Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: October 2015
Duration: 16 hours 53 minutes
Douglas Waller, a former TIME Magazine correspondent and author of the critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling biography Wild Bill Donovan, writes about the adventures of the OSS years of four men who served under Franklin Roosevelt’s spy chief.
Disciples tells the story of their daring espionage and sabotage in wartime Europe. Based in Switzerland, Dulles ran the OSS’s most successful spy operation against the Axis. Casey, from London, organized dangerous missions to penetrate Nazi Germany with OSS operatives. The debonair Colby himself led OSS commando raids dropping by parachute behind the lines in occupied France and Norway. Helms mounted risky intelligence programs against the Russians in the ruin of Berlin after the German surrender in the darkest era.
Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey. Four very different men, they fought in World War II as secret warriors and later led (or misled) the successor CIA.
Dulles launched the calamitous operation to land CIA-trained, anti-Castro guerrillas at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs.
Helms, the loyal keeper of secrets, was convicted of lying to Congress over the CIA’s role in the coup that ousted President Salvador Allende in Chile.
Colby would become a pariah among the agency’s old hands for releasing to Congress what became known as the “Family Jewels” report on CIA misdeeds during the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.
Casey would nearly bring down the CIA—and Ronald Reagan’s presidency—with a scheme that secretly supplied Nicaragua’s contras with money raked off from the sale of arms to Iran for American hostages in Beirut.
For each man, his OSS years seemed to presage how he would later lead the CIA from the compulsive to the showy to the ruthless and sometimes flamboyant in the cause of fighting America’s enemies.
Mining hundreds of thousands of once-secret World War II documents and interviewing scores family members and OSS colleagues, Waller has written a worthy successor to Wild Bill Donovan, giving us a riveting spy story full of intrigue and historical insight.