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Surprise, Kill, Vanish

The Definitive History of Secret CIA Assassins, Armies and Operators
Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
Length: 19 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (174 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive, character-driven history of CIA covert operations and US government-sponsored assassinations, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain.  

Since 1947, domestic and foreign assassinations have been executed under the CIA-led covert action operations team. Before that time, responsibility for taking out America's enemies abroad was even more shrouded in mystery. Despite Hollywood notions of last-minute rogue operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually a cog in a colossal foreign policy machine, moving through, among others, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the House and Senate Select Committees. At the end of the day, it is the President, not the CIA, who is singularly in charge.  

When diplomacy fails and overt military action is not feasible, the President often calls on the Special Activities Division, the most secretive and lowest profile branch of the CIA. It is this paramilitary team that undertakes dramatic and little-known assignments: hostage rescues, sabotage and, of course, assassinations.   

For the first time, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times best-selling author Annie Jacobsen takes us deep inside this top-secret history. With unparalleled access to former operatives, ambassadors and even past directors of the Secret Service and CIA operations, Jacobsen reveals the inner workings of these teams and just how far a US President may go, covertly but lawfully, to pursue the nation's interests.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2019 Anne M. Jacobsen (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Surprise, Kill, Vanish

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amazing

great book! really well read and researched.
unbiased account of the history of the CIA

1 person found this helpful

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A huge eye opener

The series of stories are amazing and you get to learn about everyday people doing amazing (or terrible) things. It confirms alot of assumptions and rumours. Well worth it!

1 person found this helpful

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Compelling, Informative and Accurate.

Jacobsen’s account of para military activity since its inception is thoroughly researched, riveting and a non biased account. Should be mandatory reading so as to understand the power of government and the impact of war.

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Good content, hard to listen to

Found the content interesting and well researched / put together, but the audio book would have benefited from having a better reading.

Had to give up a short way in, will have to download an eBook version to finish it.

The reading is slow and drags on, and I found it hard to listen for more than 15/20 minutes at a time without drifting off or losing interest.

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Fantastic

Fantastic book
Throughly enjoyed this extremely well researched book.
I thought the authors voice narrating the book was excellent too.
I couldn’t stop listening.


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Dubious

Dubious content.

Written with the slant that 9-11 follows the official narrative.

Just propaganda pretending to be real info.

Pretty dull to boot.

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Incredible story

Amazing research by the author to produce an amazing book. Billy Waugh NEEDS to go on the Joe Rogan Experience

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Awesome Read.

Great book. Very detailed and engaging. Jacobsen's attention to detail and level of research is outstanding.

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A gripping book. I was unable to stop listening.

Billy Waugh is everything I wanted to be as a child. This book made me realise just how much some people give up for our freedom.

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someone believes stories

mostly bullshit made up and written down. some truths mostly stories. the knife in the gun bag mmmmmm.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-06-2020

horrible reading voice but amazing book

I almost deleted this book after a chapter as I could not stomach the authors reading voice, but as I grit my teeth and tried to ignore it the story kept me enticed enough to finish the book. Amazing book and amazing stories, but personally I would've preferred another narator

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  • John A. Cote MSSI
  • 01-08-2019

Soldiers in the shadows

Annie Jacobsen has pulled the curtain open into the deniable world of the Assassin. You meet some of the characters who make up this elite community. You learn the history of this seldom heard from seldom recognized group of individuals who actually make a huge impact on the United States foreign policy. The Third Hand. The Presidents third option. Enjoy one Hell of a listen!!!!!!

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  • dante larsson
  • 25-05-2019

Best book

Really gets into the hidden hand the Cia has everywhere in the world. So great!

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  • Chadman
  • 29-10-2019

Awesome

Really interesting, but a long book. I look forward to all this authors work going on .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mongan
  • 11-06-2020

Decent

Not a one listen book. Phenomenal amount of research and some amazing history of some remarkable individuals and agencies.

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  • Zombiesatemybrain
  • 22-05-2020

Excellent content, narration a bit flat/robotic

Excellent content. Difficult to get into as narration flat and robotic throughout. Definitely worth persevering

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Damien Watson Ire
  • 05-05-2020

A very well laid out story, really enjoyed it

Covered a wide timespan while keeping the reader intrigued. Hard to put down once you start. The narrator speaks well all throughout the book.

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  • MICK BROWN
  • 20-11-2019

Interesting enough

I enjoyed this book but at times it is a little hard to follow particularly the beginning,
It becomes much more interesting and relevant towards the end of the book and I wish this part had been expanded on further.
Overall it was good but not great, Also I would have preferred Annie to have narrated it herself but that's a minor point.

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  • AN
  • 24-10-2019

I came for the salacious war stories, stayed for the fascinating transition of foreign policy

Had heard Annie and this book on Joe rogan. I wasn’t disappointed by the details of covert missions but I surprised myself being more interested in the narrative of changing american foreign policy. Saddened but not surprised that the Nobel prize committee is so corrupt also. You’ll understand when you listen or read.

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  • Angus
  • 05-10-2019

Very interesting, performance was lacking

The narration sounded very robotic but was easy enough to get used to.

Overall a very interesting listen but it did seem to focus on the theatres that two (albeit extremely experience) operatives were involved in rather than the CIA as a whole. There was a conspicuous absence of anything to do with South America in the book and I feel that's because the author didn't interview people who were involved or those that she did interview weren't able to tell her.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-08-2019

good book...lots of info..

Interesting listen...feels a little bit listy and some points and info feel surplus to story. Annie Jacobsen's voice is like chocolate 😊

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  • daniel j griffiths
  • 11-08-2019

Eye Opening

long but a great listen, an excellent account of CIA history and its brave operators

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  • Bryan Chapman
  • 20-06-2019

Eye opening and really interesting

Really informative and easy to listen to. This author really knows her stuff. It amazing how many near misses there have been over the years which are never told to the media.
If you're into CIA and spy type stuff, this book is for you.