Sean Sullivan's Reviews > The Secret History of the CIA

The Secret History of the CIA by Joseph J. Trento
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's review
Jul 19, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: espionage
Read in January, 2007

I am on a bit of a spy kick lately, and I wanted to find a book that was a sort of overview of the history of the CIA. I looked around for something that covered the whole history of the Agency, and really couldn't find anything good, so I settled for this.

In some respects, it is what I wanted - its trashy, full of stories of drunks and mistresses and batshit crazy people. It trashes the famous "Berlin Base" CIA operation, defend James Angelton and makes a case for the CIA being a basically inenpt organization that lost out big to the Russians during the Cold War. It is also not the most reliable book I have ever read.

Trento spends a bunch of time hinting that the Agency was involved in the assassination of JFK and a bunch more time questioning the apparent suicides of a number of agents. I find these segments of the books more than a little doubtful. I guess the book is basically a diversion (and almost a throw back to the good old days when I read tons of conspiracy theory stuff) and not a good history of the CIA. Basically, its a fast read, but I can't really say I would recommend it as anything other than a cheap thrill.
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