A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA (Hardback)
  • A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA (Hardback)
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A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA (Hardback)

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£25.00
Hardback 320 Pages
Published: 25/08/2022
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A Question of Standing deals with recognizable events that have shaped the history of the first 75 years of the CIA. Unsparing in its accounts of dirty tricks and their consequences, it values the agency's intelligence and analysis work to offer balanced judgements that avoid both celebration and condemnation of the CIA.

The mission of the CIA, derived from U-1 in World War I more than from World War II's OSS, has always been intelligence. Seventy-five years ago, in the year of its creation, the National Security Act gave the agency, uniquely in world history up to that point, a democratic mandate to pursue that mission of intelligence. It gave the CIA a special standing in the conduct of US foreign relations. That standing diminished when successive American presidents ordered the CIA to exceed its original mission. When they tasked the agency secretly to overthrow democratic governments, the United States lost its international standing, and its command of a majority in the United Nations General Assembly. Such dubious operations, even the government's embrace of assassination and torture, did not diminish the standing of the CIA in US public opinion. However, domestic interventions did. CIA spying on domestic protesters led to tighter congressional oversight from the 1970s on.

The chapters in A Question of Standing offer a balanced narrative and perspective on recognizable episodes in the CIA's history. They include the Bay of Pigs invasion, the War on Terror, 9/11, the weapons of mass destruction deception, the Iran estimate of 2007, the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and Fake News. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 diminished the CIA and is construed as having been the right solution undertaken for the wrong reasons, reasons that grew out of political opportunism. The book also defends the CIA's exposure of foreign meddling in US elections.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192847966
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 432 g
Dimensions: 224 x 144 x 29 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A Question of Standing is an engaging, fluently narrated book. - Scott Lucas, Times Literary Supplement

This book joins a long list of histories of the CIA...A Question of Standing makes a compelling argument about the CIA's relationship with other US institutions and can serve as a good introduction to the history of the agency. - Choice

An engaging, fluently narrated book. - Times Literary Supplement

Jeffreys-Jones, who has been studying the trials and tribulations of the CIA for many years, provides a concise, informed, and thoughtful history of the agency. - Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

The literature on the history of the CIA is vast and will only continue to grow as newer interpretations emerge. Jeffreys-Jones has produced an interesting book on the early origins, development and future of the CIA. Telling the history of an agency that has a global reach is always going to be a tall order, and this book offers an accessible introduction to the CIA. - Dan Lomas, Brunel University London, UK, International Affairs

This concise history of the Central Intelligence Agency manages to include nearly all of the agency's biggest hits and greatest catastrophes. He [Jeffreys-Jones] brings a depth of knowledge that provides innumerable fascinating anecdotes - The Guardian

An excellent primer on the history of the CIA. - Jamie Gaskarth, Engelsberg Ideas

[A] terrific new history ... This book is the best kind of constructively critical history, told with a refreshingly wry and dry sense of humour—qualities that are all too rare in extant accounts. - Timothy J. Lynch, Australian Book Review

A masterful but concise sweep of analysis; all done in just over 200 pages. ... [The] final chapters are a graceful illustration of why professional historians matter so very much. - Richard Lofthouse, QUAD

This is a deep dive into often dark and troubling history. No punches are pulled and if you're interested in foreign policy and the rise of American power, this is well worth a read. - All About History

well-researched...has salient points to make about President Obama's overuse of drone strikes, and how books were cooked to cover the "absurdly low" casualty figures of innocent people who were killed because of inaccurate strikes and false intelligence. - Martin Chilton, The Independent

an excellent history of the CIA - erudite but fluent and accessible. It engages with important issues of interpretation while at the same time driving forward a compelling narrative of events. It is concise yet wide-ranging, tracing the history of US intelligence from its beginnings to the Biden presidency. ... both balanced and compelling. - Mark White, BBC History Magazine

An insightful and disturbing history of an American institution. - Kirkus Reviews

A comprehensive and thoroughly researched history of the CIA ... engaging, fair and thoughtful. - Catherine Yardley, Frost Magazine

A pleasure to read...a simultaneously authoritative and accessible account. - Hugh Wilford, Journal of Military History

Who better to write about the CIA than a Welsh-born Scottish academic who began his career steeped in standard anti-Americanism of the European left? In a clutch of books over nearly a half century, Jeffreys-Jones has answered "no one." Here, his perspective is standing: how does the CIA stand with, above all, the President but also Congress, the American public and even, on occasion, people abroad. That perspective - plus his own standing as a foreigner both detached from and deeply immersed in things American - lets him provide fresh insights on episodes from the Bay of Pigs to the creation of the director of national intelligence, to the dissing of intelligence by Trump. This book is a pleasure. - Greg Treverton, former chair of the US National Intelligence Council under President Obama

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones has written a thorough, engaging history of the CIA. In this wide-ranging, thoughtful narrative, he takes us from the pre-history of the agency up through the controversies of the twenty-first century. Anyone interested in intelligence history or the current role of the CIA in American politics should read this book. - Kathryn Olmsted, author of Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11

A Question of Standing is an accessible and well-written book, which makes a persuasive case that covert actions loom large in perceptions of the CIA - perhaps to the detriment of intelligence work. - Rory Cormac, War in History 31

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