• Surprise, Kill, Vanish

  • The Definitive History of Secret CIA Assassins, Armies and Operators
  • By: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Surprise, Kill, Vanish

By: Annie Jacobsen
Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
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Publisher's Summary

The definitive, character-driven history of CIA covert operations and US government-sponsored assassinations, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain.  

Since 1947, domestic and foreign assassinations have been executed under the CIA-led covert action operations team. Before that time, responsibility for taking out America's enemies abroad was even more shrouded in mystery. Despite Hollywood notions of last-minute rogue operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually a cog in a colossal foreign policy machine, moving through, among others, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the House and Senate Select Committees. At the end of the day, it is the President, not the CIA, who is singularly in charge.  

When diplomacy fails and overt military action is not feasible, the President often calls on the Special Activities Division, the most secretive and lowest profile branch of the CIA. It is this paramilitary team that undertakes dramatic and little-known assignments: hostage rescues, sabotage and, of course, assassinations.   

For the first time, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times best-selling author Annie Jacobsen takes us deep inside this top-secret history. With unparalleled access to former operatives, ambassadors and even past directors of the Secret Service and CIA operations, Jacobsen reveals the inner workings of these teams and just how far a US President may go, covertly but lawfully, to pursue the nation's interests.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Anne M. Jacobsen (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Surprise, Kill, Vanish

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    5 out of 5 stars

horrible reading voice but amazing book

I almost deleted this book after a chapter as I could not stomach the authors reading voice, but as I grit my teeth and tried to ignore it the story kept me enticed enough to finish the book. Amazing book and amazing stories, but personally I would've preferred another narator

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Soldiers in the shadows

Annie Jacobsen has pulled the curtain open into the deniable world of the Assassin. You meet some of the characters who make up this elite community. You learn the history of this seldom heard from seldom recognized group of individuals who actually make a huge impact on the United States foreign policy. The Third Hand. The Presidents third option. Enjoy one Hell of a listen!!!!!!

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Best book

Really gets into the hidden hand the Cia has everywhere in the world. So great!

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  • Chadman
  • 10-29-19

Awesome

Really interesting, but a long book. I look forward to all this authors work going on .

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jampot
  • 05-27-21

Narration

I understand the hubris behind it, but the author’s reading is numbing. Just for me anyway the voice, tone and studied enunciations just distract me from the story and put me to sleep. This is the second of her books I’ve downloaded and I should have learnt my lesson. I so wanted to get into and like both books. But with audiobooks the voice is everything, some people have it, some don’t. This is where the preview is so crucial. There are great books I’ll skip if the reader is no good

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul Chambers
  • 01-19-21

Meh

This book has the potential to be great. Sadly, it never reaches that potential. Although the subject matter is very interesting if you’re into the clandestine nature of the CIA’s wet work teams, the author has chosen to narrate this herself rather than have someone more suitable do the job. Although her writing abilities are fine her voice is monotone, sounding throughout like the voice that tells me my Bluetooth headphones are now connected.

I found my mind drifting to other topics and frequently realised I had to go back and re-listen to whole sections as I had become so bored by the monotonous narration that I had switched off.

A great subject matter, interesting information but poorly delivered.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Reginaldo Barbosa
  • 10-04-20

Oops, she did again!

She's a genius. One of the best books ever written. Billy Waugh is real human who looks like a Video Game hero.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gordon B
  • 08-25-20

Great book again by the author

Great book but as others have said it doesn't really get going until chapter 11. After this chapter it's fantastic

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • stephen dolan
  • 08-21-20

great book

great read would highly recommend couldn't put it down. will be reading mire books by annie going forward

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zombiesatemybrain
  • 05-22-20

Excellent content, narration a bit flat/robotic

Excellent content. Difficult to get into as narration flat and robotic throughout. Definitely worth persevering

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hew
  • 05-31-19

A blooming good book that's narrated very well.

Amazing insight into the creation, operations and Modus operandi of the CIA. Truly fascinating. I practically listened to it all in one sitting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-27-23

Great first half but falls off in the second

Great insight and stories with a few intriguing protagonists. I felt it started to dwindle a bit from the mid-point to the end but worth a listen if you're interested in the history of the CIA and it's predecessors.

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  • Mr Maurice A. Henry
  • 12-03-22

Excellent

An awesome tour through the decades of covert warfare and the rule of unintended consequences. The author has a perfect voice for audiobooks. Well written and full of great stories Surprise, Kill, Vanish is one to include in any list of must read military history books.

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  • adrian
  • 03-05-20

Dubious

Dubious content.

Written with the slant that 9-11 follows the official narrative.

Just propaganda pretending to be real info.

Pretty dull to boot.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-15-20

Good content, hard to listen to

Found the content interesting and well researched / put together, but the audio book would have benefited from having a better reading.

Had to give up a short way in, will have to download an eBook version to finish it.

The reading is slow and drags on, and I found it hard to listen for more than 15/20 minutes at a time without drifting off or losing interest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-20

Fantastic

Fantastic book
Throughly enjoyed this extremely well researched book.
I thought the authors voice narrating the book was excellent too.
I couldn’t stop listening.


1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-16-19

amazing

great book! really well read and researched.
unbiased account of the history of the CIA

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 06-17-19

A huge eye opener

The series of stories are amazing and you get to learn about everyday people doing amazing (or terrible) things. It confirms alot of assumptions and rumours. Well worth it!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-21-21

Comprehensive

Slow to start but brilliantly sets the scene for what follows. There's so much more to the CIA than I first thought.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-25-20

Compelling, Informative and Accurate.

Jacobsen’s account of para military activity since its inception is thoroughly researched, riveting and a non biased account. Should be mandatory reading so as to understand the power of government and the impact of war.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. McDonald
  • 03-04-20

Incredible story

Amazing research by the author to produce an amazing book. Billy Waugh NEEDS to go on the Joe Rogan Experience

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason Donaldson
  • 01-09-20

Awesome Read.

Great book. Very detailed and engaging. Jacobsen's attention to detail and level of research is outstanding.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-20-19

A gripping book. I was unable to stop listening.

Billy Waugh is everything I wanted to be as a child. This book made me realise just how much some people give up for our freedom.