• Shadow Warrior

  • William Egan Colby and the CIA
  • By: Randall B. Woods
  • Narrated by: Michael Puttonen
  • Length: 21 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

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Shadow Warrior

By: Randall B. Woods
Narrated by: Michael Puttonen
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Publisher's Summary

As a World War II commando, a Cold War spy, and CIA director under Presidents Nixon and Ford, William Egan Colby played a critical role in some of the most pivotal events of the twentieth century. A quintessential member of the greatest generation, Colby embodied the moral and strategic ambiguities of the postwar world, and confronted many of the dilemmas about power and secrecy that America still grapples with today.

In Shadow Warrior, eminent historian Randall B. Woods riveting biography of Colby, he reveals that this crusader for global democracy was also drawn to the darker side of American power. Colby joined the U.S. Army in 1941, just as America entered World War II, serving with distinction in France and Norway. At the end of the war he transitioned into America's first peacetime intelligence agency: the CIA. Fresh from fighting fascism, Colby zealously redirected his efforts against international communism. He insisted on the importance of fighting communism on the ground, doggedly applying guerilla tactics for counterinsurgency, sabotage, surveillance, and information-gathering - the new battlefields of the Cold War. Over time, these strategies became increasingly ruthless; as head of the CIA's Far East Division, Colby oversaw an endless succession of assassination attempts, coups, secret wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Phoenix Program, in which 20,000 civilian supporters of the Vietcong were killed. Colby ultimately came clean about many of the CIA's illegal activities, making public a set of internal reports known as the "family jewels." Ostracized from the intelligence community, he died under suspicious circumstances - a murky ending to a life lived in the shadows.

Drawing on multiple new sources, including interviews with members of Colby's family, Woods has crafted a gripping biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

©2013 Randall B. Woods (P)2013 Post Hypnotic Press

What listeners say about Shadow Warrior

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Who murdered William Colby ?

Fascinating life! Who could've done it? And WHY? The narrator is perfect! What an amazing man!!! Im fascinated by the CIA and the eccentric spies who worked there.

1 person found this helpful

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great cold war history

Well delivered and informative. A lot of detailed description. Let's you sink into that period of history and cold war era.

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Should have been more exciting

the book was good but should have been way more exciting given that it was about William Colby a legend. the book wasn't so much about his escapades and time work at the CIA so much as it was a book about his personal life and the politics that followed him around

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The Counterinsurgent

Colby led an interesting and unparalleled life and this work does a great job of giving that story a voice. Just when I was tiring of the narrator's voice, he began mimicking Nixon and Kissinger to great effect. A must read for any person interested in the Jedburgs, the other side of the Vietnam conflict, or the strategic levels of counterinsurgency.

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an American must-read

we trust government to do the right thing always, can we? read, and judge for yourself

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Shadow warrior.

I expected more detail on specific missions. Also it's hard to tell fact from fiction. Even so still a little interesting to review post world war 2 history through this career CIA administrators eyes.

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Really Good

Excellent for anyone genuinely curious about CIA and it’s people - rare in its ability to keep clear eyed view of CIA

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Disappointing

I knew things were going to be bad once the droning narration began. Add to that the tedious minutia of every month in the life of the young William Colby, and I stopped after Chapter 2. I skipped to the other chapters but nothing seemed to change. Sad.

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Interesting when it stays on topic...

The areas about Colby are a fascinating window into the life and times of a member of the intelligence community during several tumultuous eras of world history. However, the majority of Part 2 becomes a whole-scope timeline of the Vietnam War, offering lots of context but next-to-nothing about the book's subject - William Egan Colby himself. It's interesting to hear the history of the Hmong and the internal struggles of anti-colonialist and communist forces, but if you're here for Colby's involvement, you'll wish the audiobook came with chapter titles in the table of contents. ...or at least I did. Your mileage may vary.

For a more interesting, flavorful, and focused look into a prominent CIA officer's covert action experiences in Africa and Vietnam (and crucially Laos), I highly recommend Richard Holm's "The Craft We Chose." Years later, his stories still stick with me like snake oil on a severe burn.