The Devil's Chessboard - David Talbot

The Devil's Chessboard

By David Talbot

  • Release Date: 2015-10-13
  • Genre: Political Science
Score: 4.5
From 80 Ratings


An explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful—and secretive—colossus in Washington, from the founder of and author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers.

America’s greatest untold story: the United States’ rise to world dominance under the guile of Allen Welsh Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA. Drawing on revelatory new materials—including newly discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s wife and mistress, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials—Talbot reveals the underside of one of America’s most powerful and influential figures.

Dulles’s decade as the director of the CIA—which he used to further his public and private agendas—were dark times in American politics. Calling himself “the secretary of state of unfriendly countries,” Dulles saw himself as above the elected law, manipulating and subverting American presidents in the pursuit of his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite he counted as his friends and clients—colluding with Nazi-controlled cartels, German war criminals, and Mafiosi in the process. Targeting foreign leaders for assassination and overthrowing nationalist governments not in line with his political aims, Dulles employed those same tactics to further his goals at home, Talbot charges, offering shocking new evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

An exposé of American power that is as disturbing as it is timely, The Devil’s Chessboard is a provocative and gripping story of the rise of the national security state—and the battle for America’s soul.


  • Accurate

    By JAC123son
    A bit wordy at times but overall a really good book.
  • Excellent

    By thingsyoudontlearninschool
    A must read for anyone that is interested in viewing history through a different lens. You will be talking about this book with your friends, I guarantee it.
  • Outstanding Work; Meticulously Researched

    By Webalon
    This book lays out in scholarly, masterful detail the life and career of Allen Dulles and his profound impact and influence on the rise of the American security state. Meticulously researched. A must read.
  • Wow

    By Bbribozo
    We will probably never know for sure the whole truth of what happened. But if the author of this book has his facts right these people really were evil.
  • Hogwash

    By ChrisD2013
    If you believe that the CIA killed President Kennedy then you'll like this book. If you want a scholarly and reasoned analysis of the work of the CIA and Allen Dulles, keep looking.