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About the Author

Tim Weiner was born on June 20, 1956. He was educated at Columbia University. As a correspondent for The New York Times, he covered war and terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, and other nations. His articles on secret government programs received the Pulitzer Prize for National show more Reporting. He has written several books including Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black Budget, Enemies: A History of the FBI, and One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA won the National Book Award. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

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Works by Tim Weiner


20th century (40) America (23) American (18) American history (106) audio (18) audiobook (14) biography (32) Central Intelligence Agency (15) CIA (181) Cold War (80) crime (20) current events (13) currently-reading (14) ebook (17) espionage (119) FBI (56) government (21) history (469) intelligence (70) J. Edgar Hoover (13) Kindle (24) military (11) NF (15) Nixon (14) non-fiction (275) own (11) political (13) political science (17) politics (135) presidents (15) read (28) Russia (13) spy (46) to-read (287) U.S. History (16) unread (16) US (14) US history (48) USA (119) wishlist (13)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Weiner, Tim
Other names
Places of residence
Washington, D.C., USA
Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University
Johnston, David (co-author)
Lewis, Neil A. (co-author)
The New York Times
Awards and honors
Pulitzer Prize (National Reporting, 1988)
Short biography
Tim Weiner has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his writing on vital issues of American national security. As a correspondent for The New York Times, he covered the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon in Washington, and reported on war and terrorism from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, and many other nations over the course of 15 years.



This book could have been a fascinating history of our nation from the perspective of the FBI. It was not. The story was told without much context to what was happening politically or culturally in our nation or the world.

In fairness to the author, had that been included it would have made for a much longer book. It was long enough.

The book was mostly a very long list of crimes. Some of those crimes were committed by the FBI. It did not lower my esteem for the organization or my opinion about the challenges they face today.… (more)
dlinnen | 50 other reviews | Feb 3, 2024 |
I received this book as a gift in 2008 or 2009, and finally got around to reading it in 2023. It was a very interesting history, which, though lengthy, moved along quickly through each time period and historical event, almost a page turner at times. Though I was aware of the questionable covert practices during battles to combat terrorism, I was surprised to read the long history of apparently botched missions and minimal effectiveness in gathering and analyzing intelligence. After finishing the book, I learned that the CIA put out a statement refuting the conclusions of the author, and although the book was favorably reviewed in the journalistic arena, it was criticized in some academic circles. It would be interesting to read an account of what has transpired following the publishing date of this book, and views from a different perspective.… (more)
jspurdy | 48 other reviews | Jan 10, 2024 |
This book offered more to me than the standard fare of Nixon biographies. Which mostly means it discusses the corruption of the Nixon administration, and Nixon in general, outside of Watergate.
HCSimmons | 13 other reviews | Mar 11, 2023 |
Here's a quick summary of why you might want to read this: it's a well-researched and documented history of the FBI, including all the good and they bad, about Hoover in particular, but the good-bad stuff didn't end with him of course. Hoover led the FBI for 55 years (about 2/3 of its existence) and so there's a lot about him and his relationships with the many presidents who came and went over during his tenure. The last third of the book takes on the post-Hoover decades: how it slowly rose from the disgrace of Hoover's decline and the Nixon years, through the shock of the terror attacks of the 90s and early aughts. It ends around 2010, so our man Comey hasn't come along yet (except in a fascinating vignette as the Deputy Attorney General).

This book gave me a lot more context in which to place the FBI (and Comey) today, to say nothing of simply being a well-written (the author won a Pulitzer for his history of the CIA) and fascinating history.
… (more)
qaphsiel | 50 other reviews | Feb 20, 2023 |



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