In This Review

The Old Boys: The American Elite And The Origins Of The Cia
The Old Boys: The American Elite And The Origins Of The Cia
By Burton Hersh
Scribner's, 1992, 536 pp

This book traces the formation of central intelligence, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, from its growth out of the Office of Strategic Services through the resignation of Alien Dulles after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. Heavily anecdotal and breathlessly written, the narrative introduces a steady stream of colorful characters who became the founding fathers and staff of the CIA. The author documents the infighting and backbiting among a group of strong-willed officials, but fails to pause occasionally for much reflection or analysis on the course of American intelligence, its assumptions about policy and its own role in what came to be called the national security state. Well documented, based mainly on secondary sources as well as interviews.