• The Devil's Chessboard

  • Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government
  • By: David Talbot
  • Narrated by: Peter Altschuler
  • Length: 25 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-13-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (714 ratings)

Regular price: $55.90

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    507
  • 4 Stars
    132
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    19

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    415
  • 4 Stars
    135
  • 3 Stars
    67
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    17

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    485
  • 4 Stars
    110
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    17
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KTS
  • Houston
  • 02-06-16

Disturbing. Makes you question the company line.

Where does The Devil's Chessboard rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Devil's Chessboard?

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.

What about Peter Altschuler’s performance did you like?

It was ok.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Devil's Chessboard

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.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DS
  • 11-10-15

The clearest explanation of the '50's & '60's

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Courageous Book

Every American should read this book. Only then will we come to consciousness about what it's all about.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

It’s Ok

Some parts are really interesting. Others dull. Author can’t help but let his extreme left wing mindset come through a bit too much. Doesn’t ruin it. But it comes close at times. Give me facts. Not your opinion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great history, decent book.

I am glad I read this book, but it would not have kept me awake on a drive through the night. I occasionally had to make myself focused. I'm very glad that I read it and I would encourage others to do so, just know what you're getting into, a historical narrative.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

WAY too far into the weeds

This could have been made into 7 different books. It constantly trails off into side stories. Not what I thought it was going to be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting

Worth reading, and it did influence perspective, but the book definitely has a point of view

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

narrator painfull

never got past the droning on and on of facts by date. his voice is worse than a tranquilizer making tracking the story impossible.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Everyone should read!

A brilliant account of how and why our nation and world is the way it is now.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim W
  • 03-12-18

Amazing book.

Fascinating from start to finish. A truly terrible story that describes Dulles’ personality and actions as head of CIA

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sebastian Tiplea
  • 01-04-16

Excellent, complex book

Fascinating stories, goes way broader then just the JFK assassination, very enjoyable book. Interesting side events and people involved.