A gripping account of four American spies at the dawn of the Cold War and the CIA's covert battles against communism, from the bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia.
ENTHRALLING...CAPTIVATING READING, especially in the hands of a storyteller as skilled as Anderson...the climate of fear and intolerance that it describes in Washington also feels uncomfortably timely. --Kevin Peraino, The New York Times Book Review
THE QUIET AMERICANS chronicles the exploits of the CIA's four original spies: Michael Burke, a charming former football star fallen on hard times, Frank Wisner, the scion of a wealthy Southern family, Peter Sichel, a sophisticated German Jew who escaped the Nazis, and Edward Lansdale, a brilliant ad executive. The four ran covert operations across the globe, trying to outwit the ruthless KGB in Berlin, parachuting commandos into Eastern Europe, plotting coups, and directing wars against Communist insurgents in Asia.
But time and again their efforts went awry, thwarted by a combination of incompetence and ideological rigidity at the highest levels of the government. The intertwined lives of these men began in a common purpose of defending freedom, but the ravages of the Cold War led them to different fates. Two would quit the CIA in despair, stricken by the moral compromises they had to make; one became the archetype of the duplicitous and destructive American spy; and one would be so heartbroken he would take his own life.
THE QUIET AMERICANS is the story of these four men. It is also the story of how the United States, at the very pinnacle of its power, managed to permanently damage its moral standing--a tragic outcome with consequences that echo around the world today.