The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future

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The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a position of strategic importance to the security of the United States. The importance of the position has fluctuated over time with Directors of vaunted status to those of mere placeholders. The Spymasters revolves around the reigns of eighteen Directors over fifty years. Does the Director owe their loyalty to the President(s) they serve or the Agency? This has become a paramount issue. Richard Helms was a veteran in the Intelligence field from World War II onward. His star rose while serving as Deputy Director of Plans, deftly maneuvering around the Bay of Pigs debacle which led to multiple firings in the Agency. Helms served under Lyndon Johnson and then Richard Nixon. He undertook illegal surveillance for Lyndon Johnson, yet allegedly balked at Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up. The choice between action and obedience would mark directorships from Helms through Gina Haspel.

The Spymasters is a thorough view of the murky world of intelligence gathering and actions. The author throws his focus on specific intrigues that beset the directors during their varied tenures. The book’s chief flaw is in a perceptible bias towards certain Directors, whether downplaying their perjury, scoffing at the CIA-Contra Dark Alliance, while also playing up the dubious Russian Collusion narrative. The history presented is impressive, and the overall narrative is worthy of your time.


Reviewed By:

Author Chris Whipple
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Scribner
Publish Date 2020-09-15
ISBN 9781982106409
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2020
Category Current Events & Politics
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