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  • Surprise, Kill, Vanish

  • The Definitive History of Secret CIA Assassins, Armies and Operators
  • By: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

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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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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.

1 person found this helpful

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amazing

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

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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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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 .

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  • Reginaldo Barbosa
  • 04-10-2020

Oops, she did again!

She's a genius. One of the best books ever written. Billy Waugh is real human who looks like a Video Game hero.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gordon B
  • 25-08-2020

Great book again by the author

Great book but as others have said it doesn't really get going until chapter 11. After this chapter it's fantastic

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • stephen dolan
  • 21-08-2020

great book

great read would highly recommend couldn't put it down. will be reading mire books by annie going forward

1 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Panda
  • 20-07-2021

CIA Assassination Team's

A quality book, dealing with America's covert assassination teams, this is an really good listen I recommend this ebook.

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  • mrtb
  • 10-06-2021

A CIAs history of the CIA

Features a completely unhinged take on the Cuban revolution, should have been a big red flag when the author mentions her CIA member friend (colleague?) as part of the inspiration for the book.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jampot
  • 27-05-2021

Narration

I understand the hubris behind it, but the author’s reading is numbing. Just for me anyway the voice, tone and studied enunciations just distract me from the story and put me to sleep. This is the second of her books I’ve downloaded and I should have learnt my lesson. I so wanted to get into and like both books. But with audiobooks the voice is everything, some people have it, some don’t. This is where the preview is so crucial. There are great books I’ll skip if the reader is no good

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  • Jake B.
  • 27-02-2021

interesting topic, very boring to listen to

Currently half way through but it's a slog. She sounds bored reading her own book.

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  • AdamGR
  • 23-01-2021

Informative overview

An informative overview of the the history of clandestine and not so clandestine operations waged by the USA. The subject matter itself is very compelling and shocking at times. This is a very broad brush of a picture however as it covers the whole history of the CIA. I was curious to know more about some of the people depicted and ended up getting more information via Wikipedia and the internet. The presentation was a little dry but an easy enough listen.

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