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Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947

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While much has been disclosed about the CIA's cloak-and-dagger activities during the Cold War, relatively little is known about the real origins of this secret organization. David Rudgers, a 22-year CIA veteran, has written the first complete account of its creation, revealing how the idea of "centralized intelligence" developed within the government and debunking the myth While much has been disclosed about the CIA's cloak-and-dagger activities during the Cold War, relatively little is known about the real origins of this secret organization. David Rudgers, a 22-year CIA veteran, has written the first complete account of its creation, revealing how the idea of "centralized intelligence" developed within the government and debunking the myth that former OSS chief William J. Donovan was the prime mover behind the agency's founding.Creating the Secret State locates the CIA's origins in governmentwide efforts to reorganize national security during the transition from World War II to the Cold War. Rudgers maintains that the creation of the CIA was not merely the brainchild of "Wild Bill" Donovan. Rather, it was the culmination of years of negotiation among numerous policy makers such as James Forrestal and Dean Acheson, each with strong opinions regarding the agency's mission and methods. He shows that Congress, State and Justice Departments, Joint Chiefs, and even the Bureau of the Budget all had a hand in the establishment of this "secret state" that operates nearly invisibly outside the American political process.Based almost entirely on archival and other primary sources, Rudgers's book describes in detail how the CIA evolved from its original purpose -- as a watchdog to guard against a "nuclear Pearl Harbor" -- to the role of clandestine warriors countering Soviet subversion, eventually engaging in more forms of intelligence gathering and covert operations than any of its counterparts. It suggests how the agency became a different organization than it might have been without the Communist threat and also shows how it both overexaggerated thedangers of the Cold War and failed to predict its ending.Rudgers has written an accurate and balanced account that brings America's undercover army in from the cold and out from under the cult of personality. An indispensable resource for future studies of the CIA, Creating the Secret State tells the inside story of why and how the agency was called into existence as it stimulates thinking about its future relevance in a rapidly changing world.


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While much has been disclosed about the CIA's cloak-and-dagger activities during the Cold War, relatively little is known about the real origins of this secret organization. David Rudgers, a 22-year CIA veteran, has written the first complete account of its creation, revealing how the idea of "centralized intelligence" developed within the government and debunking the myth While much has been disclosed about the CIA's cloak-and-dagger activities during the Cold War, relatively little is known about the real origins of this secret organization. David Rudgers, a 22-year CIA veteran, has written the first complete account of its creation, revealing how the idea of "centralized intelligence" developed within the government and debunking the myth that former OSS chief William J. Donovan was the prime mover behind the agency's founding.Creating the Secret State locates the CIA's origins in governmentwide efforts to reorganize national security during the transition from World War II to the Cold War. Rudgers maintains that the creation of the CIA was not merely the brainchild of "Wild Bill" Donovan. Rather, it was the culmination of years of negotiation among numerous policy makers such as James Forrestal and Dean Acheson, each with strong opinions regarding the agency's mission and methods. He shows that Congress, State and Justice Departments, Joint Chiefs, and even the Bureau of the Budget all had a hand in the establishment of this "secret state" that operates nearly invisibly outside the American political process.Based almost entirely on archival and other primary sources, Rudgers's book describes in detail how the CIA evolved from its original purpose -- as a watchdog to guard against a "nuclear Pearl Harbor" -- to the role of clandestine warriors countering Soviet subversion, eventually engaging in more forms of intelligence gathering and covert operations than any of its counterparts. It suggests how the agency became a different organization than it might have been without the Communist threat and also shows how it both overexaggerated thedangers of the Cold War and failed to predict its ending.Rudgers has written an accurate and balanced account that brings America's undercover army in from the cold and out from under the cult of personality. An indispensable resource for future studies of the CIA, Creating the Secret State tells the inside story of why and how the agency was called into existence as it stimulates thinking about its future relevance in a rapidly changing world.

30 review for Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A through, well-written, and carefully researched history of the disbandment of OSS and the creation of the CIA. Rudgers does not dispute the idea that William Donovan played a role in the Agency’s creation, but he does place emphasis on the idea that it evolved institutionally. Although the relevant CIA records have been available for quite some time even prior to Rudgers’ work, he does a fine job telling his story. His treatment of the negotiations and infighting among the government during the A through, well-written, and carefully researched history of the disbandment of OSS and the creation of the CIA. Rudgers does not dispute the idea that William Donovan played a role in the Agency’s creation, but he does place emphasis on the idea that it evolved institutionally. Although the relevant CIA records have been available for quite some time even prior to Rudgers’ work, he does a fine job telling his story. His treatment of the negotiations and infighting among the government during these years is thorough and impressive. The book does have a few minor errors(mixing up dates and ranks, etc.), but it doesn’t suffer much from them. Readable and interesting. See also The Very Best Men: The Daring Early Years of the CIA for a more lively popular history of these events and beyond.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    I have a bias but this is a clear-eyed refutation of the Donovan Myth. Well-written, informative, and interesting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  4. 5 out of 5

    Augustus Brightman

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    Thom Riddle

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    Walter

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    Pippah Getchell

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    Sodom Hussein

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    Karl

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    Robert Palmer

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    Liam

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    Tyler

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    Fabian Scherschel

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sultan Hussain

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    Perifian

  16. 5 out of 5

    Blair

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    Hany

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    Yan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaća La

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean

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    Tyler Foster

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    Volta

  24. 4 out of 5

    Munif

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Haggstrom

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    Maria Fernanda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Morales

  28. 5 out of 5

    NEDM

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  30. 4 out of 5

    A

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