This year’s best spy thriller isn’t fiction – it’s history. David Talbot’s previous book, the bestseller “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years” explored Robert F. Kennedy’s search for the truth following his brother’s murder. His new work, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” zooms out from JFK’s murder to investigate the rise of the shadowy network that Talbot holds ultimately responsible for the president’s assassination.
This isn’t merely a whodunit story, though. Talbot’s ultimate goal is exploring how the rise of the “deep state” has impacted the trajectory of America, and given our nation’s vast influence, the rest of the planet. “To thoroughly and honestly analyze [former CIA director] Allen Dulles’s legacy is to analyze the current state of national security in America and how it undermines democracy,” Talbot told Salon. “To really grapple with what is in my book is not just to grapple with history. It is to grapple with our current problems.”