John Ranelagh

Ranelagh, John.

1. The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. Revised & updated. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987. JK468I6R29

Pforzheimer, [no longer active], calls Ranelagh's "probably the best single book on the CIA." On the other hand, Lowenthal rates it only "a useful and comprehensive history of the CIA's first 25 years." Petersen notes that the "1987 edition reflects the correction of certain errors in the 1986 version."

For Dujmovic, Studies 58.1 (Mar. 2014), this work "remains one of the most reliable and balanced CIA histories ever published." While viewing The Agency as a "fine book," Wirtz, IJI&C 3.1, also suggests that it overrelies "on the testimony of CIA officials." Additionally, it lacks "analytical detachment, [as] evidenced by a compulsion to provide a complete, albeit sometimes contradictory, record of events."

Jeffreys-Jones, I&NS 3.2, opines that "Ranelagh has produced a mainly unoriginal book." Nevertheless, it "provides a readable account of the whole of the CIA's history, with even coverage and many fascinating quotations culled from participants." Thomas, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 1999, terms the book an "encyclopedic and fair-minded overview of the agency into the 1980s."

2. C.I.A. London: BBC Books, 1992.

Surveillant 2:4: This is a "compact, slightly changed edition" of author's 1987 book The Agency. It contains new photos and new material on some CIA figures. The book "tracks a BBC series on CIA."


Ranelagh, John. "Through the Looking Glass: A Comparison of United States and United Kingdom Intelligence Cultures." In In the Name of Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Walter Pforzheimer, eds. Hayden B. Peake and Samuel Halpern, 411-443. Washington, DC: NIBC Press, 1994.

[CIA/Culture; UK/Overviews][c]

Ranelagh, John. "The Good Steward of the CIA." National Review, 7 Nov. 1988, 37.

As DCI, George Bush showed himself "to be more capable than he looked, with that strong sense of obligation downward which energizes and renews battered institutions, and generates strong personal feelings. He proved to be a classic custodian: making sure all was ship-shape on his watch. His people knew that they would not be served up piecemeal to posturing politicians and excitable journalists. He did more for Agency morale than any DCI since Allen Dulles."


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