Wed. 7/11: Failures of the CIA

Since its founding in 1947, the CIA has consistently failed at its primary mission: to understand the world. Instead, it has been turned into a secret police force. TIM WEINER of the New York Times has spent 20 years studying the Agency, “an incapable and incoherent service whose deepest secret is its own weakness and ineptitude” —most evident on 9-11. Tim is a Puliter-Prize winning reporter who broke more than 100 page-one stories on the CIA. His new book is LEGACY OF ASHES: THE HISTORY OF THE CIA.

Plus: THE YEARS OF EXTERMINATION: Nazi Germany and the Jews. UCLA Historian SAUL FRIEDLANDER discusses the cooperation of “bystanders” and the victims’ initial blindness towards their fate and then their willingness to follow orders. He also draws extensively on individual voices – perpetrators, collaborators, victims. Saul Friedlander wrote a magnificent memoir, When Memory Comes, about his boyhood in Nazi-occupied France.

Also: CHINA’S BRAVE NEW WORLD: JEFFREY WASSERSTROM explains what’s happening in the world’s most rapidly changing society by looking at its fast-food palaces, coffee shops, and bootleg video parlors – and asks why the Communist Party is still in power, and why, if tens of thousands of protests happen in China each year, the regime remains strong. Jeff teaches history at UC Irvine and has written for The Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, and the LA Times op-ed page.