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The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government

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Peter Altschuler

25 Hours 24 Minutes

HarperCollins Publishers

October 2015

Audio Book Summary

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 bestseller 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 U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s 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’s 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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Reviews

  • Katherine H.

    I'm sorry, Brian ... but it's certainly a fact that thousands of Nazis managed to settle in the United States after World War II, often with the direct assistance of American intelligence officials who saw them as potential spies and informants in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. They also worked in scientific fields, for instance, Wernher Von Braun in rocketry. Operation Paperclip, for instance, was a secret US intelligence program in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians, such as Wernher von Braun and his V-2 rocket team, were taken from Germany to the United States, for U.S. government employment, primarily between 1945 and 1959. Conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), Every American student interested in the truth about America post WWII and Allen Dulles should read this book.

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  • Brian W.

    The author provides little or no evidence for the claims he makes in his work. For example, he states that Dulles was instrumental in ensuring many leading Nazis escaped prosecution or were given light sentences. Yet he fails to document a single case. Students interested in post WWII history would be better off reading some of the more thoroughly researched books from the same period.

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  • Conot

    Great Book! A surprisingly honestly historical depiction of one of the strongest and most evil men in US history.

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