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 best seller 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 US government documents, US and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles' 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' 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 exposé 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.
©2015 David Talbot (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
A chilling tale of the Dulles brothers and their vast and I would contend very negative influence on history. Many of today's ills can be traced back to them. I have difficulty with sensationalist stories where "fact" seems too extreme to be plausible, but in this case, most of the "facts" seem to hold together, at least until we get to the Kennedy assassination part, as to which I have no basis to judge. Some of the facts mesh with first hand evidence that I have: my dad worked for CIA in Iran and much of what is related about the Mossadegh affair comports with tales he told to me as a child. I can not know the truth of the Kennedy killings, but at a gut level I know there is more than we have been told or than we will ever know. Allen Dulles was too careful. Although the narration is a bit slow, you grow used to it. The story is compelling, more so because it is true and because we can look in hindsight and see the stupidity and unintended consequences of our nations irrational fear of communism and our imperialist approach to other nations. I is well worth the time.
The descriptions of the Patrice Lamumba's murder and the role of Larry Devline, whom I once met briefly during a visit to Washington DC by Mobutu Sese Seko for whom Mr. Devline worked.
It was ok.
No particular moment, rather a succession of moments leading to the realization that our nation is too hypocritical to accept, and its people too brainwashed to consider for a moment that many of the worlds ills stem from the corruption, greed and fear that formed the core of administrations from the not so distant past. I never liked the Eisenhower administration much, now I detest it. Read the book and see why.
Excellent narration of a detailed and well researched book about how America has been betrayed. This is the story of how two brothers and their associates, followers and inner circle have devastated the American dream. This book shows how conspiracies work and how the unsuspecting public is manipulated into believing the lies. It is a book that should be read, or listened to, by everyone.
This is just one more book about the Dulles brothers but probably the clearest and best explanation of the cold war mess from the US side. While the content made me sick to my stomach, the story was well told and I liked the narration just fine. But god those two were destructive psychopaths.
Author of Tsunami of Blood
Every American should read this book. Only then will we come to consciousness about what it's all about.
Paul G. de Jong
so much information and detail our will blow your mind. If only more sensible mind had prevailed instead of this evil class of fascists.
A Disappointed Fan
This book is really good it covers many events that are not generally taught in America I would be interested to have a little more Puerto Rican history as it pertained to the subject but understand this subject can be a never ending rabbit hole and the author has to draw a line some where. If you are a JFK enthusiasts you will love the end of this book, really well sourced.
A page turner.
It was full of intrigue and historical information that helps to inform the current mess in the world today. There was so much information, I will probably listen to it again. It has given me a new perspective on the operation of the intelligence community and the crossover with politics.
I wasn't that impressed with the performance.
This would be a great film
This is a really biased book. Dulles may well have been a very bad man. But you can see where an author stands on issues when he argues that both Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White were not communist spies. The section on the JFK assassination is a mess. There is no consensus even among hardcore conspiracy theorists that Oswald actually visited Sylvia Odio right before the assassination. Most believe that it was an imposter. Also, the "magic bullet" was not the head shot. It was the back/throat shot. The bias combined with the factual errors make the whole book suspect, in my opinion.
"Excellent, complex book"
Fascinating stories, goes way broader then just the JFK assassination, very enjoyable book. Interesting side events and people involved.
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