website statistics The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020 - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020

Availability: Ready to download

From Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, an urgent and gripping account of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia that led to the election and impeachment of an American president. With vivid storytelling and riveting insider accounts, Weiner traces the roots of political warfare – the conflict America and Russia have waged with espi From Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, an urgent and gripping account of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia that led to the election and impeachment of an American president. With vivid storytelling and riveting insider accounts, Weiner traces the roots of political warfare – the conflict America and Russia have waged with espionage, sabotage, diplomacy and disformation – from 1945 until 2020. America won the cold war, but Russia is winning today. Vladimir Putin helped to put his chosen candidate in the White House with a covert campaign that continues to this moment. Putin’s Russia has revived Soviet-era intelligence operations gaining ever more potent information from—and influence over—the American people and government. Yet the US has put little power into its defense. This has put American democracy in peril. Weiner takes us behind closed doors, illuminating Russian and American intelligence operations and their consequences. To get to the heart of what is at stake and find potential solutions, he examines long-running 20th century CIA operations, the global political machinations of the Soviet KGB around the world, the erosion of American political warfare after the Cold War, and how 21st century Russia has kept the cold war alive. The Folly and the Glory is an urgent call to our leaders and citizens to understand the nature of political warfare – and to change course before it’s too late.


Compare

From Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, an urgent and gripping account of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia that led to the election and impeachment of an American president. With vivid storytelling and riveting insider accounts, Weiner traces the roots of political warfare – the conflict America and Russia have waged with espi From Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, an urgent and gripping account of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia that led to the election and impeachment of an American president. With vivid storytelling and riveting insider accounts, Weiner traces the roots of political warfare – the conflict America and Russia have waged with espionage, sabotage, diplomacy and disformation – from 1945 until 2020. America won the cold war, but Russia is winning today. Vladimir Putin helped to put his chosen candidate in the White House with a covert campaign that continues to this moment. Putin’s Russia has revived Soviet-era intelligence operations gaining ever more potent information from—and influence over—the American people and government. Yet the US has put little power into its defense. This has put American democracy in peril. Weiner takes us behind closed doors, illuminating Russian and American intelligence operations and their consequences. To get to the heart of what is at stake and find potential solutions, he examines long-running 20th century CIA operations, the global political machinations of the Soviet KGB around the world, the erosion of American political warfare after the Cold War, and how 21st century Russia has kept the cold war alive. The Folly and the Glory is an urgent call to our leaders and citizens to understand the nature of political warfare – and to change course before it’s too late.

30 review for The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth George

    This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the United States has become what it currently is: tribal and deeply divided about nearly everything but most of all about politics. It explains how the US utterly missed the boat with regard to the power of social media and how this lack of knowledge created an opening for the forces that wished and still wish to destroy the Democratic process, not only in the US but in other nations as well. It's an incredible look at how the Cold This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the United States has become what it currently is: tribal and deeply divided about nearly everything but most of all about politics. It explains how the US utterly missed the boat with regard to the power of social media and how this lack of knowledge created an opening for the forces that wished and still wish to destroy the Democratic process, not only in the US but in other nations as well. It's an incredible look at how the Cold War has been fought and how public opinion has been formed, particularly since 1945. If nothing else, Chapters 9 and 10 are worth the cover price. I will never again look at politics in the same way. The books is written by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has also won the National Book Award. It's highly footnoted. You won't regret reading it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Why is Ukraine-Russian tension in the news again? Why is Putin hard for our politicians to read? Americans like things to be clear. "We are at war" or "mission: accomplished!" You are our friend, or you are our enemy. Stalin's spiritual successor - Putin - is not like that at all. Weiner says, "Americans tend to see war and peace as night and day. Russians see a never-ending battle." I think he's right. And Putin uses the same playbook... over, and over, and over, and again today with Ukraine. I Why is Ukraine-Russian tension in the news again? Why is Putin hard for our politicians to read? Americans like things to be clear. "We are at war" or "mission: accomplished!" You are our friend, or you are our enemy. Stalin's spiritual successor - Putin - is not like that at all. Weiner says, "Americans tend to see war and peace as night and day. Russians see a never-ending battle." I think he's right. And Putin uses the same playbook... over, and over, and over, and again today with Ukraine. I found the first 3/4ths of the book more useful than the last 4th. I think it is clear that Putin was meddling in our election process when Trump was elected, but, based on the book, I'm not convinced about how influential the meddling actually was. My favorite quote was from a Memorandum sent from President Eisenhower to his Secretary of State that said that political warfare could be "anything from the singing of a beautiful hymn up to the most extraordinary kind of physical sabotage." Can't wait to see a job opportunity for Assistant Minister of Subversive Hymnody and Warfare...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    This is a concise overview of the political warfare between the Soviet Union/Russian Federation and the United States from 1945-2020 (March). It’s excellent and I learned a lot. It contains the information on the tensions after WWII and the assassinations the United States carried out. The most striking is allowing Mobutu Sese Seko taking power and keeping it while Washington DDC looked the other way. Reagan’s support for the Soviet Union’s collapse. Clinton attempting to keep Yeltsin healthy an This is a concise overview of the political warfare between the Soviet Union/Russian Federation and the United States from 1945-2020 (March). It’s excellent and I learned a lot. It contains the information on the tensions after WWII and the assassinations the United States carried out. The most striking is allowing Mobutu Sese Seko taking power and keeping it while Washington DDC looked the other way. Reagan’s support for the Soviet Union’s collapse. Clinton attempting to keep Yeltsin healthy and agreeing to support Putin when he came to power. And we all know what Putin has very successfully done the last few years. A very good book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    TL;DR The Folly and the Glory by Tim Weiner documents the political warfare between the U.S. and Russia from the start of the Cold War to today. This book documents how the U.S. failed to take Russia’s electronic warfare tactics seriously and has put American democracy at risk. Highly Recommended. Disclaimer: The publisher provided an advanced review copy from NetGalley of The Folly and the Glory in exchange for an honest review. Review: The Folly and the Glory As a midwestern American who g TL;DR The Folly and the Glory by Tim Weiner documents the political warfare between the U.S. and Russia from the start of the Cold War to today. This book documents how the U.S. failed to take Russia’s electronic warfare tactics seriously and has put American democracy at risk. Highly Recommended. Disclaimer: The publisher provided an advanced review copy from NetGalley of The Folly and the Glory in exchange for an honest review. Review: The Folly and the Glory As a midwestern American who grew up with the action films of the 80s, consumed many Tom Clancy books, and planned to be a fighter pilot, I expected the Soviet Union to be the terror of my adult life. When the Berlin Wall fell, I felt national pride that the U.S. had outlasted the Soviets. I was young enough to believe that a new era of peace was to begin. Terrorism rose up as the existential threat, and Russia seemed to fade into the background. Then the build up to the 2016 election and its aftermath showed that the U.S. may not think of Russia as the enemy but Russia still saw us as the enemy. What I didn’t expect was that many of the same people who hated communists and would have been anti-Soviet during the Cold War, now dismissed claims of Russian interference. Sure, part of it was that Russia helped their side win. But the willingness to overlook Russia’s political warfare boggled my mind. How did the Republicans – the party of Reagan, who won the Cold War – deny if not welcome Russian interference? How did the Democrats, which were considered soft on the Soviets when I grew up, become the party willing to stand up to Russia? Seeking to answer these questions, I turned to Pulitzer prize winner Tim Weiner’s new book, The Folly and the Glory. In it, Mr. Weiner examines the role of political warfare from the end of World War 2 to today. The subtitle for this book is “America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020.” That’s a lot of time and, as operations were world wide, a lot of ground to cover. Mr. Weiner surveys this time period well, choosing to zoom in and out such that the argument he’s building is strengthened without getting too bogged down in details. The first chapter is an excellent overview that defines political warfare and the purpose of the book. From there, he takes us to 1948, crediting George F. Kenan with the architecture of the Cold War, and progresses forward through time. The Folly and the Glory takes the reader through the development and beginnings of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the CIA-backed coup in Congo to the end of the Cold War and the aftermath. Weiner documents Russia’s forays into electronic warfare as Putin tried to raise Russia’s influence in the world. U.S. hubris has kept it from adapting to the new method of warfare, and our leaders still fail to protect us. Information warfare is a big topic of the book. Putin’s mentor, Yuri Vladimoirovich Andropov, created some of the most famous disinformation of that era, such as that the military invented AIDS. It turns out that the Soviet Union, the KGB, and the Russians in general are much better at information warfare than the U.S. The U.S. may have turned its eyes from Russia, but Russia never failed to keep the U.S. in sight. The final chapter details Russia’s efforts during the 2016 election. The disinformation and confusion would have made Andropov proud. The chapter focuses on the Internet Research Agency and the information gleaned during the Mueller probe. The overwhelming evidence shows that Russia interfered in our elections, an effort that surely continues today. Tim Weiner Brings the Receipts The sheer amount of source material from quotes to telegrams to interviews adds weight and immediacy to the text. Often historical surveys feel too distanced, too academic. In The Folly and the Glory Weiner finds a good balance between the long term view and using source material to give us a feel for the time. The end notes made me happy, which is a weird sentence to write. But seeing the sources gives me a reading list for future investigation. I found myself browsing the notes, which is something I rarely do. There are a lot of resources to get lost in. A Deep Book Per the publisher, The Folly and the Glory clocks in at 336 pages. It felt like much more, in a good way. Each page was densely packed with information and narrative. This isn’t a book to just plow through in a couple hours, at least not for me. I had to take it slow and let my brain process all the good stuff on the page. After reading the chapter about the CIA’s intervention in Congo for the despot Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, I had to put the book down for a day. I couldn’t reconcile how the U.S. supported such a totalitarian regime. The author made it clear that the Congo was central to the U.S.’s African anti-communism strategy. But why did we continue to support him after seeing what horrible things he and his supporters did? This is an eternal question for why the U.S. continued/continues to prop up dictators all over the world. But that’s what a good book does, right? It makes us think; it makes us ask questions. The Folly and the Glory is a slow read because there’s so much information. This didn’t bother me, but it’s an area where reader preference will affect your enjoyment of the book. The Folly and the Glory made me think, throughout my reading, about U.S. foreign relations and political warfare. I’m not naive. I know that sometimes one partners with a lesser evil to defeat the larger (see: allying Stalin to defeat Hitler), but what happens when we become so focused on the larger evil that we don’t see the lesser grow? I don’t have an answer to that question. Tim Weiner explains why the U.S. propped up the Congo. But what was the cost? Did the U.S. save the present at the cost of the future? Political Leanings In our polarized nation, everything is viewed through politics. Covid is a health crisis, but it is yet another proxy for conservatives versus liberals in the U.S. I anticipate that people will want to know how the book leans. My belief is that conservatives will say it’s a leftist, revisionist history something something Marxist something postmodern, and that lefties will say it’s an apologia for the CIA, a neoliberal attempt to rationalize the horrors of the past as part of a national myth. In reality, Tim Weiner wrote a book that promotes neither a liberal nor conservative viewpoint. His focus is Russia’s efforts engaging in political warfare, and the use of primary sources helps maintain his political neutrality. Therefore, I recommend this book to anyone interested in international political warfare, on the moderate side of either political ideology. Conclusion Tim Weiner’s The Folly and the Glory is a sobering read. Its lessons are tough but necessary if the U.S. wishes to defend itself. The Folly and the Glory documents the long history of political warfare between the U.S. and Russia. It’s long past time that the U.S. took Russia’s political warfare seriously again, and the The Folly and the Glory is the clarion call needed to start that conversation. The Folly and the Glory by Tim Weiner is available from Henry Holt & Co on September 22nd, 2020. 8.5 out of 10!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Having read his previous book on the history of the CIA, I found a lot of this redundant, and wished he had focused more on Russia nowadays.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The first 70% of this book is fine. It's a summary of things most people probably already know about the cold war from 1945 - 2000. The last 30% is fantastic and makes a persuasive case that Russia really messed with the 2016 US election and continues to attack the US election system today. It gets into what Putin learned from Yuri Andropov and what Putin has tried to do since he took power after Yeltsin. This makes Trump's refusal to concede more interesting. Trump's tantrums about the 2020 ele The first 70% of this book is fine. It's a summary of things most people probably already know about the cold war from 1945 - 2000. The last 30% is fantastic and makes a persuasive case that Russia really messed with the 2016 US election and continues to attack the US election system today. It gets into what Putin learned from Yuri Andropov and what Putin has tried to do since he took power after Yeltsin. This makes Trump's refusal to concede more interesting. Trump's tantrums about the 2020 election are not really about whether or not Trump thinks he won, because it seems fairly clear that the money he is raising is going to pay off campaign debts. The real damage is in convincing the down and out Trump supporters that the 2020 election was illegitimate.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    (Audiobook) (1.5 stars) I am not entirely sure what I expected to read/listen to when I checked this book out, but after listen to it (it wasn't that long, fortunately) I don't feel that this is anywhere near his best work...not by a long shot. I am not sure where to begin in the critique. The idea of "political warfare" seems like a redundant statement, as all war is inherently political. Perhaps a focus on influence or information warfare would suffice. From there, it is a jumbled attempted to (Audiobook) (1.5 stars) I am not entirely sure what I expected to read/listen to when I checked this book out, but after listen to it (it wasn't that long, fortunately) I don't feel that this is anywhere near his best work...not by a long shot. I am not sure where to begin in the critique. The idea of "political warfare" seems like a redundant statement, as all war is inherently political. Perhaps a focus on influence or information warfare would suffice. From there, it is a jumbled attempted to summarize the Cold War through 2016 through the lens of how the Soviet Union/Russia and the US attempted to counter each other in the realm of information/propaganda conflict. It was hard to follow exactly what Weiner was looking to achieve. The strongest part of the book was mentioning how the Soviet disinformation campaigns attempted to thwart various US activities (1980 election/1984 Olympics). That you could see as a parallel to 2016. The historic context was helpful to try to explain why, but Weiner could have really dug into the US vs. USSR/Russia disinformation actions. Perhaps he could have offered other more modern examples (France, Australia, etc). Instead, this work goes from Cliff's Notes history to a rehash of the Washington Post when it came to 2016. Perhaps some parts were taken from the Mueller Report, which came out in 2019. However, the conclusion of the book just skips all of 2018 and 2019. The warning nature of the work will turn off a number of polarized readers. There was potential with this work and subject, but it felt like Weiner was mailing it in, with much of the backstory just a rehash of his other works (some of which could be seen as way overrated (Legacy of Ashes, anyone?)). Perhaps if you had not followed any of the current US/Russia relations/interactions or if you didn't remember much of your Cold War history, this one might rate higher. However, for a reader with greater familiarity, this work, aside from some of the 1980s information, will tell you little that you probably didn't know coming into this book. If you are in that situation of having familiarity, then don't waste your time or money with this book. You gain nothing. If you need a primer of some sort, this might be worth a listen (the reader is ok, but he doesn't add or detract from the text).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: The Folly and the Glory America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020 Author: Tim Weiner Publisher: Henry Holt and Company Publication Date: October 20, 2020 Review Date: October 14, 2020 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: From Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, an urgent and gripping account of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia that led to the election and impeachment of an Am Book Review: The Folly and the Glory America, Russia, and Political Warfare 1945–2020 Author: Tim Weiner Publisher: Henry Holt and Company Publication Date: October 20, 2020 Review Date: October 14, 2020 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: From Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, an urgent and gripping account of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia that led to the election and impeachment of an American president. With vivid storytelling and riveting insider accounts, Weiner traces the roots of political warfare – the conflict America and Russia have waged with espionage, sabotage, diplomacy and disformation – from 1945 until 2020. America won the cold war, but Russia is winning today. Vladimir Putin helped to put his chosen candidate in the White House with a covert campaign that continues to this moment. Putin’s Russia has revived Soviet-era intelligence operations gaining ever more potent information from—and influence over—the American people and government. Yet the US has put little power into its defense. This has put American democracy in peril. Weiner takes us behind closed doors, illuminating Russian and American intelligence operations and their consequences. To get to the heart of what is at stake and find potential solutions, he examines long-running 20th century CIA operations, the global political machinations of the Soviet KGB around the world, the erosion of American political warfare after the Cold War, and how 21st century Russia has kept the cold war alive. The Folly and the Glory is an urgent call to our leaders and citizens to understand the nature of political warfare – and to change course before it’s too late. —— This is an utterly terrifying analysis at the state of the ongoing political warfare between Russian and the US. I’ve read Mr. Weiner’s previous books about the FBI and the CIA, which were both equally eye opening. His writing is precise and he provides a thorough analysis of the political warfare going on now between the US and Russia, and the history of how the Soviet Union maintained their political warfare ever since the end of World War II in 1945. They have not given an inch, in fact they have increased their aggression, while the United States has hardly put up a defense, much less a serious offense against Putin, the KBG and Russia. The writing is not difficult, as compared to someone like Kevin Phillips, who also writes searing political history analysis. Tim Weiner’s writing is much easier to read than Kevin Phillips’. What he has written covers a fairly long span of history considering the depth of his writing over not that great a period of time. 
 It just stops in my tracks to think about what has been quietly taking place in the world behind the scenes while I have led my quiet, little happy and ignorant life. For anyone who has an interest in political history, global history and what is at stake for America, I highly recommend you read this book. 5+ stars. Excellent, excellent writing and analysis. Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for allowing me an early look at this superb book. Best of luck to Tim Weiner in your continued career. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon. #netgalley #thefollyandtheglory #timweiner #henryholt #russia #putin #politicalwarfare


  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    A real education into Russian and American history I really appreciated the strong timeline of how the Soviet Union & Russia alongside the US have been waging political warfare since 1947. From misadventures in Africa to the controversy of expanding NATO to the rise of Putin, then Trump you’re going to learn things here. Also well was said history may not repeat but history sure rhymes. The theme of the road to hell is... repeats over and over again. Ditto how making deals with autocratic regimes A real education into Russian and American history I really appreciated the strong timeline of how the Soviet Union & Russia alongside the US have been waging political warfare since 1947. From misadventures in Africa to the controversy of expanding NATO to the rise of Putin, then Trump you’re going to learn things here. Also well was said history may not repeat but history sure rhymes. The theme of the road to hell is... repeats over and over again. Ditto how making deals with autocratic regimes keeps costing money & more. This book is a must read to understand both current events and our history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Antonia

    Excellent book! Heavily informative and accessible, focused mainly on the foreign politics between the USA and Russia and their influence in the territories of their spheres of interest. Perhaps it could have included a bit more on the Russian side, but I understand the author has written strictly about fact checked material. Anyway, the book could still serve as a great weapon in the information war against all post-truths manufactured by the Russian propaganda machine and spread around the int Excellent book! Heavily informative and accessible, focused mainly on the foreign politics between the USA and Russia and their influence in the territories of their spheres of interest. Perhaps it could have included a bit more on the Russian side, but I understand the author has written strictly about fact checked material. Anyway, the book could still serve as a great weapon in the information war against all post-truths manufactured by the Russian propaganda machine and spread around the internet through the so-called "active measures" agenda. The last part, about the 2016 US presidential elections, is brilliantly delivered.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Journalist Tim Weiner tracks the course of the Cold War from 1945 to 2020, not so much in the usual headlines and major events, but in the events of what he terms political warfare - especially the propaganda battles and clandestine efforts during the communist years and the Putin years. And it is pretty frightening. I went from being appalled at some of what America did to match the Soviets to frustrated that our efforts have almost ceased while Putin has stepped his up again and again. It's an Journalist Tim Weiner tracks the course of the Cold War from 1945 to 2020, not so much in the usual headlines and major events, but in the events of what he terms political warfare - especially the propaganda battles and clandestine efforts during the communist years and the Putin years. And it is pretty frightening. I went from being appalled at some of what America did to match the Soviets to frustrated that our efforts have almost ceased while Putin has stepped his up again and again. It's an interesting look at a history I grew up in but knew only a little about.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    This was a fascinating account of political relations between 2 super powers long at odds. The final chapter was downright chilling to read. Nothing about this book will make you feel better about the current climate unfortunately, but the information does ease some uncertainty. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a drc available through edelweiss.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenelle

    Every American needs to read this book if they want to understand US - Russia relations. In the meantime, I need to wrap my head around how to best review this book... so much to think through and say.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    This is a book about 75 years of cold war between Russia and the US. There's disinformation, misinformation, false information/propaganda, lies, covert operations, political assassinations etc. There were so many names of people with their multiple titles in numerous years and countries. The story kept going forward and back in time which was confusing. It was difficult to keep all this information straight. It got better toward the end, or maybe I was just more familiar with the more recent par This is a book about 75 years of cold war between Russia and the US. There's disinformation, misinformation, false information/propaganda, lies, covert operations, political assassinations etc. There were so many names of people with their multiple titles in numerous years and countries. The story kept going forward and back in time which was confusing. It was difficult to keep all this information straight. It got better toward the end, or maybe I was just more familiar with the more recent participants. Russian leaders became expert at social media manipulation so they could put someone they wanted in the White House, and that person played right along and enjoyed their help. They also achieved the divisiveness in the US that they wanted. This information should be read by everyone, but the delivery would reach more people if it was more cohesive for the less politically minded person.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Randal White

    A thorough, informative look at the history of political warfare between Russia and the United States. Both sides conducted "dirty tricks" against each other, for decades. It appeared that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the United States had prevailed. However, it appears we let our guard down, and Putin has taken full advantage of our weakened position. Scary stuff, where we are now. I only hope that we can prevail. A thorough, informative look at the history of political warfare between Russia and the United States. Both sides conducted "dirty tricks" against each other, for decades. It appeared that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the United States had prevailed. However, it appears we let our guard down, and Putin has taken full advantage of our weakened position. Scary stuff, where we are now. I only hope that we can prevail.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    Informational and interesting up till the opinion of the author started to overpower the narrative.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve's Book Stuff

    The Folly and the Glory is a compelling overview of political warfare between America and Russia from the Cold War up to 2020. “Political warfare” is shorthand for espionage, disinformation, cyberwar and sabotage. It's a very instructive read if you want to better understand Putin’s motivations in invading Ukraine, and his perception of the importance of Ukraine to Russia. At 268 pages of text (along with 40 some pages of Notes) the book is a bit episodic, and some episodes are covered in mor The Folly and the Glory is a compelling overview of political warfare between America and Russia from the Cold War up to 2020. “Political warfare” is shorthand for espionage, disinformation, cyberwar and sabotage. It's a very instructive read if you want to better understand Putin’s motivations in invading Ukraine, and his perception of the importance of Ukraine to Russia. At 268 pages of text (along with 40 some pages of Notes) the book is a bit episodic, and some episodes are covered in more depth (the rise of Solidarity) than others (the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis). It’s a fast paced read from a Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times national security and intelligence reporter. The book is basically written in two parts - USA versus USSR in chapters 1 through 6, and USA and the Russian Federation in chapters 7 through 10. The first part is more of a history of intelligence during the Cold War. The second part reads more as an exposition on how American actions after the Cold War have been perceived in Russia, the rise of the ex-KGB agent Putin to the leadership of Russia, and Russia’s efforts to go on the offensive with their disinformation campaigns culminating in their meddling in 2016 in the US presidential election. One of the most important themes in the book is the difference in approach to espionage on both sides. The Americans have a much shorter history at it than the Russians and are less practiced at it. The American side also thought it “won” the Cold War, which caused our intelligence agencies to start shifting focus elsewhere. America became consumed with international crises from Bosnia through 9/11, through the Arab Spring, and the Libyan uprising, and on and on. The Russians, however, saw NATO’s advancement after the Cold War as a threat aimed directly at them, and never let down their guard. It’s consistent with the country’s long view, and of its often fraught relations with the rest of Europe and the larger world. A quote from Weiner, fairly early on in the book, makes the point: "Americans tend to see war and peace as night and day. Russians see a never-ending battle." It’s not surprising then that Putin views the breakup of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.” Nor that he views Ukraine as a key to returning “greater Russia” to the first rank of nations. Another quote in the book helps to put that into context. This time the quote is from William B. Taylor Jr., American ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009: “If Ukraine succeeds in breaking free of Russian influence, it is possible for Europe to be whole, free, democratic, and at peace. In contrast, if Russia dominates Ukraine, Russia will again become an empire, oppressing its people, and threatening its neighbors and the rest of the world.” For a two year old book this is a very timely read. I highly recommend it to anyone hoping to better understand what’s happening in Ukraine. Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ NOTE: If you'd like to see the author's direct insights into American Intelligence and the current situation in Ukraine, check out this interview with him by CNN.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Minervas Owl

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. How to understand Russia's meddling of the 2016 US election? Tim Weiner thinks the best way is to see it as an "political warfare", the intentional use of non-military power to affect the power balance between two countries. If the term reminds you of the cold war, it's because the author wants you to. The book's key purpose is to create a narrative that sees Russia's recent moves against the US as the Cold War's continuance. I think the good thing about this perspective is to help Americans tre How to understand Russia's meddling of the 2016 US election? Tim Weiner thinks the best way is to see it as an "political warfare", the intentional use of non-military power to affect the power balance between two countries. If the term reminds you of the cold war, it's because the author wants you to. The book's key purpose is to create a narrative that sees Russia's recent moves against the US as the Cold War's continuance. I think the good thing about this perspective is to help Americans treat Russia seriously, which they fail to do so during the 2016 election cycle. FBI informed the Democratic National Committee of Russia's malware attack, but the committee let four months pass before they called in a cybersecurity team. McConnel refused to sign on a bipartisan statement about Russia's interference. Obama confronted Putin in September about Russia's effort to influence the US election, but he didn't deter Russia's further actions by sanctions or expelling Russia's diplomats -- he took such steps only after the election. The Department of Homeland Security finally informed the public about Russia's attack in October 2016, but it was too late and not sharp enough. Americans need a sober understanding of what Putin is up to and capable of. But how much can the US learn from the history of the cold war to fend off future cyber and disinfo attacks? I don't think the book has provided a clear answer. First, the book did not talk much on the defensive front, except about the Active Measures Working Group. The state-sponsored team operated in the 1980s to expose Soviet disinformation efforts. For example, when the USSR forged letters from KKK to Olympic committees in African countries, the team confirmed the letters were forged. Tim Weiner seems to endorse the idea of reviving this group, but how much will it help? The USSR targeted people in third-party countries instead of Americans, and they didn't spread lies on decentralized platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. When some people disparage CNN as fake news, how much can we expect them to trust a state-sponsored fact check team? On the offensive front, the book has more to say. I liked reading about the author's introduction of US operations in Congo and Poland. But the book mainly focuses on description rather than analysis. In the end, we still don't know whether US political warfare strategies worked in the past, and whether they will work in the future. For example, should Radio Free Europe continue to operate? Is NATO expansion a mistake because it instigated Russia? Overall, the book conveys one important message but does not provide many solutions for future policies. Better read in-depth books on the cold war and the 2016 Russian interference against the US election separately.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I picked up this book because I had really enjoyed reading Weiner's Legacy of Ashes, and I was not disappointed. Whereas the prior book was a complete takedown of the CIA, this book is more measured in the sense that if the CIA weren't doing its clumsy business, the world might not be much better, and it could be even worse. Russia's intelligence gathering, foreign interference, and political warfare is vastly more sophisticated than ours. Not only have they been sharpening their tactics since t I picked up this book because I had really enjoyed reading Weiner's Legacy of Ashes, and I was not disappointed. Whereas the prior book was a complete takedown of the CIA, this book is more measured in the sense that if the CIA weren't doing its clumsy business, the world might not be much better, and it could be even worse. Russia's intelligence gathering, foreign interference, and political warfare is vastly more sophisticated than ours. Not only have they been sharpening their tactics since the Russian Revolution, but their clandestine statecraft goes back hundreds of years. The United States was very late to the game, and Russia has played them like fools over and over again. The Soviet Union collapsed not because the U.S. outsmarted them, but because the Western economic engine bludgeoned them through brute force. However, this political dissolution did not disassemble what made Russia so formidable in the first place. Their talent and capacity to wage political warfare throughout the world continued, chastened for a time, but thrown back into high gear when Putin came to power. From this vantage point, it should come as no surprise that Russia meddled in the 2016 political election, and that they have been so successful at inflaming divisions within American society. What's unsettling though, is how a sizable portion of the U.S. electorate is content with Russian disinformation campaigns provided that it benefits their political party. This approach to politics-- victory by any means necessary-- is straight out of the Russian playbook. In the internet age when it is so easy to manipulate the minds of hundreds of millions of people at once, it makes you wonder how a free and open democracy can persist. Russia may have lost the battle for being the world's greatest superpower, but it appears that they are winning the war for how politics are waged. By this measure, the U.S. is running far behind Russia (and probably China). The Kremlin must have been absolutely delighted by the January 6 capitol insurrection-- the best way to attack the United States is not through direct military engagement, but to let them defeat themselves through the collapse of their own system. It is a troubling irony that the Cold War did not end in a decisive American victory, as it first appeared, but in mutually assured destruction, played out over decades of continuous subterfuge. When truth is completely subverted to power, there are no victors, just a succession of warlords.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ed Bernard

    An absolutely fascinating account of the history of espionage and political warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union from the end of WWII right up until the 2020 election. This is an area of interest for me and much of the material was familiar. The reason this book got (and kept) my attention was actually never explicitly stated in the book, if I’m remembering correctly — the parallel between the highly effective cultural influence wielded by the US in the 50s and early 60s (mostl An absolutely fascinating account of the history of espionage and political warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union from the end of WWII right up until the 2020 election. This is an area of interest for me and much of the material was familiar. The reason this book got (and kept) my attention was actually never explicitly stated in the book, if I’m remembering correctly — the parallel between the highly effective cultural influence wielded by the US in the 50s and early 60s (mostly through Radio Free Europe) and the Russian attempts to undermine the integrity of the US elections in 2016 and 2020. They are eerily similar — presenting a different story from the one the government in each country promoted and influencing the revolutionary behavior of significant portions of the populations — in the Soviet bloc for RFE and in the actual US for the Russian efforts. Most of the other US efforts didn’t amount to much and in some cases actually hurt the causes we claim to support — uprisings in Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and other places were brutally suppressed without the US providing any meaningful support, though the most successful one, in Poland, was heavily supported by American labor. And, the book states categorically that the chaos surrounding the US election was a coordinated, deliberate and carefully planned attack by Putin’s forces — and it succeeded brilliantly, culminating in an actual uprising on January 6, 2021. In this context, the book casts a whole new light on the impact of political warfare between the allies-turned-rivals for nearly a century. Grade: A

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mirko Kriskovic

    Tim Weiner having done a magnificent job on the history of The CIA... I thought, no worries! I will be reading something just as FACTUAL and INFORMATIVE as Professor Cohens book “War with Russia” alas, I was way off. Sometime in the near future I’m certain that this period of time would be referred as the Trump Derangement years, despite the three year investigation that turned ZERO EVIDENCE of Russian meddling on the 2016 election, and Trump approving sanctions against Russia... Mr Weiner opens Tim Weiner having done a magnificent job on the history of The CIA... I thought, no worries! I will be reading something just as FACTUAL and INFORMATIVE as Professor Cohens book “War with Russia” alas, I was way off. Sometime in the near future I’m certain that this period of time would be referred as the Trump Derangement years, despite the three year investigation that turned ZERO EVIDENCE of Russian meddling on the 2016 election, and Trump approving sanctions against Russia... Mr Weiner opens his book with the assertion that they did, and just like Donald Rumsfeld in the 80’s despite evidence to the contrary “The Soviets have been busy building their arsenal and have closed the gap...” it turned out not to be right at all!! He should had published the book earlier than this year (2020), if all it took for the American electorate to vote for Trump were memes of buff colour me Bernie and Jesus wrestling the Devil... I’d had thought the problem lies with Americans.... but we know what happened... or do we? If you are a fan of Rachel Maddox and thought that Hardy’s Collusion was a revelation, this book is for you, if on the other hand you want a unbiased assessment, based on FACTS... try Stephen F. Cohen 2019 book “War with Russia”.... Three stars for his writing... which is pretty good.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt Conger

    This is an intense book. Each chapter describes the increasing efforts that the US and the Soviet Union/Russia make against each other in terms of political warfare. So you can guess where the book's conclusion leads in terms of Trump and the infamous "puppet" line. It felt like he breezed through the Gorbachev era rather quickly. Hindsight has shown that he was an anomaly of a leader for the Soviet Union/Russia, so I would have liked to have seen more discussion. How different would US-Russia r This is an intense book. Each chapter describes the increasing efforts that the US and the Soviet Union/Russia make against each other in terms of political warfare. So you can guess where the book's conclusion leads in terms of Trump and the infamous "puppet" line. It felt like he breezed through the Gorbachev era rather quickly. Hindsight has shown that he was an anomaly of a leader for the Soviet Union/Russia, so I would have liked to have seen more discussion. How different would US-Russia relations have been if Yeltsin wasn't his successor, for example? The author also focused exclusively on gov't-to-gov't relations. Would it have been too much trouble to talk about citizen-to-citizen relations? He basically says the US gov't rested on its laurels have pioneered the concept of political warfare, and we are paying the price for that complacency. So the governments mistrust each other, but what about civilian relations? These overlooked areas just indicate how engaged I was in the book and how capable the author seems. Having told a pretty wild story, my fingers crossed for all of us that political warfare loses its potency in the next few decades.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marti Martinson

    I think this is a decent book written by a decent man who is appalled at deception, evil, and treachery from whatever source, American or Russian. It would take an NY Times Review of Books article to do it justice, the fact that he ends with a Vaclav Havel quote makes me more sure in my desire for a dead Czech as president than any live Trump. Having had a security clearance in my DC jobs for 24 years, the actions by Bannon, Flynn, and Manafort enraged me. I had all but forgotten about Jade Helm I think this is a decent book written by a decent man who is appalled at deception, evil, and treachery from whatever source, American or Russian. It would take an NY Times Review of Books article to do it justice, the fact that he ends with a Vaclav Havel quote makes me more sure in my desire for a dead Czech as president than any live Trump. Having had a security clearance in my DC jobs for 24 years, the actions by Bannon, Flynn, and Manafort enraged me. I had all but forgotten about Jade Helm 15, and I am glad he reminded me what a traitor our TX governor Abbott was.....and is. The book infuriated me, and left me with little cause for hope. As I live in TX, I am aware of the sway Trump has, especially over self-professed, saved, bible believin' Baptist Christians. One gleefully told me, "No one curses in the military anymore now that Trump is president!" She also told me, "Putin is a Christian!" I asked her in reply how many times she had been to the Orthodox church over in Beaumont to attend Divine Liturgy. She turned from me and walked away. This is not a feel-good book, but a necessary and important one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tawney

    Before the end of WWII the Soviets had installed a government to their liking in Poland and weren't going to stop there. The American government felt the need to fight back, using what means of influence they could come up with. And so began the push-pull of the Cold War. Tim Weiner chronicles major episodes of conflict in detail from Congo to Cuba and on to Radio Free Europe, Poland and NATO. It's often an ugly story, the Soviets didn't play by American rules and the Americans hardly lived to u Before the end of WWII the Soviets had installed a government to their liking in Poland and weren't going to stop there. The American government felt the need to fight back, using what means of influence they could come up with. And so began the push-pull of the Cold War. Tim Weiner chronicles major episodes of conflict in detail from Congo to Cuba and on to Radio Free Europe, Poland and NATO. It's often an ugly story, the Soviets didn't play by American rules and the Americans hardly lived to up their espoused ideals. Eventually the Americans got their way. And became complacent. And Putin and company struck the American political system at it's home. He continues to do so and it's frightening. Weiner includes copious notes, many with additional information, and a detailed index. This is an important book for anyone interested in how the players make decisions that are often folly. I received this book compliments of Henry Holt and Netgalley. The opinions are mine.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dmitry

    This review is based the first chapter of the book that sets the context for the rest of the material. I just could not get beyond that. Anyone who in 2020 (when the book was published) believes that the Russians "in 2016... helped elect a president [meaning Trump]" and the United States "fought the war on communism in the jungles of Vietnam" has got to be delusional. The chapter is full of fascinating observations the likes of how dare the Russians spy on the peaceful and innocent America to tr This review is based the first chapter of the book that sets the context for the rest of the material. I just could not get beyond that. Anyone who in 2020 (when the book was published) believes that the Russians "in 2016... helped elect a president [meaning Trump]" and the United States "fought the war on communism in the jungles of Vietnam" has got to be delusional. The chapter is full of fascinating observations the likes of how dare the Russians spy on the peaceful and innocent America to try to steal the design of the bomb that America had just dropped on the evil Japan and how dare the Russians be upset at the NATO expansion closer and closer to the Russian border. One has to wonder who paid for the publication of this trash. Must be the Russians in their attempt to discredit existence of intelligent life in the United States.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Disappointing emotional book from the great author of Enemies: A History of the FBI and Legacy of Ashes: The history of the CIA. The book is full of options and minimal facts. If Bush made a wrong decision, it’s because he is not intelligent, but Obama was tired and tired people make the terrible decision. If Hilarity is looking for dirt on Trump, she has a dossier. If Trump does the same, he is looking for kompromat. If Clinton was impeached by House and acquitted by Senate, names of 3 republic Disappointing emotional book from the great author of Enemies: A History of the FBI and Legacy of Ashes: The history of the CIA. The book is full of options and minimal facts. If Bush made a wrong decision, it’s because he is not intelligent, but Obama was tired and tired people make the terrible decision. If Hilarity is looking for dirt on Trump, she has a dossier. If Trump does the same, he is looking for kompromat. If Clinton was impeached by House and acquitted by Senate, names of 3 republicans were drugged in to shift the focus. If Trump was impeached by the house and acquitted by Senate, he got approval to continue laying. I really like the books I mentioned above. They are full of facts, sources, and information. The Folly and the Glory is a propaganda book. I will need to read again the first two books, maybe I missed propaganda there too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ted Haussman

    Outstanding and completely frightening. This revealing book tells the stories behind the stories of the political warfare shadow war between the US and Russia from Potsdam to the present. It explains how the US used to have a coherent policy and theory — despite mis-steps — which evaporated once the Soviet Union crumbled. It tells of the drift of US policy in the decade following the breach of the Berlin Wall and then the abject failure of the US to respond to and understand the threat posed by Outstanding and completely frightening. This revealing book tells the stories behind the stories of the political warfare shadow war between the US and Russia from Potsdam to the present. It explains how the US used to have a coherent policy and theory — despite mis-steps — which evaporated once the Soviet Union crumbled. It tells of the drift of US policy in the decade following the breach of the Berlin Wall and then the abject failure of the US to respond to and understand the threat posed by Putin. Just as the failures of intelligence and imagination led to 9/11 so have the failures of intelligence and imagination led to our relative defenselessness when Putin waged political and cyber warfare against first Guinea pig nations and then the US, as it manipulated the 2016 election. A really important book that I’ll surely read again and an extremely sobering and cautionary warning.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Wood

    This book gives a mind-boggling account of the Russian and American states' political warfare during and after the Cold War. Tim Weiner is a very credible source and has interviewed many prominent intelligence officials in the US, including former heads of the CIA. He explains how the Russians use disinformation and how they flooded social media and used other tactics to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. The Russians are beating us in this game, and it is almost incomprehensible what tact This book gives a mind-boggling account of the Russian and American states' political warfare during and after the Cold War. Tim Weiner is a very credible source and has interviewed many prominent intelligence officials in the US, including former heads of the CIA. He explains how the Russians use disinformation and how they flooded social media and used other tactics to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. The Russians are beating us in this game, and it is almost incomprehensible what tactics they use. They have many advantages, including a long history of ruthless leaders going back to the stars, a less open society without being constrained by the societal and political restraints, and Vladimir Putin is a former head of the KGB, very familiar with and unafraid to use any tactics.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Georgi Mirchev

    It is a really inspiring book that gives a really good insight into the "war" between Russia and USA. It takes a deeper look into the last 70 years since WWII and why the situation that we are in is so complex and unsolvable. It also gives insight into why the current situation with Ukraine happened. One thing to note is that it has its own pro-American note. Especially when it comes to the election of Donald Trump it just gives the impression that all of the American citizens were manipullated It is a really inspiring book that gives a really good insight into the "war" between Russia and USA. It takes a deeper look into the last 70 years since WWII and why the situation that we are in is so complex and unsolvable. It also gives insight into why the current situation with Ukraine happened. One thing to note is that it has its own pro-American note. Especially when it comes to the election of Donald Trump it just gives the impression that all of the American citizens were manipullated which is probably far from the truth. It also tries to populate the opinion that America gives this blessing called "democracy" and tries to keep the countries using it. And as we can see in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is far from the case.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jason Evans

    I decided to read this book because I thought it would give a better understanding of the history of the Cold War and the CIA. What I didn't expect was the crystal clear picture of current political events it provided. The central thesis is that the Russians are MUCH more adept at political warfare than the United States. It's a combination of more years of practice and lack of democratic and moral constraints of Russian leadership. In recent years our democracy has been greatly compromised by i I decided to read this book because I thought it would give a better understanding of the history of the Cold War and the CIA. What I didn't expect was the crystal clear picture of current political events it provided. The central thesis is that the Russians are MUCH more adept at political warfare than the United States. It's a combination of more years of practice and lack of democratic and moral constraints of Russian leadership. In recent years our democracy has been greatly compromised by innumerable Russian subversive attacks—in particular influence on both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections—and many Americans just don't get that. I highly recommend this book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...