It was the mission of American spymaster Allen Welsh Dulles, brother of John Foster and director of the CIA from 1953 until 1961 (when he was forced to resign after the Bay of Pigs debacle) to save the world from the perils of communism. While working as a free-lance operator with a cover as a senior partner in a Wall Street law firm, Dulles first established the CIA's controversial policy of interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Seeking to drive a wedge between Moscow and its satellite countries designed to splinter the Stalinist monolithic empire, he arranged for a high-ranking double agent to uncover a fictitious conspiracy reaching into the highest levels of government in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. The resulting witch hunt involved at least 100,000 innocent communists, of whom about 1,000 were put to death. Instead of producing a liberated Eastern Europe -- Dulles' crackbrained theory presumed that people will rebel only after they have been driven to a state of total despair by intolerable repression -- conditions led only to further repression and unrest, and ultimately to the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956 and even, mutatis mutandis, of Czechoslovakia in 1968. According to Steven, the CIA's ""dirty tricks"" policy initiated in this operation was responsible for an exacerbation of suspicion between the major powers, and deepened their division into two tense and hostile armed camps. The author, a British journalist specializing in international politics, has protected his sources in both the East and West, since many still ""live in paranoiac terror"" of being caught on the wrong side of the pale. The proliferation of espionage agents in popular novels and TV dramas are awash in glamour and high purpose, but Steven reminds us that the mechanism in paranoia is projection and the enemy is us.