Wilderness of Mirrors (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
Ever since the revelations of widespread domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the subsequent Congressional investigations of CIA activities, numerous intriguing accounts of the twilight world of intelligence have appeared. David C. Martin, a journalist with the Washington bureau of Newsweek, presents a fascinating and highly readable addition to this list.
Martin focuses on the contrasting personalities and careers of two high American CIA officials and is thereby able to project vividly to the reader some of the intensity and bitterness of the struggle between American and Soviet Intelligence. These two individuals, James Jesus Angleton and William King Harvey, are seen by the author as personifying this struggle which has been raging since the end of World War II. They were celebrated as heroes and condemned as villains. Whatever one’s judgment may be, however, they were certainly highly unusual, interesting, and enigmatic men. As has been suggested by others, they could have been straight out of a story by John Le Carré or Ian Fleming. Likewise, many of the events described seem stranger than fiction.
The brilliant Angleton—a “strange genius,” master of deception, Ivy League intellectual, orchid grower, and expert fly fisherman—headed the counterintelligence activities. The blustery Harvey—“hard-drinking and guntoting,” “America’s James Bond,” former Federal Bureau of Investigation...
(The entire section is 1691 words.)
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