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The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played…
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The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

by Hugh Wilford

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Fascinating material, solidly researched, but the content of the book doesn't live up to the title.

Wilford shows that the CIA’s covert network began in the late 1940s, based on the Cold War, domestic anti-communism, and American love of associations. The book’s title comes from a remark by Frank Wisner, “the Agency’s first chief of political warfare.” Wilford describes three phases: 1) organizations providing cover for émigrés; 2) operations to shore up Western European civil society; 3) programs aimed at Third World nations. Earlier interpretations have exaggerated the CIA’s ability to call the tune.

This book aims to be comprehensive though not exhaustive, and to present as rounded a picture as possible. “U.S. citizens at first followed the Agency’s score, then began improvising their own tunes, eventually turning harmony into cacophony,” Wilford writes, forcing his metaphor. ( )
  jensenmk82 | Aug 21, 2009 |
he Central Intelligence Agency had been secretly funding and managing a wide range of citizen front groups intended to counter communist influence around the world. In addition to embarrassing prominent individuals caught up, wittingly or unwittingly, in the secret superpower struggle for hearts and minds, the revelations of 1967 were one of the worst operational disasters in the history of American intelligence and presaged a series of public scandals from which the CIA's reputation has arguably never recovered.

CIA official Frank Wisner called the operation his "mighty Wurlitzer," on which he could play any propaganda tune. In this illuminating book, Hugh Wilford provides the first comprehensive account of the clandestine relationship between the CIA and its front organizations. Using an unprecedented wealth of sources, he traces the rise and fall of America's Cold War front network from its origins in the 1940s to its Third World expansion during the 1950s and ultimate collapse in the 1960s.
  saidshafik | Jul 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674026810, Hardcover)

In 1967 the magazine Ramparts ran an exposé revealing that the Central Intelligence Agency had been secretly funding and managing a wide range of citizen front groups intended to counter communist influence around the world. In addition to embarrassing prominent individuals caught up, wittingly or unwittingly, in the secret superpower struggle for hearts and minds, the revelations of 1967 were one of the worst operational disasters in the history of American intelligence and presaged a series of public scandals from which the CIA's reputation has arguably never recovered.

CIA official Frank Wisner called the operation his "mighty Wurlitzer," on which he could play any propaganda tune. In this illuminating book, Hugh Wilford provides the first comprehensive account of the clandestine relationship between the CIA and its front organizations. Using an unprecedented wealth of sources, he traces the rise and fall of America's Cold War front network from its origins in the 1940s to its Third World expansion during the 1950s and ultimate collapse in the 1960s.

Covering the intelligence officers who masterminded the CIA's fronts as well as the involved citizen groups--émigrés, labor, intellectuals, artists, students, women, Catholics, African Americans, and journalists--Wilford provides a surprising analysis of Cold War society that contains valuable lessons for our own age of global conflict.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:46 -0400)

"In 1967 the magazine Ramparts ran an expose revealing that the Central Intelligence Agency had been secretly funding and managing a wide range of citizen front groups intended to counter communist influence around the world. In addition to embarrassing prominent individuals caught up, wittingly or unwittingly, in the secret superpower struggle for hearts and minds, the revelations of 1967 were one of the worst operational disasters in the history of American intelligence and presaged a series of public scandals from which the CIA's reputation has arguably never recovered." "CIA official Frank Wisner called the operation his "mighty Wurlitzer," on which he could play any propaganda tune. In this book, Hugh Wilford provides the first comprehensive account of the clandestine relationship between the CIA and its front organizations. Using an unprecedented wealth of sources, he traces the rise and fall of America's Cold War front network from its origins in the 1940s to its Third World expansion during the 1950s and ultimate collapse in the 1960s."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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