I find Amazon reviews helpful in purchasing books. In the case of The Devil’s Chess Board, Amazon reviews, especially the few two and three star ones, were particularly informative. To cite a few excerpts from these reviews…
“Count Talbot among the lists of conspiracy theorists”
“Talbot is as manipulative as he claims Dulles is”
“Too much editorializing and use of malicious adjectives”
“Hardly a neutral perspective”
“Flights of literary embellishments”
“Authors agenda was far too blatant”
Given the fact that the author was founder of Salon and received laudatory reviews of his work by the mainstream media, this buyer was forewarned before plowing through this doorstop size book.
I could cite plenty of the author’s words to affirm the opinion’s of the negative reviews: one example makes my point; characterizing Dulles as having the “knife-cold psyche of a murderer.” Some of the more egregious parts, in my opinion, were in portraying on of JFK’s scribes Arthur Schlesinger in a far more influential policy role than he merited among the New Frontiers true believers in the Kennedy administration. Seeing the “power elite” from the singular perspective of C. Wright Mills and the cliché class-conscious terms of Marx was a bit time worn. I found most ironic, Talbot’s classification of the then deep state but not mentioning how the deep state has made a 180-degree turn today. Revealing was Talbot’s characterization of the Kennedy’s Camelot as “kind of one big happy family.” Really?
I grade this book “two stars” since Talbot came to bury Dulles and did so throughout even to the very end of his diatribe. The very last words (page 617) demonstrate his intended satanic treatment of Dulles… “A curse on the men and women who work in the citadel of national security, and on all those they serve.”