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Legacy of Ashes Audiobook

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

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Publisher's Summary

This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

Legacy of Ashes is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA. Everything is on the record. There are no anonymous sources, no blind quotations. With shocking revelations that will make headlines, Tim Weiner gets at the truth and tells us how the CIA's failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security.

©2007 Tim Weiner; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Absorbing...a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy." (Publishers Weekly)
"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2604 )
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  •  
    Linda Anthem, AZ, United States 02-23-08
    Linda Anthem, AZ, United States 02-23-08
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    "Fascinating; starts slowly"

    Having read great reviews of this on Amazon, I was, at first, a bit disappointed because it started out rather boringly. About half-way through Part 1, it started to deliver on the promise.

    I actually knew about the involvement of the CIA in all the things the author wrote about; however, I didn't know details. Plus, having it all laid out in one document made it all the more disturbing.

    Don't misunderstand; I think we the USA (and every country) needs to have an intelligence agency. I'm not a "wacky liberal" (have never voted anything but Republican, in fact). I'm in no way opposed to intelligence gathering. A government would be negligent not to have such an agency. However, I am opposed to many/most/all covert operations. Firstly, because they are generally immoral and illegal. And second, because of the long term affects. I lived in Central America and know what CIA activities there have done to American prestige and credibility. What it's done in the Mideast has contributed greatly to(I don't say "caused") the problems we have there.

    Finally, it is just plain frightening to know that - excuse me for saying it - but that such stupid people, have held so much unrestrained power.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A structural engineer Pasadena, CA United States 02-07-08
    A structural engineer Pasadena, CA United States 02-07-08 Member Since 2011
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    "Would the US have been better off without the CIA?"

    An outstanding, thorough, apparently well-supported and fairly balanced overview of the history of the CIA, this book also sheds light on antidemocratic policies and illegal strategies of several US presidents who used and abused the agency. Using recently declassified internal CIA documents and Congressional testimony, the author argues that CIA officials have long exaggerated the agency's accomplishments. In the aftermath of its catastrophes they have asserted that only its few failures are made public, but that supposedly numerous successes can never be known. The author offers convincing evidence that this is a myth--that the agency has had few successes worthy of pride, and that the overwhelming body of its work has been so counterproductive that the reader ends up feeling the US would have been better off had the CIA never been formed. The reasons are partly structural--the nature of the agency, how it is funded and overseen--and partly driven by the personalities and capabilities of its leadership. The book is well complemented by John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which tells a related story about disturbing contributions of the private sector to American foreign policy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Dallas, TX, USA 01-09-08
    Jason Dallas, TX, USA 01-09-08
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    "eye opening"

    Tim Weiner reveals truths about our government, and the CIA in particular, that tie together seemlingly unrelated historical events into a larger portrait of good-intentioned failure on the part of the CIA. Explains a lot about how and why America got involved in Korea, Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the bombing of the Cole, 9/11, and the Iraq War. Definitely recommend.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald Willow Grove, PA, United States 08-23-07
    Gerald Willow Grove, PA, United States 08-23-07
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    "A surpise!"

    Considering the author's NY Times resume, I was not surprised at the discussion of poor CIA performance under Ike. But when he slammed the Kennedy brothers in a later chapter, I got interested.

    It's an even-handed destruction of the CIA, as we thought it existed. It rings true, to my dismay.

    "Dilbert's World" exists - with real world problems as a result.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Longview, TX, USA 11-26-08
    Jason Longview, TX, USA 11-26-08
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    "Very intresting however a little slanted"

    I highly recommend anyone to read this book. While it is long and admittedly I stopped listening to it for a long time, it has opened my eyes and explained in detail many historic events. While I won't give anything away in the book, I am quite honestly surprised the CIA didn't start us a war with a few nations due to failed or exposed CIA missions. But who knows, they could have and it could still be classified.

    I will say that the author seems to be slanted in his views. He seems to pull out and explain many many failed missions he doesn't go into as much detail in the missions that were a success. Successful missions he lists and explains seem less than what you can count on two hands. I find it hard to believe the CIA has been that ineffective. CIA is no James Bond but if they were truly that unsuccessful then they would have been abolished long ago.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Washington, DC, United States 05-06-08
    D Washington, DC, United States 05-06-08 Member Since 2016
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    "An Amazingly Comprehensive Indictment"

    This book is a surprisingly refreshing look at the often revered American intelligence community. It's non-partisan and thoughtful insight into the history of the CIA is an must listen for anyone who cares about the future of the United States.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shamu from New York New York 06-09-12
    Shamu from New York New York 06-09-12

    Interests in Design/Engineering, Architecture, & History

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    "it won a pulitzer...."

    Ok, so it won a Pulitzer. The research is there, no doubt. Very good job doing the research. However, note that the title is "Legacy of Ashes" - it's got an angle from the very beginning, and the book sets out to substantiate this opinion. The books swings from epic failure to epic failure, and even if there is a successful mission, the moral burden and the consequences are presented in a way that even successes can be perceived as failures in their own way.

    I am far from a CIA basher, but I find that even though and even if all the content is correct, I'm somehow being fed a cynic's presentation and negative viewpoint.

    The narrator's voice gets droning after a while.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sfds Fjklj Oak Creek, WI United States 02-06-10
    Sfds Fjklj Oak Creek, WI United States 02-06-10 Member Since 2008

    McQ

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    "Excellent Book"

    As a 35 year-old reading this book, I found it fascinating learning about what happened in the inner workings of the CIA before I was born. Some of what you read hear contradicts what you learned in school, other tales are just simply unbelievable. This book shows you what we are capable of doing in the name of freedom.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Kenilworth , IL, USA 05-02-09
    Kathleen Kenilworth , IL, USA 05-02-09 Member Since 2016
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    "excellent narration"

    This is the best use of voice change I have ever heard. The narrator modifies or adds only a hint of an accent instead of a complete change. He is a very talented and unique reader.
    The book itself is extremely interesting and articulate as if it was written to be spoken.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JerryL 03-04-09
    JerryL 03-04-09 Member Since 2013

    JR

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    "Thank you Mr. Weiner...this book is five stars!"

    This is simply the finest audiobook I have ever listened to about the CIA and the political environment in Washington. The author takes great pains to provide unvarnished and untainted facts about how the CIA has become an emasculated intelligence agency that has lost its sense of purpose and direction.
    When I first started listening, I thought Weiner was taking partisan swipes at the republican presidents and politicians; however I quickly discovered he is completely apolitical in his analysis of the mostly inept and certainly ill-conceived presidential orders with which the agency was saddled.
    Moreover, Weiner conveys to the reader just how incapable, recalcitrant and uninformed many of the agencies directors were and apparently are. Example after example is cited in the book of rouge agents, dishonest politicians, shoddy congressional oversight and presidential indifference.
    This book stunned me, depressed me and frankly scared the hell out of me. It will leave you with so many questions that you will not stop thinking about it for days afterward.
    Bravo Mr. Weiner, I hope this book becomes required reading for any Political Science student; for that matter, all students and US Citizens.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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