A Question of Standing

By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones,

Book cover of A Question of Standing: The History of the CIA

Book description

A Question of Standing deals with recognizable events that have shaped the history of the first 75 years of the CIA. Unsparing in its accounts of dirty tricks and their consequences, it values the agency's intelligence and analysis work to offer balanced judgements that avoid both celebration and condemnation of…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

2 authors picked A Question of Standing as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is an interesting collection of essays on the history of the CIA.

A spy agency thrives on deceit and uncertainty, making plans and taking actions when the adversary also thrives on those same elements.

Arranged in chronological order, the essays cover nearly 20 different incidents, describing the challenges, uncertainties, goals, and decisions made by both high-level political decision-makers and practitioners in the field.

Topics covered include early stages in the development of the CIA (founded in 1947), including covert action against the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the Bay of Pigs (1961), the Iran-Contra affair (mid-1980s), up to more…

There are several general histories of the CIA to choose from (including my own Great Courses video lectures) but this for my money is the best book available right now. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones has been writing about the Agency for years, he’s scholarly yet highly readable, and he plots just the right course between recognizing the CIA’s successes and critiquing its errors. This book is concise but comprehensive, tracing the organization’s origins in the decades before its founding in 1947, and coming all the way down to 2022. A great place to start.

From Hugh's list on history about the CIA.

Want books like A Question of Standing?

Our community of 9,000+ authors has personally recommended 67 books like A Question of Standing.

Browse books like A Question of Standing

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the CIA, espionage, and spies?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the CIA, espionage, and spies.

The CIA Explore 113 books about the CIA
Espionage Explore 502 books about espionage
Spies Explore 527 books about spies