COLD WARRIOR

JAMES JESUS ANGLETON: THE CIA'S MASTER SPY HUNTER

Among the top men who kept the CIA's secrets during the height of the cold war was James Jesus Angleton, chief of counterintelligence. Whether the austere and obsessive operative (who died in 1987) did more harm than good is the central issue in this evenhanded but unsparing biography by senior BBC TV correspondent Mangold (coauthor, The Tunnels of Cu Chi, 1985). Drawing on interviews with Angleton's associates, friends, enemies, and widow plus unclassified archival material, Mangold offers an arresting portrait of a charismatic paranoid. A veteran of WW II's OSS, Angleton decided to make a career of intelligence and signed on with the CIA when it opened for business in 1947. Chosen by Allen Dulles in 1954 to become the agency's first counterspy, he tackled his new assignment with a missionary fervor that never flagged. Over the next two decades, this true believer pursued a single-minded agenda based on a series of interlocking assumptions holding, for example, that the Sino-Soviet split was a delusion, that monolithic Communism aimed at nothing less than world dominion, and that the Kremlin's moles abounded in Western capitals. Surrounding himself with kindred spirits, Angleton conducted unavailing witch hunts, betrayed loyal field agents, provoked allied intelligence services, rejected virtually all defectors as KGB plants, and otherwise hobbled crucial CIA campaigns against the USSR. Paradoxically, this ultrasuspicious man was completely gulled by Great Britain's Kim Philby and Anatoli Golitsyn, a low-level but like-minded refugee from the Soviet Union. After Angleton was eased out of the agency in Watergate's wake, his successors found a wealth of secret files that had never been incorporated in the organization's central registry. In retirement, the former spycatcher cultivated rare orchids, engaged in fly-fishing, kept a generally low profile—and his own counsel, effectively preserving the Angleton mystique. Damningly documented judgments on an intelligence agent who played at the patriot game. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: June 19, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-66273-2

Page Count: 490

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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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

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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

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