Secret Intelligence

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A companion volume to the PBS-TV series of the same name is a lucid review of the development of U.S. espionage. Based on interviews with spies, policymakers & former CIA directors, this is the fascinating history of American espionage–from the 1919 ‘Red Scare’ to Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair.

Beginning with spying during World War I and World War II, Secret Intelligence moves on to a penetrating analysis of the birth and development of the vast central intelligence network that is constantly in the headlines today. With lucid writing, Ernest Vo an and Blaine Baggett reveal the forces that transformed Truman’s nascent centralized operation into the mammoth system that includes not only the CIA, but the National Security Council, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and all of our military intelligence organizations as well.

They expose some of the startling ways in which our spies have historically operated, and what they have accomplished. And as you read, you’ll understand just how spying works in a democratic society-and how it can easily fail us.

This is brilliant popular history, each chapter a fascinating vignette in itself, yet always contributing to a unifying theme: the difficulties a democratic society faces in a contentious world where secrecy is essential to survival. Based on voluminous documentary sources and interviews with policymakers, spies, and intelligence officials-including one of the last interviews William Casey ever granted – Secret Intelligence  is a vivid one-volume account of American espionage in the twentieth century.

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