"The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War," by Stephen Kinzer
Reviewed by Eric Renderking Fisk | January 18th, 2017
Someone told me that this was a great book and this was a "must read" for anyone who is critical of the CIA and the agencies involvement with dark clandestine programs and operations that occurred between the end of World War 2 up to The Bay of Pigs invasion. Specifically, this it "the book" about The Dulles brothers, John Foster and Allen; where they came from, how they were raised in an environment of privilege and opportunity, rose to powerful positions before becoming two of the most powerful men in the country whose authority would rival even FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
There must have been a mistake; "The Brothers…" by Stephen Kinzer isn't it. It's not that sensational. This book isn't critical enough of either of The Dulles Brothers, especially not critical enough towards the former CIA director, Allen.
If anything, this book is almost glowing about the Dulles brothers of how they were raised and their experiences as children and teens, bouncing around Europe with their grandfather and meeting some of the most influential people of the time. The book is often glowing in the detail about these men's travels and opportunity reads more like my grandmother's letter to my dad about my uncle's retirement party with such glowing terms and descriptions about such things as a "the champagne toast!"
The criticism of these men – especially Allen – seems tame in comparison to the other books written about clandestine programs and secret operations. I couldn't help but wonder, is this like a book published by Scholastic with sanitized facts and omitted details? This book often reads like something that belongs in a children's public school library.
Granted, there is a lot of dark details in this book, there's a lot of "meat" in regards to some of the dastardly deeds that the Dulles brothers committed and the other diabolical things they had a hand in, but compared to everything on the subject on Allen Dulles, this reads more like ‘softporn.'
That's not to say that there aren't some dark aspects of Allen Dulles documented in this book, a lot of it is sizzle in regards to his personal life such as the shameless womanizing and bragging to his own wife about the many extramarital affairs he had, right after having them. There are other reasons to believe that he was a total scumbag and degenerate in this personal life that spilled into his professional workspace, too.
There's also plenty of information in there about how Allen Dulles screwed with other countries by manipulating elections, using propaganda with foreign (and American!) press to alter public opinion and manufacture consent, and even planned the assassinations public officials. If there's ever any question as to why specific countries hate us, the name "Allen Dulles" should come to mind because of his leadership and actions in The CIA decades past and his policies that are still in place today.
"The Brothers" doesn't go far enough. The author, Stephen Kinzer, again seems more concerned about the lavish lifestyle of Allen and John Foster and fawn over their leisurely summers in Europe and lounging in the parlors and salons of Paris with socialites and elites rather than how The Dulles Bothers got their hands dirty with the blood of countless people by participating with the remains of The Nazi Party after World War 2 in their covert pursuits of taking over the rest of the civilized world.
There's too much about cocktail parties and not enough about exploiting third-world countries for resources.
He's not willing to commit to the genuine critique of these two men, he's not willing to point fingers and say these two degenerates are the reason why this or that happened. If anything, I felt that he was too willing to let them off the hook. Sure, Allen Dulles did these horrible things, "but he was a product of the times."
There's not enough about how the times were a product of them.
What's worse, there's a lot of things missing from this book. There is a lot of "stuff" that's simply absent and the lack of such makes this an abhorrent failure. If you're going to write a book about Allen Dulles and not include information about Operation Paperclip, MKUltra, or other clandestine operations, then why bother?
If you're going to write a book on Allen Dulles and not include his involvement in The Warren Commission and how he purposefully omitted information about what happened in Dalley Plaza in Dallas, TX on November 22nd, 1963 then there is no point in writing this book.
The only saving grace about "The Brothers..." is that it explains the origins of The Dulles Brothers and how the rose to power and acquired two of the most powerful positions in Washington, DC and the events that shaped their lives and their out-of-touch – if not delusional – way of thinking. "The Brothers" is a great expose into these men and their origins but for those of us who know better about the evil and immoral acts these two men committed, this book is wanting.