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Extended Audio Sample The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, by David Talbot Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Talbot Narrator: Peter Altschule Publisher: HarperCollins Format: unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful—and secretive—colossus in Washington, from the founder of Salon.com and author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers

America’s greatest untold story: the United States’ rise to world dominance under the guile of Allen Welsh Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA. Drawing on revelatory new materials—including newly discovered US government documents, US and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’ wife and mistress, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials—Talbot reveals the underside of one of America’s most powerful and influential figures.

Dulles’s decade as the director of the CIA—which he used to further his public and private agendas—were dark times in American politics. Calling himself “the secretary of state of unfriendly countries,” Dulles saw himself as above the elected law, manipulating and subverting American presidents in the pursuit of his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite he counted as his friends and clients—colluding with Nazi-controlled cartels, German war criminals, and Mafiosi in the process. Targeting foreign leaders for assassination and overthrowing nationalist governments not in line with his political aims, Dulles employed those same tactics to further his goals at home, Talbot charges, offering shocking new evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

An exposé of American power that is as disturbing as it is timely, The Devil’s Chessboard is a provocative and gripping story of the rise of the national security state—and the battle for America’s soul.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Paints a riveting but unflattering picture of longtime CIA chief Allen Dulles (and of his Secretary of State brother, John Foster Dulles) in a nonfiction account…that reads like part Cold War history and part Tom Clancy novel…Readers will be glad these men are gone, even as they drink up every word written about them. And some will wonder if others have quietly taken their place.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “[Dulles was] a Cold War villain of realpolitik whose successes and blunders were unrivaled. As framed by Talbot, Dulles’ extra-legal interventions, coups, slush funds, and ex-Nazi collaborations were as much pro-corporate as anti-Communist, more Cheneyish than Nixonian…He’d fit right into our globalized, subcontracted, and hypersurveilled era.”

    New York Magazine

  • “Former Salon founding editor-in-chief Talbot shares his extensive knowledge and intense investigations of American politics with a frightening biography of power, manipulation, and outright treason…All engaged American citizens should read this book and have their eyes opened.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “This aptly titled book…[is] a fast-moving account…Readers who enjoy espionage’s dark history will have a tough time putting this book down.”

    Library Journal

  • An Amazon Best Book of October 2015
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for Nonfiction
  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 for Nonfiction
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About the Author

David Talbot is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed, national bestseller Season of the Witch. He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon, a senior editor at Mother Jones magazine, and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, and other major publications.