GENTLEMAN SPY by Peter Grose


The Life of Allen Dulles
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 A compelling biography of a man who was present at the birth of America's foreign intelligence apparatus and went on to run the CIA under presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Grose (A Changing Israel, 1985, etc.) demystifies the master spy and presents Dulles the man, brilliant in his career yet quite flawed in his personal life. A former New York Times reporter and managing editor of Foreign Affairs, the author says that he received no cooperation (and thus no censoring) from the CIA for this book. Dulles (18931969), he shows, came from a diplomatic lineage: His brother John Foster Dulles was Eisenhower's secretary of state, a position also held by their grandfather John W. Foster under Benjamin Harrison and by their uncle Robert Lansing under Woodrow Wilson. Nevertheless, it was against the wishes of his father, a Presbyterian minister, that Dulles pursued a career in the foreign service. Grose illustrates the contrast between John, the stern moralist, and his brother Allen, the bon vivant who often ignored his family not only for his work but also for several extramarital affairs. He got his first taste of intelligence work as a junior diplomat during WW I and, after leaving the diplomatic corps in the 1920s, prospered as an international lawyer. When the US entered WW II, Dulles joined the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the CIA. The pinnacle of his career came when he was named to head the CIA at the height of the Cold War. Grose details CIA interventions in Guatemala and Iran as well as anti- Soviet intelligence operations. Grose also offers the necessary complement to any biography of Dulles--a thorough examination of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which led to his dismissal by Kennedy, who felt duped by the CIA into backing the anti-Castro invasion. Grose's outstanding study of a remarkable life gives readers insight into both a period of history and the development of the CIA.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1994
ISBN: 0-395-51607-2
Page count: 576pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994


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