BookBrowse Reviews Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner

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Legacy of Ashes

The History of the CIA

By Tim Weiner

Legacy of Ashes
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2007,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: May 2008,
    832 pages.

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Amy Reading

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Legacy of Ashes grants some of the keen-eyed vision that the CIA has lacked for so long

Tim Weiner begins his history of the CIA with an unambiguous rebuke: "The most powerful country in the history of civilization has failed to create a first-rate spy service." He warns that the United States' three-hundred-year dominance will evaporate "unless it finds the eyes to see things as they are in the world." For all its covert activities, the CIA's deepest secret, according to Weiner, is how little it knows about other countries and how often it acts blindly, with dire consequences. Since its inception in 1945, the agency has routinely put thousands of agents and their informants in grave danger for mere scraps of intelligence. Just as routinely, the CIA has failed to foresee major threats to American security; the deadly blindsiding on 9/11 has a long and alarming pedigree.

Weiner documents how the agency's failures have been built into its very ...

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