The unusual purpose of this unusual book is not merely to judge the effectiveness and the dangers inherent in the use of ""covert political operations,"" but to scrutinize the problems which have to be face by any government making use of landestine means to weaken or overthrow other governments. Mr. Blackstock's method combines analysis with historical examples culled from U.S., German, and both Czarist and Soviet Russian experience. Necessarily investigated at some length also are such momentous but little-understood aspects as ""the perennial triangular struggle for control"" among the State Department, the military, and the CIA-type agency-- which usually ends up ""doing the dirty work and catching the blame if anything goes wrong."" The case studies of recent debacles like the Bay of Pigs are astute and especially instructive within this comprehensive and fundamental sort of framework. The author's own feelings about the worth of undercover techniques--that they rarely work and most often worsen a situation--are not unduly stressed, but would seem, in the light of his thorough-going assessment, to be inescapable. Meanwhile he has managed to make sense of a most fascinating, if obscure and misguided, field of endeavour.