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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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