In 1955, the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with several big Hollywood players to talk about getting the idea of “militant liberty” into movies. John Wayne was eager.

That anecdote is told in Joel Whitney’s new book, “Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers.” It may not surprise that the Duke was on board with Uncle Sam, but Whitney’s primary focus is on the government’s relationship with a less likely band of double agents: writers and editors at The Paris Review.

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