The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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 best seller 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 US government documents, US and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles' 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' 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.
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|Listening Length||25 hours and 23 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||October 13 2015|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #2,347 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#8 in Military Intelligence & Espionage
#19 in Political Freedom & Security
#23 in United States History (Audible Books & Originals)
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To put it perhaps more bluntly than Talbot did, Dulles was a fascist and a Nazi sympathizer who was in conflict with every American president (and the US constitution) from FDR to JFK. Talbot doesn't make that declarative statement, but reading between the lines you can see that his work 'for the Allies' during WWII was as beneficial to the Nazis as it was to our side. He then went on to install war criminals in sensitive CIA posts after the war. Before the war, he and his brother collaborated with US big business to finance Hitler - going all the way back to the 1920s.
Ooops.. should have said spoiler alert before that last paragraph. ;)
Best read in concert with Stephen Kinzer's "The Brothers," which covers much of the same ground but to my mind was quite a bit easier on Allen Dulles and his elder brother John Foster. Without their tireless efforts, US history would doubtless have been spared the Reagan Revolution, the Bush dynasty, and their biggest beneficiary, Dick Cheney.
This is one of those books you can mark as essential, and of which can be said, "If you didn't read this, you don't really know what's going on in the world." As George Santayana said, "those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it." BUT, reading official history isn't enough. You also have to read the 'insider stories' of history to get a full picture, and this book delivers that.
I don't know how long it took David to do all the research for this but it must have been a gargantuan task. Well Done! The world needs more lights like this shined on the scumball psychos who have stolen control of the power structures in govt, military and finance on this planet.
Top reviews from other countries
It's clear the author sees Dulles as pretty much the devil, which makes for a one sided (al be it entertaining) read, but the research is strong and there can be no arguing with most of this stuff. Until the JFK assassination that is. This is where cold hard facts are replaced by lots of circumstantial evidence and hearsay from a motley crew of characters. He might be right, but it sort of spirals into a JFK rabbit hole after being an impeccably researched book for so long. That's why I give it 4 starts and not 5. But wow it's a scary and thrilling read.
The book is very useful when considering the current Deep State v President controversy; these guys don't like to be disobeyed!
For a former boss, J. J. Angleton, 'it is inconceivable that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government'.
But there is more, 'even the top spymaster was not fully aware of all the murky activities of his services'. The 'paranoid reality' (C. Wright-Mills) created by secret operations (words and deeds) all over the world, rages also within the agencies themselves.
For David Talbot, the secret services consist of 'a subterranean network of financial, intelligence and military interests', representing the influence of the corporate class, the imperial power of some families. This power elite invokes national security to disguise their shenanigans. For them, 'war is the health of the state', because war fever empowers the political and military corporate sector.
The book comments also extensively on major historical events, like 'the crime of the century' (J. F. Kennedy), the murder of P. Lumumba, the coup against C. De Gaulle, or the hiring of ex-Nazis (R. Gehlen).
A very revealing book about the way of the world. A must read.