The Devil’s Chessboard
by David Talbot
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 bestseller 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 U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s 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’s 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.
Summary of the Devil’s Chessboard
by Instantread Summary
The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government
by David Talbot
Based on explosive new evidence, bestselling author David Talbot tells 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 exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s wife and mistress, newly discovered U.S. government documents, and U.S. and European intelligence sources – Talbot reveals the underside of one of America’s most powerful and influential figures.
Dulles’s decades 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, culminating in the assassination of his political enemy, John F. Kennedy.
Indeed, The Devil’s Chessboard offers shocking new evidence in the killings of both President Kennedy and his brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy. This is an expose of American power that is as disturbing as it is timely, a provocative and gripping story of the rise of the national security state – and the battle for America’s soul.
A joint biography of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, who led the United States into an unseen war that decisively shaped today’s world
During the 1950s, when the Cold War was at its peak, two immensely powerful brothers led the United States into a series of foreign adventures whose effects are still shaking the world.
John Foster Dulles was secretary of state while his brother, Allen Dulles, was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this book, Stephen Kinzer places their extraordinary lives against the background of American culture and history. He uses the framework of biography to ask: Why does the United States behave as it does in the world?
The Brothers explores hidden forces that shape the national psyche, from religious piety to Western movies—many of which are about a noble gunman who cleans up a lawless town by killing bad guys. This is how the Dulles brothers saw themselves, and how many Americans still see their country’s role in the world.
Propelled by a quintessentially American set of fears and delusions, the Dulles brothers launched violent campaigns against foreign leaders they saw as threats to the United States. These campaigns helped push countries from Guatemala to the Congo into long spirals of violence, led the United States into the Vietnam War, and laid the foundation for decades of hostility between the United States and countries from Cuba to Iran.
The story of the Dulles brothers is the story of America. It illuminates and helps explain the modern history of the United States and the world.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2013
by David Talbot
Season of the Witch
by David Talbot
Oswald and the CIA
by John Newman
by Jefferson Morley
“The best book ever written about the strangest CIA chief who ever lived.” – Tim Weiner, National Book Award-winning author of Legacy of Ashes
A revelatory new biography of the sinister, powerful, and paranoid man at the heart of the CIA for more than three tumultuous decades.
CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton was one of the most powerful unelected officials in the United States government in the mid-20th century, a ghost of American power. From World War II to the Cold War, Angleton operated beyond the view of the public, Congress, and even the president. He unwittingly shared intelligence secrets with Soviet spy Kim Philby, a member of the notorious Cambridge spy ring. He launched mass surveillance by opening the mail of hundreds of thousands of Americans. He abetted a scheme to aid Israel’s own nuclear efforts, disregarding U.S. security. He committed perjury and obstructed the JFK assassination investigation. He oversaw a massive spying operation on the antiwar and black nationalist movements and he initiated an obsessive search for communist moles that nearly destroyed the Agency.
In The Ghost, investigative reporter Jefferson Morley tells Angleton’s dramatic story, from his friendship with the poet Ezra Pound through the underground gay milieu of mid-century Washington to the Kennedy assassination to the Watergate scandal. From the agency’s MKULTRA mind-control experiments to the wars of the Mideast, Angleton wielded far more power than anyone knew. Yet during his seemingly lawless reign in the CIA, he also proved himself to be a formidable adversary to our nation’s enemies, acquiring a mythic stature within the CIA that continues to this day.
by Scott Miller
Agent 110 is Allen Dulles, a newly minted spy from an eminent family. From his townhouse in Bern, Switzerland, and in clandestine meetings in restaurants, back roads, and lovers’ bedrooms, Dulles met with and facilitated the plots of Germans during World War II who were trying to destroy the country’s leadership. Their underground network exposed Dulles to the political maneuverings of the Soviets, who were already competing for domination of Germany, and all of Europe, in the post-war period.
Scott Miller’s “absorbing and bracing” (The Seattle Times) Agent 110 explains how leaders of the German Underground wanted assurances from Germany’s enemies that they would treat the country humanely after the war. If President Roosevelt backed the resistance, they would overthrow Hitler and shorten the war. But Miller shows how Dulles’s negotiations fell short. Eventually he was placed in charge of the CIA in the 1950s, where he helped set the stage for US foreign policy. With his belief that the ends justified the means, Dulles had no qualms about consorting with Nazi leadership or working with resistance groups within other countries to topple governments.
Agent 110 is “a doozy of a dossier on Allen Dulles and his early days spying during World War II” (Kirkus Reviews). “Miller skillfully weaves a double narrative of Dulles’ machinations and those of the German resistance” (Booklist) to bring to life this exhilarating, and pivotal, period of world history—of desperate renegades in a dark and dangerous world where spies, idealists, and traitors match wits and blows to ensure their vision of a perfect future.
JFK and the Unspeakable
by James W. Douglass
At the height of the Cold War, JFK risked committing the greatest crime in human history: starting a nuclear war. Horrified by the specter of nuclear annihilation, Kennedy gradually turned away from his long-held Cold Warrior beliefs and toward a policy of lasting peace. But to the military and intelligence agencies in the United States, who were committed to winning the Cold War at any cost, Kennedy’s change of heart was a direct threat to their power and influence. Once these dark “Unspeakable” forces recognized that Kennedy’s interests were in direct opposition to their own, they tagged him as a dangerous traitor, plotted his assassination, and orchestrated the subsequent cover-up.
Douglass takes readers into the Oval Office during the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, along on the strange journey of Lee Harvey Oswald and his shadowy handlers, and to the winding road in Dallas where an ambush awaited the President’s motorcade. As Douglass convincingly documents, at every step along the way these forces of the Unspeakable were present, moving people like pawns on a chessboard to promote a dangerous and deadly agenda.
JFK and the Unspeakable shot up to the top of the bestseller charts when Oliver Stone first brought it to the world’s attention on Bill Maher’s show. Since then, it has been lauded by Mark Lane (author of Rush to Judgment, who calls it “an exciting work with the drama of a first-rate thriller”), John Perkins (author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, who proclaims it is “arguably the most important book yet written about an American president), and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who calls it “a very well-documented and convincing portrait…I urge all Americans to read this book and come to their own conclusions.”