Chief of Station, Congo

Chief of Station, Congo : Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone

3.58 (302 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is the autobiography of one of the Cold War's hottest warriors: the CIA Station Chief in the Congo during the tumultuous years of independence. Larry Devlin arrived as the new chief of station for the CIA in the Congo five days after the country had declared its independence, the army had mutinied and governmental authority had collapsed. As he crossed the Congo River in an almost empty ferry, all he could see were lines of people trying to travel the other way - out of the Congo. Within his first two weeks, he found himself on the wrong end of a revolver as militiamen played Russian-roulette with him, Congo style. During his first year, the charismatic and reckless political leader Patrice Lumumba was murdered, and Devlin was widely though to have been entrusted with (he was), and to have carried out (he didn't) the assassination. Then he saved the life of Joseph Desire Mobutu, who carried out the military coup that presaged his own rise to political power. Devlin found himself at the heart of Africa, fighting for the survival of perhaps the most strategically influential country on the continent, its borders shared with eight other nations.
He met every significant political figure, from presidents to mercenaries, as he took the Cold War to one of the world's hottest zones. This is a classic political memoir from a master spy who lived in wildly dramatic times.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 162.6 x 238.8 x 27.9mm | 567g
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8 pages b&w photographs
  • 1586484052
  • 9781586484057
  • 2,616,153

About Lawrence Devlin

Larry Devlin was raised in California, enlisted in the army reaching the grade of captain in World War II, joined the CIA in 1949 and was appointed Chief of Station, Congo, in 1959. HE subsequently served as Chief of Station, Laos and Chief, Africa Division and retired in 1974. He resides in Virginia and Provence.
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Review quote

"His voice had the gravely timbre of a man who smoked three packets of cigarettes a day until a brush with open heart surgery. His hands - creased by a million experiences, the wedding ring so deeply set in the flesh it seemed welded to the bone - would give a palm reader pause for thought. But his brain was as keen and irreverent as ever. And with his defiant insistence that he regretted nothing about the CIA's support for Mobutu, Larry Devlin was a reminder that whatever happened in the end there was a time when Mobutu was not just the hope of interfering Americans obsessed with domino metaphors." Michaela Wrong, journalist and writer, on Larry Devlin"
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Rating details

302 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 16% (48)
4 38% (116)
3 35% (106)
2 9% (28)
1 1% (4)
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