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Into Tibet: The CIA's First Atomic Spy and His Secret Expedition to Lhasa
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Into Tibet: The CIA's First Atomic Spy and His Secret Expedition to Lhasa

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  7 reviews
For over fifty years the CIA has closely guarded the identity of the first agent killed in the line of duty -- the unnamed First Star on the outfit's Wall of Honor. That agent was Douglas Mackiernan. His unprecedented atomic intelligence operations helped shape both Central Asia and the CIA as we know them today. His work remains so sensitive that the Agency, even now, wil ...more
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Published December 1st 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published January 1st 2001)
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The book gave a great portrayal of a part of history that is little known. It was also a great story about real life spies that helped develop the history of the United States following WWII. The story progressed like a fiction work in that the author really developed the people to show their personality and what they were like through journals, letters, and a ton of historical research. I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in spy novels,or World War II history.
This book peaked my interest following a Washington Post story about the first CIA agent killed in the line of duty. Apparently it had taken them upwards of 50 years to publicly acknowledge that Douglas S. MacKiernan was the first CIA agent killed in the line of duty (though he has been the "First Star" on their Wall of Honor for some time now). Conducting a quick Google search, the Wikipedia article on MacKiernan cited often to Into Tibet. This book was absolutely enthralling. I almost felt as ...more
Tenzin Gonsar
A great read detailing the ultimate betrayal of the Tibetan people by the CIA and the US govt. as soon as their personal interests in the plateau were nullified with the normalization of ties between the PRC and the US.
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Interesting for its subject matter: clandestine CIA operations in modern day Xinjiang province (China) and Tibet, during the 1940s. The book deals with two loosely related but separate cases, the United States' struggle to keep 'the bomb' from anyone but themselves and the plan to, covertly, support Tibet in fighting the impending takeover by the Chinese.
Laird writes a bit like the conspiracy theorists who publish in magazines like Nexus. Potentially interesting stuff, but he prefers words like
I don't know how to rate histories, especially histories wherein the narrative line can't exactly be substantiated. I got confused with all the names, the dates, the sides and the goals. However, I got through it and I want to visit Tibet. Perhaps that's the best review I can give a history (as I'm a literature man). On the purely academic side, this book gave a nice contrast to the sugary lies we Americans have been fed about the US's benign presence in the world. If I were you, I'd read it.
Cary Jones
A very engaging story of clandestine activity in the dawn of the atomic age. Douglas Mackiernan was the first CIA operative killed in the line of his duty, which took him to central asia to monitor the development of Soviet bombs.
Robert Shea
An excellent account of how, since WWII, the CIA has created enemies of the US around the world. Laird's personal experience living in the region adds a dimension that enriches his research and the insights which flow from both.
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