“The story of the agency’s infiltration of America’s cultural institutions (especially The Paris Review) has been told before, but not this thoroughly or colorfully — thanks to Whitney’s reporting as well as the wit of his subjects, who knew how to write a letter. He shreds the idea that spooks like Peter Matthiessen worked only for the “good CIA,” but doesn’t limit himself to Plimpton’s dashing crew. The government’s entanglement with the Latin American masters (ranging from negative propaganda to subtle exploitation) gets a full airing that enlarges the story of the (first?) Cold War.”

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