From Publishers Weekly
The CIA is one of the most mysterious and most controversial government agencies, yet journalist Smith glosses over its more complicated aspects in his A-to-Z guide to the organization, which presents the CIA's history from its inception in 1947 through today's war on terror. Smith, a former Marine Corps infantry leader and paratrooper, rather glorifies the agency and its operatives-e.g., in writing of the CIA's role in the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat, he describes ousted leader Mossadegh as "a nervous man prone to fits of crying" and gives little weight to Mossadegh's assertion that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which he wanted to nationalize, "was bleeding Iran dry of its oil." The Iran operation "went off without a hitch," Smith writes triumphantly, offering no clue as to the action's controversial nature. But, while not a fully objective history, this volume can be a handy reference for anyone who needs a reminder as to what the "Halloween Massacre" was or what the various nicknames given to the CIA's predecessor, the OSS ("Oh So Secret," "Oh So Social") were. 45 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-This comprehensive, A-to-Z resource describes in some detail the largest, most important arm of secret defense for the U.S. The almost 550 entries include terms; people; operations; responsibilities; controversies; film, television, and fiction portrayals; and the agency's history from its beginnings to its current role in America's war on terrorism. Entries range in length from a few sentences to two or three pages. The few black-and-white photographs tend to be dark or grainy. Appendixes include a glossary of acronyms, abbreviations, and code names; an organization chart; questions and answers about the CIA; and lists of directors and deputy directors. An extensive bibliography and comprehensive index complete this user-friendly, informative title.-Dana McDougald, Cedar Shoals High School, Athens, GA
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