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Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA | [Tim Weiner]

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

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.
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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 (2158 )
5 star
 (808)
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4.1 (744 )
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Story
4.1 (744 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    David APO, AE, United States 03-08-12
    David APO, AE, United States 03-08-12 Member Since 2010

    Clarkplus

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
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    "Too Many Broken Promises"
    Would you listen to Legacy of Ashes again? Why?

    Yes. In fact I have to hear at least one more time. There is much to digest so multiple hears (is that a word?) is a must.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Reagan because he really helped distroy the agency.


    Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I think this is way too complex and long for a file.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book. Naturally I have no idea how much of this is fact but it all seem possible in such a seedy business. The Department of Defense has much the same mind-set. Sad but true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Glasgow Victor, NY 10-28-11
    Andrew Glasgow Victor, NY 10-28-11 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Shocking & Disturbing"

    This is one of the saddest chapters in American history, and it's not an easy read/listen for anyone coming from a conservative/patriotic mindset. But, it's a story that needed to be told and the lessons still need to be applied. The CIA's incompentence at points would be comical if the implications were not so tragic.

    The narration was just a bit dry/monotone like for my taste, but maybe that's appropriate for this kind of material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David New York, NY, United States 10-20-11
    David New York, NY, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2014
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    "should be required reading for every American"

    This seems to be an unbiased apprasal of the CIA. I majored in American history and this book really explains much of America's reactions to events since WWII. It is a remarkeable commentary on the CIA using concrete analysis of public information and public disclosure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eugene Bonney Lake, WA, United States 05-29-11
    Eugene Bonney Lake, WA, United States 05-29-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    5
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    "Lots of facts, but also a sprinkling of opinion"

    Weiner has done some excellent research. He is an excellent writer who can create a very compelling story. I have read this in print as well as listened to the audio version. What troubles me with this book is that despite his claim that his book represents only the truth he expresses his opinions of motivations, something that cannot be called fact. These are interspersed in the text in places where they seem to flow in the narrative in a way that makes them seem to be as truthful as the actual facts surrounding them.
    I am no fan of the New York Times or its version of truth. Unfortunately, Weiner allows his association with that paper and its editorial viewpoint which flavors its own reporting to affect his writing.
    This is still an excellent history, but one must listen very carefully so as not to be drawn into opinions which are not necessarily supported by the facts in which they are embedded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Lunenburg, MA, United States 04-16-11
    Jack Lunenburg, MA, United States 04-16-11 Member Since 2009

    Avid listener of information that defines what a mess individuals have made of society, humanity and the planet itself.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to know what the real truth is ..."

    The book does a good job of describing an agency that perpetuated its existence with lies and deception - which is what they are all about in the first place anyway. The fact that the author glances over the Kennedy assassinations and misrepresents the Iran hostage crisis as something other than the CIA making a deal to keep them in captivity to ensure the election of their old boss (Bush) as Vice President makes you wonder where do the lies and deception in the book itself begin and end. The sad fact is that this country was taken down the wrong path time and again and no one had to pay the price - just like what is happening in Washington today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bronson Marietta, GA, United States 03-14-11
    Bronson Marietta, GA, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2010
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    "It's Hard to Focus on This Book"

    I thought this was a good book. Many interesting things are discussed in the book and many of the things I learned from this book, gave me some interesting perspectives and thoughts on management. The problem I had with this book was that I found myself continuously distracted and unable to focus. I think it's the narrator. He's okay, but a little monotone and it takes a little bit off the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peter Pound Ridge, NY United States 01-05-11
    peter Pound Ridge, NY United States 01-05-11

    A transplanted Englishman, I spend my time on biography, history and military books. I appreciate good English and good narration.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The CIA - A Slanted Viewpoint"

    This is well written, well narrated book and the subject matter is interesting from several points of view: knowledge of how the CIA was created; how it works; who does the work; the events in which they have been involved; how Washington uses the Agency; the characters who built the CIA; the inner machinery of foreign governments, the coups d'etat and the assasinjmations of heads of state.

    So why only 3 Stars? The Author allows his basic perspective to percolate his position; everything the CIA does is described as a disaster. Sure, there have been mistakes, ad management, political intrigue and dipomatic bungles. But this is tough work and is done by brave men and women who have given their lives for the US, in may cases.

    Tim Weiner's incessant whining and deprecation of their efforts becomes exhausting, even objectionable, I found myself sifting through the story to get to the facts, for to some extent, these is some good research.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg United States 07-28-10
    Greg United States 07-28-10 Member Since 2015
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    "Biased but still a decent listen."

    A Legacy of Ashes tells you the bias right from the beginning. The only thing that I think is misleading is that part that says "The History of". I was really hoping for more of an open ended analysis and look into the workings and history of the CIA. Unfortunately this book is really an op-ed about the failings of the Agency. It's very obviously written from the perspective of a reporter, and I got the sense that he was very proud of his connections and reporting that he has done over the years. Unfortunately the writing was very much in the style of whistle blowing and attention grabbing reporting rather than historical analysis.

    I'm not saying I disagree with a lot of the conclusions, but I think the book could have been much more nuanced in its look at the CIA. I feel like a lot of the context was absent for the actions of the organizations and people in the book. It's really easy to sit in an ivory tower and look back at the many failings.

    Despite all of the bias it still worked as a survey of the failings and scandals that have plagued the Agency. It really is mind boggling all of the ineptitude and botched operations. I really wanted another look at the CIA after reading Charlie Wilson's War which was fairly pro-CIA (at least pro to their ideals) and The Looming Tower which was anti-CIA. I'd still recommend this book, but with certain misgivings towards the author's blatant angle.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy hoevelakenNetherlands 08-19-09
    Andy hoevelakenNetherlands 08-19-09 Member Since 2008
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    "Andy"

    A compelling read (listen). A historical insight into America's CIA involvement in the world.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gare Washington, DC, USA 07-06-09
    Gare Washington, DC, USA 07-06-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Informative but not insightul"

    An excellent summary of recently released secret documents...but not much more.

    gare.henderson@gmail.com

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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