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American history
military history

Wild Bill Donovan: The Spy Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage

Douglas Waller.
Publisher Free Press  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.4 inches
ISBN 9781416567448
Pages/Publication Date 467/2011
Daedalus Item Code 34453
This item is not available.
A mythic figure whose legacy is still intensely debated, "Wild Bill" Donovan was director of the Office of Strategic Services (the country's first national intelligence agency) and the father of today's CIA. Donovan's biography, from the author of The Commandos and Big Red, reads like an action-packed spy thriller, with stories of daring young men and women in his OSS sneaking behind enemy lines for sabotage, breaking into Washington embassies to steal secrets, plotting to topple Adolf Hitler, and suffering torture or death when they were captured. It also details Donovan's war at home, with political intrigue and infighting at the highest levels of government in his struggle to gather American intelligence organizations together.

"Donovan, the head of WWII's Office of Strategic Services, was a New York Irishman who won the Medal of Honor in WWI. Between the wars, he became successful on Wall Street and a personal friend of FDR. When President Roosevelt was looking for someone to head an intelligence agency not controlled by either the armed forces or the FBI, he called on Donovan. Donovan was at daggers drawn with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and the service intelligence branches, and also recruited too many Ivy Leaguers, but the OSS did pull its weight in wartime intelligence. Donovan also drank too much, chased too many women, lost too many relatives at early ages, and generally did not fit into the postwar world, where the CIA replaced his OSS. Exhaustively researched but not exhaustingly written, this will probably stand as the definitive biography of a seminal figure in the history of American intelligence."Booklist

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