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Secret History: The CIA�s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954
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Secret History: The CIA�s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952-1954

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In 1992, the Central Intelligence Agency hired the young historian Nick Cullather to write a history (classified “secret” and for internal distribution only) of the Agency’s Operation PBSUCCESS, which overthrew the lawful government of Guatemala in 1954. Given full access to the Agency’s archives, he produced a vivid insider’s account, intended as a training manual for cov...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Stanford University Press
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Marko Santos
Terrible, simply terrible what the CIA from that time has done to my country, the repercussion of their action left a visible and palpable scar on the current Guatemalan society, now I believe the present is now and is our responsibility what future we construct from it. Still great damage has been made.

I find importance in history as we can identify patterns and work towards avoiding the same mistakes humanity has made for centuries. The book concludes in showing a pattern of actions taken by t...more
Marla McMackin
Secret History is the product of one year Nick Cullather spent as a staff historian at the Central Intelligence Agency. His job was to use still-classified documents to create a training manual, a cautionary tale for new recruits that focused on Operation PBSUCCESS to overthrow Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. When it was declassified in 1997 and published in 1999, Secret History was the first detailed account of how the CIA carried out the operation.

Cullather’s narrative is both secondary an...more
Well researched look at PBSUCCESS, the CIA's coup in Guatemala. Cullather uses the CIA's own records to craft a powerful narrative that shows an ill conceived and executed operation which had a powerful impact on American Cold War policy.
This book details the events of the CIA's operation to overthrow Guatamalan president Arbenz. This analysis uses declassified government documents collected which provides an interesting perspective of what CIA and the executive branch believed covert operations could produce in the 50's and 60's. It is disappointing that the US promoted an operation that goes against international law, helped provide the inaccurate perceptions of covert action leading to future blunders in Cuba and Vietnam, and...more
It's books like these that sometimes make me embarrassed to be an American. The title is pretty self explanatory. Really the conclusion is that the American supported coup in Guatemala was successful because the CIA got lucky, not because expert planning had gone into the operation. In reality, the CIA had very little understanding of what was happening on the ground in Guatemala.
Julien Gorbach
This book written by Cullather when he was a CIA staff historian goes a long way to explaining the mistakes the United States made during the Cold War, and their wide-ranging, catastrophic consequences.
Mar 24, 2009 James added it
A true story of frightening incompetence that has been repeated again and again in this last half century.
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