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From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War

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As the only person to rise from entry-level analyst to Director of the CIA and to serve on the White House staffs of four Presidents, Robert Gates is uniquely qualified to tell the unprecedented inside story of the Cold War. Drawing on his access to classified information and top-level involvement in policy decisions, Gates lays bare the hidden wars and operations the Unit As the only person to rise from entry-level analyst to Director of the CIA and to serve on the White House staffs of four Presidents, Robert Gates is uniquely qualified to tell the unprecedented inside story of the Cold War. Drawing on his access to classified information and top-level involvement in policy decisions, Gates lays bare the hidden wars and operations the United States waged against communism worldwide. Ever certain that the fifty-year struggle with the Soviet Union was indeed a war, Gates makes candid appraisals of Presidents, key officials, and policies of the period. Among his disclosures are: how Carter laid the foundations for Reagan's covert wars against the Soviets; CIA predictions of a conservative coup against Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Union; CIA and KGB "black operations" against each other; the secret relationship between Pope John Paul II and the Soviets; and three secret CIA-KGB summits. From the Shadows is a classic memoir on the career of a CIA officer at the center of power during a time when the threat of global annihilation informed America's every move.


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As the only person to rise from entry-level analyst to Director of the CIA and to serve on the White House staffs of four Presidents, Robert Gates is uniquely qualified to tell the unprecedented inside story of the Cold War. Drawing on his access to classified information and top-level involvement in policy decisions, Gates lays bare the hidden wars and operations the Unit As the only person to rise from entry-level analyst to Director of the CIA and to serve on the White House staffs of four Presidents, Robert Gates is uniquely qualified to tell the unprecedented inside story of the Cold War. Drawing on his access to classified information and top-level involvement in policy decisions, Gates lays bare the hidden wars and operations the United States waged against communism worldwide. Ever certain that the fifty-year struggle with the Soviet Union was indeed a war, Gates makes candid appraisals of Presidents, key officials, and policies of the period. Among his disclosures are: how Carter laid the foundations for Reagan's covert wars against the Soviets; CIA predictions of a conservative coup against Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Union; CIA and KGB "black operations" against each other; the secret relationship between Pope John Paul II and the Soviets; and three secret CIA-KGB summits. From the Shadows is a classic memoir on the career of a CIA officer at the center of power during a time when the threat of global annihilation informed America's every move.

30 review for From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Remo

    Bob Gates’ From The Shadows is an interesting book by the former director of the CIA. Gates held numerous posts in the National Security Council and CIA’s analytic directorate. The book has very little “inside baseball” and is much more a history of the times, from the perspective of national security policy and intelligence. If you are interested in foreign policy during the last half of the Cold War, this is a good historical source. If you’re looking for lots of spy stories, or stories of the Bob Gates’ From The Shadows is an interesting book by the former director of the CIA. Gates held numerous posts in the National Security Council and CIA’s analytic directorate. The book has very little “inside baseball” and is much more a history of the times, from the perspective of national security policy and intelligence. If you are interested in foreign policy during the last half of the Cold War, this is a good historical source. If you’re looking for lots of spy stories, or stories of the internal machinations of various political players, you won’t find it here. Gates provides good stories of the Cold War, what the Soviets were doing around the world, and what the US did to counter them. There is a lot of detail, perhaps too much, but it is organized in such a way that I could skip over parts I wasn’t interested in (eg, Angola in 1975). He has an interesting take on how hawks and doves helped win the Cold War, as negotiation and military buildup both were important. Negotiation kept the relationship from going out of control, and dialogue with the West helped make the risk of proceeding with internal changes acceptable to the Soviets. These are points to keep in mind as we deal with trouble spots around the world. Confrontation and conciliation can be used together to resolve problems. He writes a lot on Gorbachev, especially how he weakened the communist party in an effort to reform the USSR. A lot of us lived through those years, but I learned a lot about the final years of the Soviet Union reading this book. Gates also gives his take on the five Presidents he worked for. He points out strengths and weaknesses of presidents, insights that changed my views of them. He felt all of them (even Carter) contributed to the collapse of the Soviets.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

    I used this book for a research paper a long time ago and ended up reading the whole thing. Gates reveals extremely controversial events that are unlikely ever to be talked about in the mainstream and I am now in the personal belief that the CIA should be abolished on the basis of specific things that they've done. He didn't really have that much to do with the Nixon and Ford administrations, but the Carter/Reagan/Bush administrations....yikes. The only problem I had with this book is that, while I used this book for a research paper a long time ago and ended up reading the whole thing. Gates reveals extremely controversial events that are unlikely ever to be talked about in the mainstream and I am now in the personal belief that the CIA should be abolished on the basis of specific things that they've done. He didn't really have that much to do with the Nixon and Ford administrations, but the Carter/Reagan/Bush administrations....yikes. The only problem I had with this book is that, while very revealing, the author shows an obvious bias that is very confusing (the bias doesn't get in the way in the book). It appears he was indoctrinated to believe that the CIA is never wrong in the things they do, and shouldn't be upheld for their 'mistakes'-(illegal activity). So while he mentions things the CIA did that are definitely wrong, he doesn't believe they are lol. Like in example, the CIA sought finding ways to ignore laws passed by congress or finding loopholes in them, so they wouldn't get in trouble for the things they were specifically outlawed against doing. It really enforces the idea that our government has culturally transformed into a Mafia mindset. I recommend reading this regardless of your opinions on interventionism, if you want a clearer view on America's foreign policy during the Second half of the Cold War. For a better understanding on how our contemporary hawkish policymakers think (the very intelligent ones at least), I recommend reading The Grand Chessboard and Strategic Vision by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Meaney

    This is not a book about covert actions or cloak and dagger "spy stuff". It is a book about the other side of the CIA - the analytical piece that forms most of the foreign policy decisions of the US President. Will be of interest to those who grew up in the height of the cold war and who want to understand the goings on in the White House during those years. Requires a certain knowledge of the history of that era - otherwise you will be googling people's names to see who they were. Most importan This is not a book about covert actions or cloak and dagger "spy stuff". It is a book about the other side of the CIA - the analytical piece that forms most of the foreign policy decisions of the US President. Will be of interest to those who grew up in the height of the cold war and who want to understand the goings on in the White House during those years. Requires a certain knowledge of the history of that era - otherwise you will be googling people's names to see who they were. Most importantly Gates is entirely non-partisan and gives each President he served under (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Regan, Bush) praise in areas that they were generally heavily criticized for. Worth reading for cold war history buffs and political junkies.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Frank Stein

    Few people spent as much time in American government studying, and undermining, the Soviet Union as Robert Gates. He got a master’s from Indiana University and was recruited into the CIA in 1966. After a short stint in the Strategic Command in the Air Force (explaining geopolitics to bored missile attendants he says) he spent most of the next 25 years alternating between the CIA and the National Security Council in the White House, always focused on the then omnipresent Soviet threat. He ended u Few people spent as much time in American government studying, and undermining, the Soviet Union as Robert Gates. He got a master’s from Indiana University and was recruited into the CIA in 1966. After a short stint in the Strategic Command in the Air Force (explaining geopolitics to bored missile attendants he says) he spent most of the next 25 years alternating between the CIA and the National Security Council in the White House, always focused on the then omnipresent Soviet threat. He ended up as the first career officer to become Director of the CIA, from 1991 to 1993. The book is at its best when Gates describes the personalities and internal politics that shaped so much of US policy. He worked for a few years with Stansfield Turner, the admiral Carter choose to come into the CIA’s house and clean up after the Church Committee revelations, and who was near universally reviled at the agency. HE also worked with William Casey, the hard-charging former OSS member and Wall Street mogul who tried to run the agency as his own personal shop, angering much of the personnel in the process, at least when he didn’t evade them to carry out plans like Iran-Contra. Gates is unfailing fair to these individuals, explaining what they were trying to accomplish and understanding the real bureaucratic roadblocks the agency put up. He is equally fascinated by people like James Jesus Angelton, the paranoid spy hunter who he found alone in a darkened room with a single desk lamp and a cigarette fretting over papers. When it comes to personalities and politics, Gates excels, yet sometimes the book reads like the many reports he mentions writing and receiving for decades in the government. Intros and conclusions elaborate the points already made ad nausem in the body of the chapters, and a lot of generalizations would have benefited from details filled out. But on the whole there’s no better book on there for learning about the sempiternal division between the Directorate of Intelligence (analysis, Gate’s shop) and the Directorate of Operations (the hard-core spy shop, where most of the leadership comes from), for understanding how a difficult National Security Advisor like Bud McFarlane can make it hard for the President to get unbiased intelligence, or how a few pieces of intelligence and coming out of the CIA can rip apart friendships, Cabinets, and nations.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Robert Gates's first book is an under-appreciated historical account of an under-analyzed conflict. The Cold War, despite being the defining global conflict of the last 75 years, is largely discussed today in basic strokes: the USSR's fall was inevitable, and the US hastened that fall through aggressive foreign policy in the Reagan era. The CIA, meanwhile, receives a largely murky reputation from the conflict -- responsible for disastrous regime change throughout the Cold War and home to a lot o Robert Gates's first book is an under-appreciated historical account of an under-analyzed conflict. The Cold War, despite being the defining global conflict of the last 75 years, is largely discussed today in basic strokes: the USSR's fall was inevitable, and the US hastened that fall through aggressive foreign policy in the Reagan era. The CIA, meanwhile, receives a largely murky reputation from the conflict -- responsible for disastrous regime change throughout the Cold War and home to a lot of other catastrophic bureaucratic overreach, most notably Iran-Contra. While these statements are all generally true, they lack the nuance and perspective that Gates's book provides. Gates had a unique vantage point from which to write this book, at the time having worked his way from an entry-level CIA analyst to Director of Central Intelligence, plus numerous significant roles on the National Security Council. He details CIA's internal culture and operations in a way that almost no other public figure has done, describing the exclusionary hubris of Directorate of Operations and the constant internal struggles between D.O. and Analysis, not to mention the external feuds with other branches of government. Furthermore, he gives an excellent timeline of the numerous global conflicts of the late Cold War. I learned a lot about conflicts in Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and elsewhere that you don't ever hear about in the news or the history books. And ultimately, Gates's argument is valid, although not objectively true: the CIA, and the US more broadly, needed to combat the Soviet Union's international aggression, and their tactics in many of these countries ultimately helped ensure the USSR's collapse. I have some mild criticism for this book too, however. Throughout the account, Gates's tone and mentality seem a touch on the arrogant side -- like many stereotypes of the CIA, he has immense pride for his organization's work and clear disdain for Congress and the White House (most of the time). Perhaps driven by former Sec. of State Shultz's criticisms of CIA, Gates seems overly defensive about CIA's intelligence assessments and track record throughout the 80s; as a reader in 2020, these comments seemed unnecessary and out of context. Finally, his primary political argument isn't fool-proof. He largely makes the point that detente was an ineffective strategy that gave the Soviets significant advantages around the world, but in doing so, he also comes across as slightly hawkish and dismissive of arms control agreements and nonaggression movements. All the same, political ideology isn't a reason to criticize a book, and on a factual level, Gates's work is excellent. Thus, on the whole, I did enjoy this book. While not the most approachable or engaging political nonfiction, it contains important and oft-forgotten lessons about international affairs and the role of the CIA. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read more recent works by Gates or is curious about the Cold War or CIA.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Calvin

    I liked this book overall, but there were several things I didn’t like. The book itself was written in 1996 and it shows its age. One example of this was when referring to the Iran hostage crisis (portrayed in the movie Argo) Gates says “...A very brave CIA officer, using a commercial cover, entered Iran with false identities for the six (hostages) and, using techniques that ought to remain secret do they can be used again, managed to get the six out of Iran.” The fake movie cover must have rema I liked this book overall, but there were several things I didn’t like. The book itself was written in 1996 and it shows its age. One example of this was when referring to the Iran hostage crisis (portrayed in the movie Argo) Gates says “...A very brave CIA officer, using a commercial cover, entered Iran with false identities for the six (hostages) and, using techniques that ought to remain secret do they can be used again, managed to get the six out of Iran.” The fake movie cover must have remained classified at the time. There are several instances where it feels like Gates wrote the book to “set the record straight”. He does not shy away from calling out people who have spoken against him and his views and saying why he believes they’re wrong. As one other reviewer said, he shows his bias a lot in the book and it leads me to wonder if I’m reading facts or opinions. After reading this book I saw that Gates has written another book about his years in the post 9/11 world and in the Obama administration. I briefly considered reading it but “From the Shadows” left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding Gates. If you’re interested in Soviet-American relations in the last half of the Cold War, this is a great book. If you’re in it for the people I do not recommend it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    The title may lead you to believe this is a collection of cloak and dagger stories recently (as of the original publication) declassified and now available for public consumption. I suspect the title was the publisher's choice meant to drive up book sales. Regardless, this is a fine and worthy read but a spy novel it is not. This is Gates' first-hand view of his service under five presidents and the major muscle movements of diplomacy, espionage, and military defense that most contributed to end The title may lead you to believe this is a collection of cloak and dagger stories recently (as of the original publication) declassified and now available for public consumption. I suspect the title was the publisher's choice meant to drive up book sales. Regardless, this is a fine and worthy read but a spy novel it is not. This is Gates' first-hand view of his service under five presidents and the major muscle movements of diplomacy, espionage, and military defense that most contributed to ending the Cold War. The reader should keep in mind when the book was published when asking why certain events were not covered or were covered minimally. All in all, I would say this is an important work for anyone wishing to understand the Cold War and particularly how and why it fizzled out rather than turning hot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt Heavner

    An amazing perspective across quite the swatch of time/presidential administrations. My only complaint is that it is both too short and too long (so I guess it is just right...) - so many key critical moments get just a brief mention (Abel Archer got only 2 or 3 pages) and sometimes it was a bit of a push to keep going through the book. The specific moments are covered in detail elsewhere and the main point of this book is the long arc of winning the cold war. Sometimes Gates' biases showed throu An amazing perspective across quite the swatch of time/presidential administrations. My only complaint is that it is both too short and too long (so I guess it is just right...) - so many key critical moments get just a brief mention (Abel Archer got only 2 or 3 pages) and sometimes it was a bit of a push to keep going through the book. The specific moments are covered in detail elsewhere and the main point of this book is the long arc of winning the cold war. Sometimes Gates' biases showed through (almost an apologist for the CIA) but overall I felt it was a very insightful and honest perspective from someone with a keen insiders view. Definitely worth reading and studying. I would love to see an update to this book and many of the perspectives now.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ferris Mx

    Reading a historical memoir is always a dicey proposition - what was selected, and what was repressed, and why? In this book, the CIA and Gates always come up roses, and I don't believe that was an accident. Nevertheless, the tale of the demise of the Soviet Union was well told from his vantage point. I also bumped the rating up a bit for having the courage to praise Carter's foreign policy and how it enabled Reagan and Bush's successful conclusion of the cold war. But that was also used to just Reading a historical memoir is always a dicey proposition - what was selected, and what was repressed, and why? In this book, the CIA and Gates always come up roses, and I don't believe that was an accident. Nevertheless, the tale of the demise of the Soviet Union was well told from his vantage point. I also bumped the rating up a bit for having the courage to praise Carter's foreign policy and how it enabled Reagan and Bush's successful conclusion of the cold war. But that was also used to justify the Reagan policies so, again, who knows...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Çağatay Boz

    Robert Gates can sketch something on a piece of paper and I'd still read that shit and take it as a reliable source of information. No, not because I love him or the United States of America, but he has been in positions which had direct impact on the Cold War and I'm pretty sure he had a huge role in these. Although it may seem like a memoir in some parts of the book, it's still very valuable information regarding the collapse of the Soviet Union. Robert Gates can sketch something on a piece of paper and I'd still read that shit and take it as a reliable source of information. No, not because I love him or the United States of America, but he has been in positions which had direct impact on the Cold War and I'm pretty sure he had a huge role in these. Although it may seem like a memoir in some parts of the book, it's still very valuable information regarding the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    A well written biography of Bob Gates time in the CIA during the cold war. Has lots of revealing information and an insider's view as it was happening. It's not a spy book like one typically thinks of when they hear CIA, but about the analytical and political side. I recommend it to anybody curious about both CIA or Soviet Union. A well written biography of Bob Gates time in the CIA during the cold war. Has lots of revealing information and an insider's view as it was happening. It's not a spy book like one typically thinks of when they hear CIA, but about the analytical and political side. I recommend it to anybody curious about both CIA or Soviet Union.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jack Sullivan

    An interesting but self serving view of the nuts-and-bolts workings of the CIA. The author is generous to some former residents of the Oval Office but it shows it’s age as it finishes with the first Bush administration. This is the unHolywood side of the game of mirrors and will probably appeal to policy wonks.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Garrett

    Although the book have a good background of the historical topic, I thought Gates humped around too much working the chapters and could have better followed the time chronology throughout. I learned a lot I didn't know reading the book but was pretty bored while reading it. Although the book have a good background of the historical topic, I thought Gates humped around too much working the chapters and could have better followed the time chronology throughout. I learned a lot I didn't know reading the book but was pretty bored while reading it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Todd McQueen

    Former director of the CIA gives an insider’s look at the CIA, Cold War, and five presidents. A little slow reading with a lot of details about the players. Still an interesting inside look and interesting comments on the presidents from Nixon to Bush. C+

  15. 5 out of 5

    B Kevin

    I found it a bit too self-serving, even for a memoir.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Super boring imo. He just retells history. Idk I don’t remember much besides not being captivated at all

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrei

    Some revealing ideas about the modern Russian foreign policy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dave Hunt

    A most who endeavor it to the conflict known as the Cold War. This will become a book which scholars will use as reference for years and the reading audience will enjoy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Ponce De Leon

    Great insight to history! Great read! Bob Gates gives us detailed info on history that has shaped our world. I highly recommend this required reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shyue Chou Chuang

    This memoir from Robert M. Gates relates his career in the White House, serving five presidents, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. His role had included deputy director of the CIA, deputy national security adviser and finally director of the CIA. The narrative provides a fair bit about the role which intelligence plays in policy decisions, the politics and infighting between personalities within each presidency, the hardline often adopted against the USSR with Gates relating that the Soviet This memoir from Robert M. Gates relates his career in the White House, serving five presidents, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. His role had included deputy director of the CIA, deputy national security adviser and finally director of the CIA. The narrative provides a fair bit about the role which intelligence plays in policy decisions, the politics and infighting between personalities within each presidency, the hardline often adopted against the USSR with Gates relating that the Soviets had considered him as a hardliner. What is astonishing is the revelation of the continuity of policy-making between all five presidencies, with succeeding presidents, often adopting and continuing the policies of the previous. There is also a large section on the winding down of the USSR and how Gorbachev, often seen as a benign, well-meaning leader today, was actually rather hardline and was lost in his reforms of the collapsing empire and had lost control of the entire process, leading to the demise of the Warsaw Pact. There is also the narrative of Gates' career progression from the CIA to that of the director and how he was embroiled in the Iran-Contra scandal despite having played no part. All in all, this is a well-written memoir that serves to inform on the decision-making and policy-making at that highest echelon.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    I spent a few days with this, and only intended to find out if Gates had a background in the military. However, it was so well written, and his story was so interesting that I read the whole book. It was like being a 'fly on the wall' at the nexus of power in Washington DC through five different administrations. I especially liked his impressions of Jimmy Carter. Gates feels that Carter is by far the smartest of our recent presidents, and he was so thoughtful and contemplative that his enemies i I spent a few days with this, and only intended to find out if Gates had a background in the military. However, it was so well written, and his story was so interesting that I read the whole book. It was like being a 'fly on the wall' at the nexus of power in Washington DC through five different administrations. I especially liked his impressions of Jimmy Carter. Gates feels that Carter is by far the smartest of our recent presidents, and he was so thoughtful and contemplative that his enemies interpreted this as weakness. And, nothing could be farther from the truth. (Simple minds seem to require simple solutions). Also, Gates seems to feel a fair degree of disgust for the partisan politics which emerged in the Regan era. Although, it is evident that Gates had the greatest admiration for this president, he felt that the people under him were a bit too concerned with party loyalty. And, although I'm sure that this was even worse under George W. Bush's regime. Also, William Casey, the head of the CIA under Regan, comes across as a very strange individual. Usually he is vilified, but Gates shows why he took some of the 'extreme' positions, and why he felt they were justified. And, finally, Robert Gates comes across as someone who only did what he felt was right, and had no political ax to grind. When you finish the book, you feel you have read what really happened, and not a recreation of events to fit a particular political agenda.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    Quite a comprehensive account of the clandestine war between the superpowers by a leading participant of the US side. While setting the record straight on a couple of US presidents to whom posterity has not been kind, Mr Gates' account deals with more of the minutiae of espionage - of unearthing information and agents, the turf fights, the battles over interpretation and especially the key issue of legislative oversight of overt and covert operations - in the struggle to counter the Soviet Union Quite a comprehensive account of the clandestine war between the superpowers by a leading participant of the US side. While setting the record straight on a couple of US presidents to whom posterity has not been kind, Mr Gates' account deals with more of the minutiae of espionage - of unearthing information and agents, the turf fights, the battles over interpretation and especially the key issue of legislative oversight of overt and covert operations - in the struggle to counter the Soviet Union and its designs around the world but specially in the Caribbean, Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. In this, however, he usually refrains - except in passing in context of Afghanistan where he acknowledges it would be a savage mess - from focus on what the US wanted to have when Soviet-backed regimes were defeated. I doubt they had any answers too.... bring back Somoza or his like in Nicaragua? And posterity will tell us how lasting was the victory in the Cold War...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Keziah

    Great read, compelling thoughts on the Cold War and relations between the two major super powers, being the Soviet Union and the United States, alongside the relationship of Gorbachev and Reagan proving excellent in comparison to previous presidential relations with the USSR. Does Gates hold an agenda though due to his position within the CIA and stating his favourite president to work under (from all eight of them) was indeed Reagan, either way Gates creates a wonderful read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jada Tullos

    Well-done blend of fact and some honest opinions. Gates obviously did much research in addition to his personal recollections of the Cold War during the 70s and 80s which makes his book particularly interesting. Although I enjoyed this book, in general I don't read books that focus on history. I must say that it took me much longer than usual to read this book because I found some parts very dense with acronyms, names and dates. Not that those parts were bad, just not easily consumed by someone Well-done blend of fact and some honest opinions. Gates obviously did much research in addition to his personal recollections of the Cold War during the 70s and 80s which makes his book particularly interesting. Although I enjoyed this book, in general I don't read books that focus on history. I must say that it took me much longer than usual to read this book because I found some parts very dense with acronyms, names and dates. Not that those parts were bad, just not easily consumed by someone who typically prefers fiction or science. I feel like I now have a much better grasp of how the Cold War unfolded both in public and behind-the-scenes.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This book was interesting from a foreign policy standpoint, but not an interesting CIA novel. Robert Gates is one of the few people that have worked in the CIA and National Security Council for every president since Nixon. It was interesting to see how decision are made with some many gigantic egos in the room. I would recommend this book to any interested in the play-by-play breakdown of US policy during the cold war.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    As long as you keep in mind that it's written by a man who was deputy head of the CIA when it was described as at it's most "corrupt and slanted" (http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/02/new...), and have a decent understanding of the mostly illegal activities they conducted, it makes for an interesting if distasteful read. As long as you keep in mind that it's written by a man who was deputy head of the CIA when it was described as at it's most "corrupt and slanted" (http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/02/new...), and have a decent understanding of the mostly illegal activities they conducted, it makes for an interesting if distasteful read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    After watching "The Company" a few weeks ago, I wanted to learn more about the CIA and the Cold War. After a few chapters into it, it is strategic overview of the past five presidencies' foreign policy. After watching "The Company" a few weeks ago, I wanted to learn more about the CIA and the Cold War. After a few chapters into it, it is strategic overview of the past five presidencies' foreign policy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Very in depth account of the Cold War era of the CIA by the only person to ever start as a junior and become director. Lots of detail and behind the scenes anecdotes. Can get a little repetitive at times, but still very readable.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kurishin

    Interesting balance between Cold War storytelling/analysis and politicking. My perception of the Cold War was changed through reading this book and Gates does get into the personalities involved, too. One gets the sense there is so much more that he doesn't or can't write. Interesting balance between Cold War storytelling/analysis and politicking. My perception of the Cold War was changed through reading this book and Gates does get into the personalities involved, too. One gets the sense there is so much more that he doesn't or can't write.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eric Beager

    Analytical, symmetic overview of cold war foreign policy by current secretary of defense...lacks conspiratual insight.

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