This is a real masterpiece of journalism. This is obvious: covert operations thrive on secrecy, not openness. Intelligence is secret action aimed at understanding or changing what goes on abroad. One story that I was expecting to read never appeared: the story of how Weiner researched and wrote the book itself. The last chapters of Weiner's book are devoted to the period just before and after Sept.
But these few plusses do not overcome the essential fact that Legacy of Ashes is a narrowly-focused and biased account. Allen Dulles was a genius who should have been canned but like Hoover he had the dirt on everyone who mattered. Other parts of the book read like Greek tragedy. Contact Information By postal mail: Central Intelligence Agency Office of Public Affairs Washington, D. By deciding to encompass the whole history of failure, Weiner doesn't have any space to dedicate to things like context, detail, or character. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U. Getting vast numbers of analysts or agents unsuited to the task is probably not going to yield the kind of information we wish we had.
The Pentagon Papers written by McNamara — secret history of the Vietnam War since 1954. Wise, Washington Post, 22 Jul. They succeeded in doing so, and Castillo Armas took over, ushering in 40 years of death squads and murder. Nor is it the well researched work that many reviewers say it is. This highly tendentious book should be viewed the same way as a good novel: a lively read not to be trusted as history. Weiner one star for this 'book,' which is not a book at all.
The errors of fact in Legacy of Ashes are numerous and of the kind that a half-way diligent graduate student would spot. But the analysts in it who did research and reporting, really quite useful. He died not quite five years ago at the age of 89, and in my estimation, probably the best director of Central Intelligence the country ever had. Weiner is not honest about context, he is dismissive of motivations, his expectations for intelligence are almost cartoonish, and his book too often is factually unreliable. Weiner failed both to correctly read his secondary source and to check primary sources.
We got most everything wrong. Anyway, Gary Webb's story is depressing: it's the story of a naive chump who discovers something interesting and begins asking questions about the interesting thing and later discovers that businesses do not want people to ask interesting questions and that they will make it impossible for interesting question askers to make a living. Weiner contends that they could not grow up to the task of understanding foreign culture, language, politics. When it comes to the Western intelligence agencies, one would think, with a seemingly bottomless budget and access to vast congeries of technology, weaponry, and personnel - state-of-the-art all - there would be few secrets, allied or enemy, incapable of being swiftly ferrete Oddly enough, it was that early on opened my eyes to the fact that intelligence work was not conducted with the hyper-competency and machinelike efficiency with which it was depicted in most fiction. This is the best argument in the book; the author should have focused on this one more. Can you tell us a little bit for the audience who have not yet read Legacy of Ashes about Allan Dulles? Since its inception in 1945, the agency has routinely put thousands of agents and their informants in grave danger for mere scraps of intelligence. The failures are epic and breathtaking.
But it turns out that Murphy was her poodle. Because really, from start to finish, the Agency has proven a monumental failure. It forced changes in the Agency, which was decimated after the fall of the Soviet Union, which caught the vast arsenal of analysts completely by surprise. That's great if you're doing research, but is a torturous read; a friend of mine summed it up nicely: he can write great sentences, but he has no idea how to put sentences together into paragraphs. For some reason, the story of Frank Wisner - a wartime agent runner who sent countless covert teams to their deaths via nighttime drops into an Albanian countryside pre-warned of their coming, and who seemed to learn little of value from this exercise in lethal futility - and his descent into insanity and suicide particularly haunted me. Still, if you can stand the slog, the read is worth it.
Tim Weiner - Legacy of Ashes Tim Weiner Legacy of Ashes Weiner, Tim. In truth 'Legacy' deserves a four-star rating; it's just that I cannot stand the Maureen Dowd school of mean-girl journalistic writing. And then when they discovered their mistake, they just buried it. She had a whole room of Hmong kids. In 2007 many Americans who think of the C.
But it isn't fair to indict the book for what it isn't. We have gone sixty years now without solving this. Rival clans were stealing aid and killing one another. Even the ones who lay down their lives for us. An examination of his notes, however, suggest that he made relatively little use of the fruits of such labors, which seldom produce the biting lines and colorful turns of phrase found in interviews and oral histories, which he most relies on. This is a devastating book. And then we can go out and win this war.
When it began, The Agency was obsessed with Soviet power around the world and a balance of that power. It's predictable and sad because the net result is American lives lost. Do you, in retrospect, view that as a good action on their part, and a wisely calculated move? Highly readable and well-researched, Legacy of Ashes is an important book right now was some fundamentals of democracy are being called to attention and in some cases destroyed by Drumpf's government. Now people will hold up the killing of Bin Laden as a gr This book is fantastic and something every American should read. As it is, the achievement of Legacy of Ashes is as an historical artifact. It has been described as everything between a boarding school and a boot camp. And that turned out to be a terrible mistake.
This is an amazing book, Mr. Instead of data and intelligence being used to better our country, Presidents have simply used it to further their preconceived notions, doctoring intelligence to meet their needs. However, we are in a bad position right now, because much of the Islamic world views our present situation in Iraq not a lot differently from the way they viewed, and I know this is a terrible thing to say, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It is the personal cost, that of so many committed men broken on the wheel of futility, that is the most stinging legacy of all. So in part, I wrote this book to give people an idea about what happens when intelligence fails.