Legacy of Ashes

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Legacy of Ashes Audiobook

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Review #1

Legacy of Ashes audiobook free

“Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” is a roughly chronological compilation of events, activities, and leadership within the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from its establishment in 1945 through 2007. The information in this book draws from various primary and secondary sources, including conversations with former CIA members, politicians, and both declassified and recently declassified documents available at the time of its 2007 publication. This work by a New York Times reporter is thought-provoking in two key ways.

First, it portrays the CIA’s activities from 1945 to 2007 as primarily marked by unsuccessful operations due to ineffective and misguided leadership within the agency. This narrative suggests that U.S. intelligence and covert operations were characterized by a series of missteps, political manipulation, internal conflicts, and deliberate deception involving the CIA, various branches of the U.S. government (presidents, vice presidents, cabinet members, military personnel, Congress, and the State Department), and foreign governments.

Second, the book highlights the extent of CIA-sponsored interventions in foreign countries, often violating principles of national sovereignty. These interventions ranged from propaganda and support for political actors to more extreme actions such as assassinations, coups, paramilitary incursions, and sometimes undisclosed military invasions. This critique of the CIA’s actions during the Cold War era is juxtaposed with contemporary concerns about Russian interference in U.S. elections, revealing the historical context of such activities.

The book argues that the CIA’s aggressive approach to intelligence gathering and covert operations was primarily driven by the mission to counteract the spread of communism, particularly the Soviet-engineered expansion. However, it questions the value of these efforts, which often resulted in wasted resources, loss of lives (both CIA agents and foreign operatives), and a litany of government officials engaged in unethical behavior, self-interest, and excessive ambition. The recurring themes of excess, mismanagement, unnecessary loss of life, bureaucratic incompetence, and weak leadership within the CIA are disheartening.

Regarding the book itself, the author is commended for tackling such a challenging subject, given the inherent secrecy surrounding intelligence operations and the limited availability of declassified information. However, readers must acknowledge that the full story remains hidden beneath layers of secrecy, and the book includes unsubstantiated stories, opinions, and conjectures.

The author criticizes politicians, military personnel, and civilians from both sides of the political spectrum while occasionally displaying a partisan bias. The book blends factual reporting with normative statements, assessments, conclusions, and declarations, some of which lack in-depth analysis. Nevertheless, it effectively sheds light on the darker aspects of U.S. national security efforts.

“Legacy of Ashes” underscores the challenges faced by those responsible for national security, particularly in recruiting, training, and deploying covert operatives while preventing infiltration by foreign spies. It highlights the paradox of an intelligence business that relies on deception, disinformation, and misdirection, which sometimes contradicts constitutional principles, U.S. law, and moral and ethical sensibilities.

The book also notes the high turnover of CIA directors, suggesting that a more diverse leadership background, including successful business experience, could enhance the CIA’s effectiveness. It points out the agency’s continuous struggle to define its mission, organization, and operational methods within the broader context of the U.S. government.

In conclusion, “Legacy of Ashes” prompts readers to question whether the U.S. can effectively conduct clandestine operations, espionage, and covert activities while upholding its cultural values and governance structure. It suggests that a reevaluation of traditional hard-power methods alongside diplomatic and humanitarian efforts may be necessary in today’s world, which is characterized by non-state actors and complex global challenges. The book encourages reflection on the CIA’s historical role and its potential for addressing contemporary issues and crises.

Review #2

Legacy of Ashes audiobook

This is a captivating portrayal of the historical transgressions and blunders committed by the CIA, and these are merely the documented instances! It vividly illustrates that beneath the facade of our ostensibly benevolent democracies lies a realm of violence, deceit, and coercion. It’s a world of totalitarianism, colonialism, and empire-building, executed covertly under the banner of National Security. In this clandestine domain, actions go unattributed, even including acts as grave as murder.

The book presents numerous unsettling examples of CIA-led coups, such as the one in Indonesia, where a CIA pilot was apprehended after bombing a church and a marketplace. Astonishingly, this pilot later stated that all the individuals targeted were perceived as communists, whether they were aware of it or not.

One prominent issue underscored by the book is the lack of accountability within security services. What strikes me as particularly ironic is the continual rhetoric from Western Governments about the importance of transparency, openness, and fairness, all the while scaling down departments that are supposed to embody these principles. Conversely, the shadowy “Secret” facets of the state continue to expand unchecked.

The more I delve into the activities of these so-called “intelligence services,” the clearer it becomes that concepts like democracy and the rule of law lose their significance if they are not applied uniformly and equitably.

Whenever the machinations of secret services are exposed in the mainstream media, they simply devise new methods to conceal and reorganize their operations, proceeding as if nothing has changed. After all, it’s all in the name of National Security, isn’t it?

Review #3

Audiobook Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner

This review is intended for a niche audience with a specialized interest. If you are genuinely eager to explore this book, prepare to embark on a journey that will challenge your preconceived notions about recent history, specifically in the realm of covert operations and government involvement in foreign nations. The revelations within will prompt you to conduct your own research, repeatedly leaving you to ponder whether such events could genuinely have occurred. I can assure you that if you were previously unaware of the extent of the USA’s involvement in other countries’ affairs and, more significantly, their substantial failures, you will be left astounded.

If you possess a sincere fascination with factual events shrouded in secrecy and intrigue, then this book is an absolute must-read. It is a literary event in its own right. As you persevere through its pages, you will gradually immerse yourself in the author’s perspective. Personally, having spent my adult life reading detailed reports, I found the book highly enjoyable and presented in a format that resonated with my experience. It’s not a tome I’ll be lending out anytime soon. Considering the wealth of information it contains, the book comes at a very reasonable price. In my opinion, it’s an excellent purchase.

Review #4

Audio Legacy of Ashes narrated by Stefan Rudnicki

An outstanding book that will undoubtedly captivate any historian eager to uncover the extensive misdeeds carried out by the CIA’s inept agents worldwide, starting as early as 1945 and extending into recent times. Comparing the CIA to Inspector Clouseau is like equating diamonds to glass. Over two decades of Tim Weiner’s scrupulous research and numerous interviews with former CIA personnel have transformed this book into an authoritative masterpiece on the sensitive subject of “state-sponsored corruption.” This corruption has resulted in hundreds of thousands of fatalities, numerous assassinations, and the undermining and contamination of any government that exhibited resistance to America’s ruthless exploitation and pillaging. It has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars without their awareness or consent.

All of these covert activities unfolded under the guise of safeguarding America’s security. In reality, they served to facilitate corporate America’s subsidized practices of theft and corruption, all while displaying complete disregard for humanity, often resorting to extreme cruelty and torture. This book lays bare the CIA’s frequent employment of “false flag” operations, endangering the security of the entire planet.

Review #5

Free audio Legacy of Ashes – in the audio player below

The book, though pre-owned, arrived in outstanding condition and at an exceptionally affordable price. As my reading list is already well-stocked, there’s no urgency to dive into this one. However, I plan to peruse the foreword to determine whether it deserves to leap to the front of the queue. My particular interest lies in the early days of the CIA, partly due to my acquaintance with two individuals who were part of the OSS during World War II. These gentlemen served in the China/Burma theater and subsequently remained in Hong Kong and Thailand (with a third individual, Jim Thompson, stationed in Malaysia). I’ve been informed that they may have been among the initial CIA operatives in that region, possibly even in China.

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