In Search of Enemies by John Stockwell

In Search of Enemies by John Stockwell

In Search of Enemies is a memoir by John Stockwell, a former CIA Case Officer who was asked to lead the Angola Task Force in the 1970s. The book provides an insider’s account of a major CIA “covert action” and sheds light on the corruption and involvement of the US government in a war that they had no business being in.

The main themes of the book include the Cold War, US foreign policy in Africa and Asia, the Angolan Civil War, and the corruption and illegal operations of the CIA. The book highlights the cynical “operations for the sake of operations” mentality of the CIA and the lack of strategic objectives and intention to win. It also explores the details and personalities involved in the CIA’s misadventure in Angola and the impact it had on John Stockwell’s career.

Useful takeaways from the book include:

  • The corrupt and illegal operations of the CIA during the Cold War era
  • The impact of US foreign policy on African and Asian nations
  • The importance of strategic objectives in military operations
  • The dangers of blindly following orders without questioning their morality or legality.

What I Liked

This book was assigned in my African History class in college. I ended up keeping it because it was so good. It’s fascinating to understand the scope and scale of US & USSR involvement in countries during the Cold War. It’s astounding how so many people could be so paranoid – even after Vietnam.

What I Did Not Like

The book has a conspiratorial edge to it that made it seem like the events were much more important than they were.

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