From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War

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9780684834979: From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War

From a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, whose government service spanned six presidencies, this is the inside story of the role of America and the agency in the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Gates provides descriptions of the atmosphere, culture and politics of the CIA and the National Security Council and draws candid appraisals of presidents and key officials. Among his many disclosures are: how Carter laid the foundations for Reagan's covert wars against the Soviets; CIA predictions of a conservative coup against Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Union; CIA and KGB "black operations" against each other; the secret relationship between Pope John Paul II and the Soviets; and the three secret CIA-KGB summits.

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Review:

Gates, director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1993, began in an entry level position and rose to the top. His insider's account of the Cold War, CIA operations and the unraveling of the Soviet Union is sprinkled with revelations including the fact that 1983 was the most dangerous year in U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations and that both the CIA and KGB sponsored countless "black operations" designed to embarrass and discredit the other side. Gates also reveals that he secretly met with KGB foreign operations chief Vladimir Kryuchkov on two separate occasions and how the CIA often acted in contempt of Congress. While none of this may come as a huge surprise, it never fails to shock when it's laid out in black and white by someone who was on the inside.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A career undercover man who reached the top of his furtive profession (as director of the CIA from late 1991 through early 1993), Gates sheds considerable light in this wide-angle memoir on the ways in which the craft of intelligence influenced government policy during the height of the Cold War. Focusing on the undeclared conflict that pitted the US against the USSR and its client states in venues ranging from Afghanistan to Poland, the author offers a notably candid chronological evaluation of what his agency contributed (or did not contribute) to the last 25 years of America's war against Communism. He also provides telling detail on the homefront hostilities in which CIA officials battled their counterparts at other agencies, justifiably wary lawmakers, and investigative reporters to remain in the good graces of the White House. Gates also explains that d‚tente was the Nixon administration's pragmatic response to the CIA's failure to foresee the Soviet military buildup that began during the late 1960s, producing a singular shift in the global balance of power. He goes on to show that there was appreciably more continuity than is generally perceived between the Carter and Reagan eras, as far as effective challenges to Moscow's zeal for geopolitical adventurism were concerned. Covered as well are the CIA's prescient take on Mikhail Gorbachev's ouster, the agency's surprise at the overnight success of the Velvet Revolution that signalled the end of the Warsaw Pact, the cost of institutional lapses (including the treachery of Aldrich Ames), and the several secret CIA-KGB summits. The vetted text delivers a surprising measure of jocose particulars and tricks-of-the-trade disclosures. Nor does Gates neglect to settle some scores with out-of-office mandarins (George Schultz and others) who beat him into print. A silent-service veteran's genuinely engrossing from-the- inside-out appraisal of an eventful period in the history of the US and the wider world. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Robert M. Gates
Editorial: Simon & Schuster (1997)
ISBN 10: 0684834979 ISBN 13: 9780684834979
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Robert M. Gates
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Gates, Robert M.
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