Reflections of a Cold Warrior: From Yalta to the Bay of Pigs

Richard M. Bissell, Author, Frances T. Pudlo, With, Jonathan E. Lewis, With Yale University Press $61 (280p) ISBN 978-0-300-06430-8
For decades, Bissell had a reputation as the smartest person in Washington, D.C. Unrecognized by most citizens, he was a celebrity among the foreign-policy elite. He played a role in formulating the Marshall Plan. He drafted CIA operations from his Ford Foundation perch in the early 1950s, then joined the spy agency in 1954, serving during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. Although he kept a low profile even in retirement, Bissell eventually began working on this memoir when he was 81, enlisting the help of two younger confidantes, Lewis and Pudlo, and it was almost finished when he died four years later in 1994. Although the writing style is at times stilted, the memoir is refreshing in its apologetic hindsight. Bissell admits his and his government's mistakes in the U-2 spy plane missions over the Soviet Union and in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Ironically, though, what could have made headlines thanks to Bissell's candor has been diluted by the publication last year of Evan Thomas's The Very Best Men, about the CIA's early history. Bissell's family generously gave Thomas access to this unpublished manuscript, and Thomas mined many of the nuggets. Bissell's version is worth reading anyway for its insights into the links between bureaucratic process and government policy. Even enemies of the CIA are likely to be engaged by Bissell's unpretentious voice and periodic admissions of fallibility. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/27/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Show other formats
FORMATS
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.