The book, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
is Tim Weiner’s new classic standard on the history of the CIA, published in hardcover in 2007 and is 702 pages long. Weiner diligently covers every aspect and main character in this complete history, including recently released documentary information. The book will most probably make you both laugh and shudder as previously secret insights into this enigmatic company of spies is revealed, in both its foul-ups and successes.
I compare this book to another treatment of the CIA by Robert Littell, called The Company.
Legacy of Ashes is a history book that reads almost like a novel. Whereas, The Company is a book of fiction that gives the reader a very good feel for the institution, in a very entertaining way.
Enemies: A History of the FBI, also by Tim Weiner is an equally engaging treatment of America’s national police. With great emphasis on J. Edgar Hoover and his domineering roll in the shaping of the force, and in competition with the CIA, its subsequent impact on American government policy.
I recommend all three books for informative, enjoyable reading on these related subjects.