FOR THE PRESIDENT'S EYES ONLY by Christopher Andrew

FOR THE PRESIDENT'S EYES ONLY

Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A finely detailed story of American presidents and their relationship to the world of espionage and intelligence. In this sweeping history of the American intelligence community, Andrew demonstrates how the idiosyncracies and experiences of individual leaders--from the exploits of George Washington as spy and spymaster during the Seven Years and Revolutionary wars to George Bush's serving as CIA director--shaped the nature and use of the intelligence services. For instance, the great respect Eisenhower gained for aerial intelligence before and during the D-Day invasions translated during his presidency into the creation of the world's best overhead reconnaissance service. On a stranger note, FDR was so taken with the idea that the Japanese were frightened by bats that he ordered his intelligence services to research the possibility of a surprise bat attack on Japan. Andrew (History/Cambridge Univ.; Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1986, etc.) shows that Americans were latecomers to the intelligence game; only in the first decade of the Cold War did the US become an intelligence superpower. Andrew clearly knows his way around the dark corridors of the history of espionage. He details the actions of the intelligence agencies in the most significant events of the 20th century, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the planning for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, and American preparations for the Gulf War. Andrew chides American presidents-- by the late 20th century, the most informed leaders in the history of the world, he says--for taking their intelligence services for granted or expecting too much from them. He also warns those Americans who, given the fall of the Soviet Union, would cut the funding of the CIA, that in the postCold War period intelligence will be more important than ever. Andrew has a sharp sense of the importance and impact of intelligence and a flair for creating a colorful historical tapestry. (37 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-017037-9
Page count: 672pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994




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