at all a student of history then you will find this book to be an outstanding, and detailed, recount of the CIA and its activities since WWII. This is important history for any American to understand how and why we are viewed the way we are in the world.
I plan on listening to Legacy of Ashes a second time, perhaps a third.
One of my past times now that I am in my sixties, is reading material that offers a much more truthful perspective on events I grew up witnessing, events that profoundly shaped who I am today. We knew we were not being told the truth about the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Books like The Legacy of Ashes help me make more sense of all the senseless violence and better understand the forces that created so much suffering.
Legacy of Ashes is the only Stefan Rudnicki book I have read.
The part of the book that discussed the ways that the CIA deliberately created suffering in South East Asia, lied about America's actions in the Vietnam War, reconnected me to all those old feelings of sadness and anger over the senseless death of so many people.
Say something about yourself!
I was very disappointed with this book. The author just cherry-picks the data which supports his opinion and ignores the rest. I cannot recommend it as something worth reading.
If you found this review helpful, please let me know. Cheers!
No extreme reaction. This book only proved what I have believed about the CIA for decades.
It is amazing to me that those in charge have so often given "misinformation" to our Presidents!!!!
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis
Many interesting facts about the CIA. One of the most interesting... after 9/11 the president talked to the head of the CIA about a national ID card. And about injecting an ID chip into all ameracan citizens. Very well narrated. But since this book recounts boocoo CIA failures it is depressing at times.
It ranks high but is depressing to learn that the USA is trying to steal, lie, and cheat so much.
Now that Petraeus has had an affair why not get rid of the CIA and give it to someone else?
I am a Vietman era Vet and so the Vietnam info was helpful to process.
Eisenhower was right, don't believe a word they say.
You need to listen to it or read it.
I would listen to this again and have listened too this more than once. There is so much information and so many stories that every time I read it I pick more and more.
I loved the level of detail and how it helped to give my a better picture of what happened in the past and how it helped shape the present and future.
It made my in awe at points and laughing at others.
Read this book if you love history, or spy stories, or just want to know what is going on in the world. It is a great read.