While it may be uncomfortable for members of the Intelligence Community to read some of these chapters, Talbot has done detailed research in his effort to stitch together a story. It may appear to most readers as prosecutorial or adversarial in tone, but this perspective needs to be read and understood, even if it is only part of the story of the CIA in the 1950s.
Since the reviewers at mainstream news organizations are studiously avoiding David Talbot’s groundbreaking Devil’s Chessboard, CTKA’s Jim DiEugenio takes up the challenge of explaining why the book is so important.:
“Talbot goes much further than these previous authors in his attempt to excavate just how involved Allen Dulles was in some of the unsavory aspects that helped create and maintain the Cold War state. Many of these aspects were ignored or minimized in the previous books. But Talbot does not shy away from detailing Dulles’ role in attempting to undermine some of America’s allies, like France during the revolt of the French generals in 1961. Beyond that, he goes much further than they do in explaining Dulles’ dismissal by President Kennedy (it was not all about the Bay of Pigs).”
Talbot and his research associate Karen Croft, to whom he dedicated his book, have found all sorts of nuggets in Allen Dulles’s papers, his appointment calendar, oral histories, and other less-used sources. In addition, Talbot infuses his book with anecdotes from interviews he personally conducted. While I found some points I could nitpick in various episodes, overall this is a worthy addition and a much-needed perspective that elucidates how we came to have two governments: the elected one and the one that doesn’t answer to the elected one.
”The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.’ exhumes a number of the US government’s historical skeletons: its rejection of Jewish refugees during WWII, its cooperation with key Nazi figures, its complicity in a variety of coups, to name just a few.’
This review, I think, captures the core concept of Talbot’s book: The American constitutional system was disrupted on November 22, 1963 and never repaired.
Talbot’s book makes what is perhaps an even more important claim — that Dulles and his allies oversaw a turning point in American history, when the democratic rule of the many became a plutocracy, the rule of the wealthy few.
Part 1 of this 3-part series from David Talbot’s new book, “The Devil’s Chessboard,” is about the many reasons why the CIA and the French right wing want to bring down Charles de Gaulle. It is also about the deep connections of the CIA to France’s own intelligence agencies and government, and why de Gaulle wanted to purge his country of these insidious ties.
David Talbot will be talking about his new book, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government “at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington DC on October 15.