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Legacy of Ashes

The History of the CIA
De : Tim Weiner
Lu par : Stefan Rudnicki
Durée : 21 h et 37 min

Prix : 35,87 €

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National Book Award Winner, Nonfiction, 2007

This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.  

Legacy of Ashes is based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA. Everything is on the record. There are no anonymous sources, no blind quotations. With shocking revelations that will make headlines, Tim Weiner gets at the truth and tells us how the CIA's failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security.

©2007 Tim Weiner (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.


"Absorbing...a credible and damning indictment of American intelligence policy." ( Publishers Weekly)
"A timely, immensely readable, and highly critical history of the CIA, culminating with the most recent catastrophic failures in Iraq." (Mark Bowden, author of Blackhawk Down)

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • 21/12/2007

Spot On!

Having a background with the intelligence services of this country I wish I could say that the revelations included in this book are complete. This is not so, there are many, many more examples that remain classified and may never see the light of public scrutiny. This book is important not just because it gives the American public a look at several specific instances of ineptitude, poor analysis and politically driven intelligence reporting, but because it also explains our intelligence gathering and reporting culture and suggests reasons why our current intelligence apparatus fails...and will continue to do so.

This is a well written book that not only reports startling mediocrity but also explains why the CIA (and also DIA & NSA) has such problems gathering, analyzing and reporting its intel. The narration is good (I would rather have Grover Gardiner or Scott Brick narrate), the writing clear, the production quality high. Highly recommended.

15 sur 16 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim
  • 23/08/2007

A Must Read/Listen

This is by far the most informative book I have read or listen to for the real details of the CIA. The book does not have an agenda but one gets the sense the author does respect the employees who have put their lives on the line as well as those who daily attempted to protect this country.

This book is aimed at the leadership of the agency for the history of the CIA AND our leaders who we have voted for to guide this country. The book is based on documents, interviews and not a personal bias from the author. What the facts are based on is what is so scary, I have become very skeptical about the agency.

I have always defended the agency and assumed that the government (aka CIA)did what it had too do to keep us safe. This book reveals personal agendas by those in power who wanted revenge for the several defeats we as a county have had, even when it is described as less than a defeat.

It is a long book (21 hours) but well worth the time. For those who still have 9/11 burned into your memories, the story behind the story told in this book will leave you very upset.

I have listen to THE COMPANY and CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, both relating to the CIA and the abuse of power by those in our government but LEGACY OF ASHES is the best.

47 sur 52 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 18/07/2008

Flawed but Important

This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of the CIA. I have rated this five stars, but this is not the perfect book, just a must read. The author clearly focuses only upon the failures of the CIA and glosses over any successes. Nevertheless, there is substantial value is focusing on failures (of course there is also value is focusing on successes, but that would be a different book). This book also does not seem to go out of its way to suggest tangible changes to improve the CIA.

The material is somewhat dry, and there is some jumping around. The narration is quite good, which helps keep the book interesting. This is not the best book about the CIA, but it is an indispensable viewpoint for anyone who wants to understand the agency.

72 sur 81 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • 04/08/2007


This is a wonderfully written disturbing history of the CIA. I finished this book wondering if the CIA represents the inevitable malfunction of all government bureaucracies, or specific to an American spy agency. I fear the former, and am left with grave concern that intelligence can act intelligently.

32 sur 36 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Madeleine
  • 29/03/2009

Extensive and Excellent

This is one of the most complete histories of the CIA I have encountered. It is incredibly detailed and yet still managed to hold my attention all the way through.

A number of interesting threads weave through this history. One is the massive shifts between a dangerous lack of oversight and a devastating lack of independence of the Agency. Another is the shameful misuse of this intelligence tool as doctrinal and political hammer, instead of a gatherer and analyzer of information.

The author cleverly paints a portrait of a governmental entity so badly structured at its core, that it leaves the reader wondering if any amount of restructuring could ever remedy some of the most basic flaws of its architecture.

The choice of reader was perfect for this book. Understated, clear-spoken and precise.

15 sur 17 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Frances
  • 26/07/2007


This book is a must read for anyone who wants to
understand the global unheaval of the present time and why we have engendered such animosity
from the rest of the world.The CIA was created to prevent "another Pearl Harbor" and as we see it
failed. The best description of it's problems were
best stated in a recent Newsweek article. Though not referring to the CIA the words are right on.
" The magnitute of errors perputated by the agency
-ignorance,incompetence,arrogance,bad or non-existant planning, cronyism and naivete'-can make you weep with anger." Though these words were used
to describe an administration they also very well describe the agencey's track record. The agency's leadership was composed of alcholics,
mental cases,egomanics and a lot of good people
beating their heads against a bureaucratic brick wall. The book has been described as very critical of the CIA. I found it to be a very
evenly narrated series of events that just left
me very sad.

34 sur 40 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Roger
  • 15/04/2008

A little jumpy

I thoroughly enjoyed this work.

Thorough is the key word here and the author treats all the CIA's misdeeds thoroughly. Clearly, in the author's opinion there are very few CIA success stories to relate. It is a long book and at times it became a bit tedious - still worthwhile.

My one complaint would be (as another reviewer mentioned) that the author has a tendency to jump from one event to another - both temporally and geographically. This can be confusing as a listener unless you are paying very close attention. Even then, it can catch you off guard.

8 sur 9 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • C. L. Buerger
  • 08/10/2015

Correct Subtitle: A History of the CIA's screw-ups

Should be Subtitled "A History of the CIA's screw-ups." Solid look at the mistakes of the past, with a focus on how the CIA was supposed to be one thing and ended up another. Rarely talks about the successes, and spends lots of time on Washington and presidents. Richard Helms is praised in the book, but his time as Director is criticized, this duality is never explained. Wish it was, if he was so good, what was he doing right besides telling everyone else that they're doing it wrong.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 04/11/2008

Legacy of Ashes

On the eve of the presidential election I can only wonder if our presidential candidates have read/listened to this book. Whomever wins should be required to become intimately acquainted with this work within the first weeks following the election.

It came as a bit of a shock to learn that JFK agreed to remove missiles from Turkey as the quid pro quo for the Russian removal of missiles from Cuba!

I knew that Bobby Kennedy had his fingers in a lot of pies, but not to the extent revealed in this book. It is scary to think that he came close to becoming president.

This book provides an entirely new perspective on our government in general and the CIA in particular.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • 23/02/2008

Fascinating; starts slowly

Having read great reviews of this on Amazon, I was, at first, a bit disappointed because it started out rather boringly. About half-way through Part 1, it started to deliver on the promise.

I actually knew about the involvement of the CIA in all the things the author wrote about; however, I didn't know details. Plus, having it all laid out in one document made it all the more disturbing.

Don't misunderstand; I think we the USA (and every country) needs to have an intelligence agency. I'm not a "wacky liberal" (have never voted anything but Republican, in fact). I'm in no way opposed to intelligence gathering. A government would be negligent not to have such an agency. However, I am opposed to many/most/all covert operations. Firstly, because they are generally immoral and illegal. And second, because of the long term affects. I lived in Central America and know what CIA activities there have done to American prestige and credibility. What it's done in the Mideast has contributed greatly to(I don't say "caused") the problems we have there.

Finally, it is just plain frightening to know that - excuse me for saying it - but that such stupid people, have held so much unrestrained power.

11 sur 13 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 02/05/2017

Fascinating story and enjoyable listening experience

This book was a recommendation on the NoAgenda podcast (which I hereby also recommend) and after having finished the book I encourage anyone else to listen to it too.
It tells the story of the CIA from its founding days after WW2 until the end of the Bush administration.
I read on some Amazon reviews that the book is negatively biased towards the CIA and from time to time it seems so. But when you have listened to the last two chapters, the whole story gets and additional aspect, so I really can't join into this criticism.
I whole-heartedly recommend listening to this audiobook. And as the speaker's voice fits the narrative nicely this is not only an interesting but also a very pleasant experience.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • T. Reimann
  • 14/12/2018


Eine umfassende Geschichte der CIA. Sehr gut Recherchiert und ohne anonyme Quellen. Empfehle ich uneingeschränkt.