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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Los Angeles, CA, CA, USA
  • 11-04-08

Legacy of Ashes

On the eve of the presidential election I can only wonder if our presidential candidates have read/listened to this book. Whomever wins should be required to become intimately acquainted with this work within the first weeks following the election.

It came as a bit of a shock to learn that JFK agreed to remove missiles from Turkey as the quid pro quo for the Russian removal of missiles from Cuba!

I knew that Bobby Kennedy had his fingers in a lot of pies, but not to the extent revealed in this book. It is scary to think that he came close to becoming president.

This book provides an entirely new perspective on our government in general and the CIA in particular.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Anthem, AZ, United States
  • 02-23-08

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

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 01-09-08

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

  • Overall
  • Gerald
  • Willow Grove, PA, United States
  • 08-23-07

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

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Longview, TX, USA
  • 11-26-08

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

  • Overall
  • D
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 05-06-08

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Hardly a History of the CIA

What did you like about this audiobook?

The book is more suited for those who have a strong dislike for the CIA and view the Agency as never having done any good.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Tim Warner's bias against the CIA. Mr. Warner has a strong dislike for the CIA. Mr Warner never tells of even one good project accomplished by the CIA in the thirty or so years he wrote of in the book. I do not especially like the CIA but it appears Mr. Warner really hates the CIA, after all he was with the New York Times.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

Yes, I don't mind Stefan Rudnicki.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

I will have to think awhile about that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Entertaining!

Very good book. Really opens your eyes to just how defunct the CIA really is. The narrator has a good voice and is easy to listen to. Would highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stanley
  • Germantown, WI, United States
  • 11-04-11

Ashes to Ashes

From the authors point of view the CIA has done little succesfully over the last 60 years. It felt like the author began with a bias for which facts were sought. I am sure there were successes, perhaps they were more secret. I would have enjoyed a book which was a bit more balanced. It is the nature of a book like this to not know enough. It made me wonder if the KGB etc, while built up by the author as being subtantially more succesful were more inept than the CIA? It is the nature of a book like this that you are left wondering what is missing from the tale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful