Thomas Powers

A - H

Powers, Thomas. "And After We've Struck Cuba?" London Review of Books, 13 Nov. 1997. Chapter 10 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 171-184. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

Looking at the Cuban Missile Crisis through May and Zelikow, eds. The Kennedy Tapes (1997), and Fursenko and Naftali, "One Hell of a Gamble," Powers concludes that the tapes shows a "salutary example of intelligent statesmanship" on the part of President Kennedy.

[GenPostwar/60s/MissileCrisis]

Powers, Thomas. "Beyond the Cold War: Developing a New, Improved Mandate for the CIA." Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 1993, M1.

[Reform/90s/CIA]

Powers, Thomas. "The Bloodless War." New York Review of Books, 23 Oct. 1997. Chapter 8 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 141-158. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

The author looks at the Cold War through Murphy, Kondrashev, and Bailey's Battleground Berlin (1997), Whitney's Spy Trader (1993), and Wolf's Man Without a Face (1997). "Anyone interested in just how complex a counterintelligence case can become should read the fourteen pages in which Battleground Berlin lays out the intricate web of what was known to whom, through which channels," as the KGB closed in on Col. Pyotr Popov.

[CIA/50s/Popov; GenPostwar/CW]

Powers, Thomas. "The Conspiracy That Failed." New York Review of Books, 9 Jan. 1997, 49-54. Chapter 2 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 21-44. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

In this excellent review essay, Powers weaves together comments on six books concerned with the "German resistance": Annan, Changing Enemies; Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death; Meehan, The Unnecessary War; Heideking and Mauch, eds., American Intelligence and the German Resistance to Hitler; Hoffman, Stauffenberg; and Waller, The Unseen War in Europe.

[WWII/Eur/Ger/Resistance]

Powers, Thomas. "Doing the Right Thing." New York Times Book Review, 21 May 1978. Chapter 18 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 275-282. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

Powers reviews Bill Colby's Honorable Men (1978).

[CIA/70s/Gen]

Powers, Thomas. "The Ears of America." New York Review of Books, 3 Feb. 1983. Chapter 16 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 243-255. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

This is Powers' take on Bamford's The Puzzle Palace (1982) and on NSA in general. It has at least one egregious error: Linking FBIS' daily output to NSA's collection effort indicates a basic failure to check one's facts before committing them to paper.

[NSA/80s]

Powers, Thomas. "The Founding Father." New York Review of Books, 1 Dec. 1994. Chapter 3 in Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda, 45-57. Rev. & exp. ed. New York: New York Review of Books, 2004.

Reviewing Grose's Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles (1994), Powers comments that "Dulles was not the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency, or the best, certainly not the wisest, or even the most aggressive,... [but] he was without question the most important director of the CIA in its first half century.... Allen Dulles did for American intelligence what John Paul Jones did for the American Navy."

[CIA/DCIs/Dulles]

Powers, Thomas. Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb. New York: Knopf, 1993. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1994. [pb]

To Surveillant 3.2/3, Heisenberg's War is a "combination spy story and historical investigation." Powers "argues that Adolf Hitler's leading physicist, Werner Heisenberg, may have deliberately prevented the creation of a German atomic bomb."

Fontaine, FILS 12.4, comments that "Heisenberg remained an enigma right to the end. Powers is nothing else if not thorough, and the time spent on mature reflection is evident throughout the work. At no point, does Powers become an outright counsel for the defense. The body of the evidence does suggest that Heisenberg managed to weave his way through a minefield: preserving his life and yet keeping the bomb out of the hands of the Nazis." The author also recounts "the contemporary American intelligence effort, including the role of the controversial and often maligned Major General Leslie R. Groves."

Peake, AIJ 14.2/3, notes that Powers also looks "at the security measures taken to keep the [U.S.] program secret and the intelligence operations conducted to learn about the German program." Subjects covered include the role of former Red Sox catcher Moe Berg, the ALSOS team, and the ten scientists captured in Germany. "Powers makes an impressive case that the German scientists, and Heisenberg in particular, deliberately missed opportunities to mount a Hitlerian Manhattan Project."

Cohen, FA 73.5 (Sep.-Oct. 1994), points to Powers' admission "that others, looking at the same body of evidence, have legitimately drawn different conclusions." He "does not appear to know German" and "relies very heavily" on OSS sources. Overall, this is an "engrossing tale, superbly told." For Biddle, WPNWE, 22-28 Feb. 1993, the "narrative is not easy going.... Powers plows methodically back and forth over established ground that is nonetheless widely unappreciated, adding new material from archives and interviews.... [H]e has produced a haunting study of how the problems of science and society are inseparable."

[WWII/Eur/Ger/ALSOS]

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