Reviewing The Devil’s Chessboard

David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard: The CIA, and The Rise of America’s Secret Government is in some ways predictable and infuriating for those of us who know the truth about America. As you will see, reading it did change my perspective on one of the most consequential events in American history. That alone made the Devil’s Chessboard an important read.

The Review

The Devil’s Chessboard focuses on the ways the Dulles brothers, especially Allen, created a secret government inside the United States government to do things they and their corporate masters wanted done that would have never been accomplished through official channels. John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State during the Eisenhower administration. His brother Allen was director of the CIA during the Eisenhower administration and continued into the Kennedy administration. During their time, the Dulles brothers, especially Allen, organized coups in Guatemala, Iran, and other countries where the elected governments weren’t keen on American corporations exploiting their people and stealing their resources.

In addition, to presenting good information about the Dulles brothers destabilizing the world, overthrowing governments, and supporting brutal dictators, The Devil’s Chessboard details the United State’s cooperation with nazis after World War II. Many Americans have no idea of the extent to which the American government embraced nazis to try to counteract Russia. America has never been anti nazi, not even close. America has always been anti American corporations not having the unchecked power to exploit and plunder.

In addition to the foreign policy topics I was familiar with before reading the book, it touches on the secret experiments the CIA did primarily on American soldiers and people in hospitals. If more people understood the barbarity and lack of ethics displayed by America, more people would understand the problems facing our world.<;p>

That being said, when a government is willing to experiment on its own soldiers and people confined to hospitals without their consent, why should anyone be surprised by any immoral behavior on the part of that government?

The JFK Assassination

I have never believed the Warren Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated John F. Kennedy. That story has always been too convenient. But the Devil’s Chessboard succeeded in convincing me that the CIA had a role, most likely the leading role, behind Kennedy’s assassination.

Since this post is supposed to be a book review, I’m going to share a few of the things that convinced me to believe the CIA assassinated Kennedy.

  • The most important thing I learned was that Allen Dulles basically ran the Warren Commission.
  • On October ninth and tenth of 1963 (weeks before the murder), Oswald was surprisingly dropped from FBI watch lists preventing the government from tracking him as it had been for more than a year.
  • When Oswald and his wife came to America from Russia, they weren’t stopped upon arrival. They weren’t officially questioned for a couple of weeks even though Oswald supposedly threatened to divulge American secrets to the Soviets.
  • Reports indicating Kennedy was shot from the front and back, supported by photos, were left out of the final report.
  • Links between Oswald and the CIA and FBI were also not investigated and held out of the final report.
  • The failures of the Secret Service were never investigated.

All of that is to say Allen Dulles and Kennedy hated each other. Kennedy forced Dulles out as director of the CIA. Dulles was involved in a huge number of assassinations, overthrows, and other despicable crimes. Allen Dulles was a ruthless, brutal man who believed his way was always right and the ends always justified the means. Allen Dulles had people killed and started wars for his corporate masters. He would have no issue organizing the murder of someone he hated for them. The idea that the former director of the CIA, who Kennedy fired, was put in charge of investigating Kennedy’s death is absurd. Clearly, Allen Dulles was put in charge by Johnson to make sure the public never discovered the truth.

In a sad, predictable part of the story, details in the book of how The Washington Post, New York Times, and other media outlets shared what Dulles and the CIA told them to share is embarrassing.


The Devil’s Chessboard is another of the many books that is important to read but that reading will leave you feeling dirty. Honestly, the more I learn about America the harder it is to care about America. I hate writing that. But the values of the American government aren’t at all my values.

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