Despite an inflammatory opening sentence ("Democracy depends upon secret intelligence for its survival. . .") this is a dispassionate, comprehensive study of the CIA from its inception through the mid-'80s, emphasizing the "distinctive problems" foisted on the Agency by the democratic process--an obsession with crisis prediction, restriction to foreign work, and American Gestapo fears. Edinburgh U. lecturer Jeffrey-Jones discusses, among other items, the supreme CIA facts-manipulator (Kissinger and its most polished director (Allen Dulles), as well as its bumpy ride with Congress and American presidents Truman, Johnson, and Ford (who banned its assassinations), and its resurgence under Reagan. Weakest in discussing the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-contra situation, the book is chilling in its documentation of the Agency's "Golden Age" accomplishments during the 1950's, its Albanian misadventure, the Mossadegh coup, and its use of Nazi war criminals as intelligence informants. Thorough, clear, and readable: of interest to armchair political strategists and students of political exigencies.