The quiet Americans Four CIA spies at the dawn of the Cold War--a tragedy in three acts

Scott Anderson, 1959-

Book - 2020

"At the end of World War II, the United States dominated the world militarily, economically, and in moral standing--seen as the victor over tyranny and a champion of freedom. But it was clear--to some--that the Soviet Union was already executing a plan to expand and foment revolution around the world. The American government's strategy in response relied on the secret efforts of a newly-formed CIA. THE QUIET AMERICANS chronicles the exploits of four spies--Michael Burke, a charming for...mer football star fallen on hard times, Frank Wisner, the scion of a wealthy Southern family, Peter Sichel, a sophisticated German Jew who escaped the Nazis, and Edward Lansdale, a brilliant ad executive. The four ran covert operations across the globe, trying to outwit the ruthless KGB in Berlin, parachuting commandos into Eastern Europe, plotting coups, and directing wars against Communist insurgents in Asia. But time and again their efforts went awry, thwarted by a combination of stupidity and ideological rigidity at the highest levels of the government--and more profoundly, the decision to abandon American ideals. By the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union had a stranglehold on Eastern Europe, the U.S. had begun its disastrous intervention in Vietnam, and America, the beacon of democracy, was overthrowing democratically-elected governments and earning the hatred of much of the world. All of this culminated in an act of betrayal and cowardice that would lock the Cold War into place for decades to come. Anderson brings to the telling of this story all the narrative brio, deep research, skeptical eye, and lively prose that made LAWRENCE IN ARABIA a major international bestseller. The intertwined lives of these men began in a common purpose of defending freedom, but the ravages of the Cold War led them to different fates. Two would quit the CIA in despair, stricken by the moral compromises they had to make; one became the archetype of the duplicitous and destructive American spy; and one would be so heartbroken he would take his own life. THE QUIET AMERICANS is the story of these four men. It is also the story of how the United States, at the very pinnacle of its power, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 327.1273/Anderson Due Feb 4, 2022
New York : Doubleday [2020]
First edition
Physical Description
x, 562 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [477]-535) and index.
Main Author
Scott Anderson, 1959- (author)
  • Act 1: This sad and breathless moment. Operation Dogwood ; A demon inside me ; A man called Typhoid ; The wunderkind ; The man who could disappear ; The sentinel ; A lush lawlessness ; The quiet American ; A world blowing up ; An end to normal things
  • Act 2: Heart and minds and dirty tricks. The mighty Wurlitzer and the royal dwarf ; Operation Rusty ; Ripe for revolt ; Finding "our guy" ; Witch hunt ; Operation Fiend ; War as a practical joke ; Tossing the dice
  • Act 3: Crowding the enemy. An alarming enthusiasm ; Red Scare revived ; White knight ; Operation Success ; Those bastards out there ; Collapse.