The causes of Goodman’s vitriol are indeed worrisome, but his countless repetitions grow wearisome.

WHISTLEBLOWER AT THE CIA

AN INSIDER'S ACCOUNT OF THE POLITICS OF INTELLIGENCE

A former CIA analyst (1966-1990) deplores what he argues is the increasing deleterious politicization of the agency.

In his latest book, Goodman—who has taught at the National War College, held other intelligence-related positions, and written earlier accounts of what he sees as a very troubled agency (Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, 2008, etc.)—thoroughly rages against the corruption he has viewed in the highest ranks of the CIA. There are themes and incidents that he strikes repeatedly like clamorous gongs: President Harry Truman’s original vision of the CIA, the author’s 1991 appearance before a Congressional committee to oppose the appointment of Robert Gates as Director of the CIA, the defense of Edward Snowden, and the failures of the mainstream media to pay attention to the politicization of the agency. Goodman takes shots at pretty much everyone (save himself and his wife, who also served in the agency), including all the presidents since Truman, the media, and virtually all the CIA directors (save the ones in charge when he began in the 1960s). He continually administers severe hammer strokes to President George W. Bush and his team for the Iraq War and for the false/distorted intelligence they used to whip up public support. But the bone he simply cannot release bears the face of Gates. Repeatedly, he tells us that he and Gates were once friends and then follows with accounts of one egregious Gates deed/maneuver/lie after another. (Unfortunately, he repeats them often, sometimes with similar diction.) The author also savages Gates’ memoirs and returns constantly to the 1991 Congressional testimony. Over and over, we hear about Gates’ rise in the agency, which Goodman attributes to callous, unethical manipulations. The author does provide some useful inside information about other notable cases—Iran-Contra, Aldrich Ames, and the Patriot Act.

The causes of Goodman’s vitriol are indeed worrisome, but his countless repetitions grow wearisome.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-87286-730-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: City Lights

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more