As a student of the Second World War, I simply had to read this treatise on the OSS, which was dissolved at the end of the War. It took the U.S. several years to gear up to form the CIA, but as many know, some of the early CIA top echelon came from the OSS. And where did the OSS get its early operatives? They came from the top levels of American business, society, and old school networks--in short the "real" Americans who own this country (recall the film "The Good Shepherd" with Matt Damon, which is about the early OSS? In a scene from that film, Damon's character goes to the Jersey shore to recruit an Italian-American (played by Joe Pesci) in the early 1960s. JP's character asks, in short, all of the immigrant groups have something to gather around--what do you, the Yale graduate, the old-school boys have? "We have the United States of America" is the answer. And so it probably is today, or at least before the last administration--and probably is so deep within the present CIA.
On yhr original book's dust jacket, the question is asked, "What did Stewart Alsop, John Birch, Julia Child, Allen Dulles, John Gardner, Arthur Goldberg....and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. have in common?" They were in the OSS! Wild Bill Donovan may have recruited just about anyone for the OSS, even avowed Marxists and Communists, in the drive to defeat Fascism, but the effects of his methods linger on today worldwide. This book is a well-documented, well-written, and important history lesson. As the old saying goes, "you reap what you sow"--and we are still reaping what the OSS did during the Second World War. Any student of history, American history, the War, and international politics (which includes war, or politics by other means) would do well to read this book and heed the inherent warnings within; it was written as the edifice of nationalism in the United States began to wither, in the early 1970s, and we are seeing the effects of these attempts to further erode our national sovereignty now. The freewheeling OSS may have been part of the beginning of that destruction--or, at least, deconstruction.