Bob R Bogle's Reviews > Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner
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May 08, 2012

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bookshelves: other-nonfiction
Read from May 08 to June 11, 2012

I listened to the audio book version, which was probably the best way to go, as I imagine reading it physically could become occasionally dry and overbearing, as the tone is somewhat monotonous.

This is a fascinating story that is at turns astonishing, compelling, informative, and finally discouraging and depressing. What I found to be most interesting, and perhaps most unexpected, is how much Cold War-era history is made to make sense even as it transpires outside the narrow corridors of national intelligence (so-called). Our recent history since the end of WWII, I would argue, is that which is least deeply understood or appreciated by Americans, despite the fact that these are the times in which we have lived and are living now. This book has made me hungrier for knowledge about the nature of the Cold War, and about the true scale of a global communist threat. It seems to me it's far past the time that we should have started to set aside some of our myth-making and start trying to tell the tale of our recent history in a more realistic and less ideological manner.

After the end of the Cold War we were, of course, plunged into the so-called War on Terror. I must say that much of what this book reveals about our serious failures in waging this war has never been made more clear. I do not really take any book that sets out to reveal secret history to provide the final answers on the subject, but this particular book certainly does an excellent job of provoking the reader to ask the most important questions.

I "like this book" more than I "really like this book," but I think it probably deserves more than the three of five stars I was able to give it in my rating.
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