Lost Crusader

Lost Crusader : The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby

3.22 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
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From his years as America's point man in Vietnam to his mysterious death in 1996, William E. Colby was one of the most enigmatic figures of the Cold War. Whether it was in CIA operations against Russia, anti-Communism in Western Europe, covert action in Southeast Asia, or its involvement in the Watergate affair, Colby stood at the center of the agency's secret activities. Lost Crusader for the first time uncovers the real story of this master spy, from his beginnings in the OSS to his tumultuous years as Director of Central Intelligence in the 1970s. Reviled by many outside the CIA for his role in Vietnam, he was later cast as a scapegoat by the Nixon White House during the Church and Pike congressional investigations of CIA activities. Based on extensive research and interviews with key participants, John Prados offers new revelations on the CIA in Western Europe and elsewhere: a fresh analysis of the notorious Phoenix program in Vietnam, and the most authoritative account of agency involvement in the bloody Indonesian coup of 1965 that overthrew Sukarno and brought General Suharto to power. Moreover, Prados has uncovered new evidence on the CIA's role in the 1963 assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam and also furnishes the first account of the action at the top level of the CIA during the final demise of South Vietnam in 1975. A masterful study of a master spy, Lost Crusader offers vital insight into the Cold War, Vietnam, and the inner workings of the CIA.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 166.9 x 231.9 x 28.2mm | 757.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16pp halftone plates
  • 0195128478
  • 9780195128475

Review quote

"By portraying William Colby's life in all its nuances, Lost Crusader makes an important contribution to intelligence literature."--Washington Post Book World"Conspiracy buffs will find that his account of Colby's suspicious death in 1996 offers plenty of intiguing possibilities."--Kirkus Reviews"A deeply researched and well-written account of Colby's career.... This first book-length study of Colby's career should stand the test of time as a high-quality contribution."--Library Journal"Well-researched.... His life of Colby 'is a parable for today, when the CIA and U.S. intelligence in general again stand in need of visionary leadership.'"--Steve Weinberg, Denver Post"A comprehensive dossier on the espionage career of William Colby, this copiously detailed work comes from an author highly regarded as an intelligence historian. Careful and judicious, Prados never grandstands; instead, he seeks to understand the myriad controversies about CIA activity exposed by congressional investigations in 1975."--Booklist"This highly detailed look at one of the major spymasters of the post-WWII era is another intriguing work by the prolific Prados.... Prados's most controversial argument is that Colby's willingness to work with Congress to reform the CIA 'saved the agency' by allowing it additional freedom. This is an essential and provocative addition to works on the CIA."--Publishers Weekly"John Prados's biography of legendary Cold War spymaster William Colby is a formidable achievement by a wonderfully accessible historian. Through the prism of Colby's controversial CIA career, Prados has written a gripping and revealing new history of our intelligence Establishment. In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, as Congress begins to investigate yet another intelligence failure, Lost Crusader is a timely reminder of the importance of knowing our hidden history."--Kai Bird, author of The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy & William Bundy, Brothers in Arms and The Chairman: John J. McCloy & The Making of the American Establishment"John Prados, in a meticulously researched biography of William Colby, has also produced an insightful history of the CIA--in Vietnam and in Washington corridors of power. This is a book that delivers far more than the life of a secret man."--Thomas B. Allen, co-author of Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage"John Prados does a better job of explaining and defending William Colby than the controversial director of the CIA did for himself in his own memoirs. Colby was a classic old boy--schooled in secret intelligence during the Second World War, quick to rejoin the CIA when it was gearing up to fight the Cold War, a true believer during America's disastrous adventure in Vietnam. But Colby also became the CIA's first champion of openness and he helped save the agency from itself during the scandals of the 1970s. Nobody knows this history better than Prados; in Lost Crusader he has written a lively narrative that is a fine one-volume introduction to the history of American intelligence." --Thomas Powers, author of The Man Who Kept the Secretsshow more

About John Prados

John Prados is a senior researcher at the National Security Archive in Washington. He is one of America's leading historians of intelligence and espionage, and the author of ten other books, including Presidents' Secret Wars and Combined Fleet Decoded. He holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia University.show more

Rating details

18 ratings
3.22 out of 5 stars
5 6% (1)
4 22% (4)
3 61% (11)
2 11% (2)
1 0% (0)
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