The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War -- a Tragedy in Three Acts

October 31, 2020
The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War -- a Tragedy in Three Acts

From the bestselling author of LAWRENCE IN ARABIA, a grippinghistory of the early years of the Cold War, the CIA's covertbattles against communism, and the tragic consequences which stillaffect America and the world todayAt the end of World War II, the United States dominated theworld militarily, economically, and in moral standing - seen as thevictor over tyranny and a champion of freedom. But it was clear -to some - that the Soviet Union was already executing a plan toexpand and foment revolution around the world. The Americangovernment's strategy in response relied on the secret efforts of anewly-formed CIA.THE QUIET AMERICANS chronicles the exploits of four spies -Michael Burke, a charming former football star fallen on hardtimes, Frank Wisner, the scion of a wealthy Southern family, PeterSichel, a sophisticated German Jew who escaped the Nazis, andEdward Lansdale, a brilliant ad executive. The four ran covertoperations across the globe, trying to outwit the ruthless KGB inBerlin, parachuting commandos into Eastern Europe, plotting coups,and directing wars against Communist insurgents in Asia.But time and again their efforts went awry, thwarted by acombination of stupidity and ideological rigidity at the highestlevels of the government - and more profoundly, the decision toabandon American ideals. By the mid-1950s, the Soviet Union had astranglehold on Eastern Europe, the U.S. had begun its disastrousintervention in Vietnam, and America, the beacon of democracy, wasoverthrowing democratically-elected governments and earning thehatred of much of the world. All of this culminated in an act ofbetrayal and cowardice that would lock the Cold War into place fordecades to come.Anderson brings to the telling of this story all the narrativebrio, deep research, skeptical eye, and lively prose that madeLAWRENCE IN ARABIA a major international bestseller. Theintertwined lives of these men began in a common purpose ofdefending freedom, but the ravages of the Cold War led them todifferent fates. Two would quit the CIA in despair, stricken by themoral compromises they had to make; one became the archetype of theduplicitous and destructive American spy; and one would be soheartbroken he would take his own life.THE QUIET AMERICANS is the story of these four men. It is alsothe story of how the United States, at the very pinnacle of itspower, managed to permanently damage its moral standing in theworld.