cover image Instruments of Statecraft

Instruments of Statecraft

Michael McClintlock. Pantheon Books, $30 (604pp) ISBN 978-0-394-55945-2

McClintock ( The American Connection ) takes a sweeping look at secret U.S. military operations during the past 50 years, particularly ``special warfare.'' He notes that America learned techniques of secret warfare in WW II and utilized them early on to influence Third World governments that emerged from the postwar collapse of colonial empires. The book profiles Edward Lansdale, counterinsurgency adviser to President Kennedy who advocated psychological warfare in the Philippines and Vietnam. McClintock outlines the development of special warfare from the end of the Vietnam war to the last days of the Reagan administration, tracing U.S. actions in Central America and the Middle East. Factually reliable but lacking in interpretation, the survey is so broad in scope that one is not always certain what points are being made. (Jan.)