James J. Angleton

Works on Angleton

I - Q

Mangold, Tom. Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton, The CIA's Master Spy Hunter. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. New York: Touchstone, 1992. [pb]

According to Cram, most reviewers hailed this book "as a major triumph of research and writing," while "pro-Angleton critics ... declared it inaccurate.... Mangold's conclusion is inescapable: something was seriously wrong with CIA counterintelligence under Angleton.... What Mangold was able to cram into his 403 pages is devastating to Angleton's reputation."

This is a judgment concurred in by John Starnes, Director General of the Canadian RCMP Security Service during the period that is the focus of Mangold's work. In his review in I&NS 7.3, Starnes calls the book "well-written and carefully researched," but notes that Mangold "has almost, but not quite, captured" the "attractive, complex, eccentric, interesting and contradictory character" of Angleton the person.

Braden, Washington Monthly, Jun. 1991, believes that Mangold has done "an extraordinarily diligent job." On the other hand, Surveillant 2.4 notes that critics point to "the one-sided character of the presentation which concentrates on the negative consequences of Angleton's activities." Peake, IJI&C 5.2, sees Cold Warrior as "worthy of thoughtful analysis and reflection." It is a "harsh critique of Angleton ... and the CIA itself." Mangold makes a "strong case for the prosecution -- unaccompanied by a balanced presentation for the defense.... [N]o serious study of counter-intelligence history can ignore it."

For Finder, NYTBR, 30 Jun. 1991, this "important and gripping work," with its focus on the mole hunt of 1963 to 1974, "is not a full-fledged biography." The depiction of Angleton "is far less evenhanded than ... the long chapter ... in Robin Winks' Cloak and Gown, which remains the best overall treatment of the man's career." Treverton, FA (Winter 1992-1993), finds that the author "has interviewed carefully and even-handedly and writes this fascinating story in sturdy prose. Yet the book is a commanding indictment" of Angleton's slip "from caution to obsession."

Robarge, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), says that Mangold's "is still the most factually detailed, thoroughly researched study of Angleton." However, it "does not cover all aspects of Angleton's CIA career. Rather, it is the 'prosecution's brief' against him for the molehunt."

Martin, David C. Wilderness of Mirrors. New York: Harper & Row, 1980. New York: Ballantine Books, 1981.[pb] Wilderness of Mirrors: Intrigue, Deception, and the Secrets That Destroyed Two of the Cold War's Most Important Agents. New York: Harper & Row, 2003. [pb]

In Cram's opinion, this is the "best and most informed book written about CIA operations against the Soviet target in the 1950s and 1960s." Martin tells an "exciting and generally accurate story." The book was "well received by almost every reviewer" with the exception of Epstein and Angleton. Writing in 2009, Robarge, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), says that "[d]espite its age, Wilderness of Mirrors remains the most balanced treatment of Angleton and CIA counterintelligence." However, there is a complete lack of sourcing. The subtitle of the 2003 reprint is "overwrought."

Petersen adds that Martin "presents information on postwar counterintelligence activities of the CIA and FBI focusing on James Angleton and William Harvey. Based on inside information, it is well regarded by most experts." NameBase notes that "[i]n the case of the most famous spy of the century, Harvey's instincts were better than Angleton's.... Kim Philby ... was close to Angleton, whom he had known in wartime London. But he was also a KGB penetration agent, and it was Harvey rather than Angleton who figured this out."

To Constantinides, this book is "a penetrating look into some issues and challenges faced by CIA, and the cognoscenti recognize it as based on information stemming from the bowels of that agency." Nevertheless, "the work has a number of flaws, both major and minor." For example, the rivalry between Harvey and Angleton, so central to the book, did not exist, and Harvey was hardly of transcending importance within CIA.

Murphy, C.J.V. "Making of a Master Spy: J.J. Angleton, Chief of Counterintelligence." Time, 24 Feb. 1975, 18-19. [Petersen]

Naftali, Timothy J. "ARTIFICE: James Angleton and X-2 Operations in Italy." In The Secrets War: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II, ed. George C. Chalou, 218-245. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992.

Powers, Thomas. "Spook of Spooks." New York Review of Books, 17 Aug. 1989, 40-43. "The Riddle Inside the Enigma." Chapter 7 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 123-139. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

Ostensibly a review of Edward Jay Epstein's Deception (1989), this article is actually an essay on Angleton and the issues surrounding the controversial former chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence Staff. It is worth reading.

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