In September 2022 the United States will commemorate CIA’s 75th birthday. The proposed book will be a thoughtful and balanced counterpoint to the celebratory and hostile accounts we can expect to appear. It advances a central thesis, that the Agency’s original and continuing purpose was not just the delivery of intelligence, but also its delivery in a manner that commanded attention. To achieve that goal, the CIA had to be in good standing. It is never helpful to convey the truth, if nobody respects you enough to listen. Without standing, the CIA cannot influence, and loses its raison d’être. The book will expound that theme by applying unmatched expertise to a narrative of events ranging from the empowerment of the Shah of Iran in 1953 to the overthrow of Soviet communism in the 1980s, and the more recent killing of Osama bin Laden.
• long enough to embrace the main events in the CIA’s history, but short enough to be read in its entirety, and not acquired just for the coffee table
• supersedes the “official” view that the Agency was the product of World War II and of British tuition
• advantages and disadvantages of the decline of Ivy League leadership in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs (1961)
• unique dissection of the CIA’s findings on the escalation of American participation in the Vietnam War
• tricks of the trade, ranging from buying up all the printing ink in France to arranging reverse assassinations of one’s own confederates in Nicaragua
• profiles of CIA whistleblowers from Philip Agee to Edward Snowden
• CIA’s role in Reagan’s successful bid to end European communism and with it the Cold War
• 9/11 as a false stimulant of intelligence reform
• the shift from rendition to homicide and the declining reputation of the CIA
• President Donald Trump’s disregard and then discovery of the CIA
Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones was born in Wales and received his higher education in Aberystwyth (BA, Alun Lewis Memorial Prize), Michigan, Harvard and Cambridge (PhD). He held post doctoral fellowships at Harvard, Free University Berlin and Toronto. Founder and now honorary president of the Scottish Association for the Study of America, he is emeritus professor of history at the University of Edinburgh. His books have appeared in several languages. They include In Spies We Trust: The Story of Western Intelligence (OUP, 2013) and The American Left: Its Impact on Politics and Society since 1900 (Edi...
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