Errand into the Wilderness of Mirrors: Religion and the History of the CIA

Title

Errand into the Wilderness of Mirrors: Religion and the History of the CIA

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Description

Michael Graziano’s intriguing book fuses two landmark titles in American history: Perry Miller’s Errand into the Wilderness (1956), about the religious worldview of the early Massachusetts colonists, and David Martin’s Wilderness of Mirrors (1980), about the dangers and delusions inherent to the Central Intelligence Agency. Fittingly, Errand into the Wilderness of Mirrors investigates the dangers and delusions that ensued from the religious worldview of the early molders of the Central Intelligence Agency. Graziano argues that the religious approach to intelligence by key OSS and CIA figures like “Wild” Bill Donovan and Edward Lansdale was an essential, and overlooked, factor in establishing the agency’s concerns, methods, and understandings of the world. In a practical sense, this was because the Roman Catholic Church already had global networks of people and safe places that American agents could use to their advantage. But more tellingly, Graziano shows, American intelligence officers were overly inclined to view powerful religions and religious figures through the frameworks of Catholicism. As Graziano makes clear, these misconceptions often led to tragedy and disaster on an international scale. By braiding the development of the modern intelligence agency with the story of postwar American religion, Errand into the Wilderness of Mirrors delivers a provocative new look at a secret driver of one of the major engines of American power.

Keywords

Cold War; Intelligence officers; Intelligence service; National security;

Document Type

Book

ISBN

9780226767406

Publication Date

2021

Publisher

University of Chicago Press

City

Chicago, IL

Department

Department of Philosophy and World Religions

Disciplines

Philosophy | Religion

Object Description

240 pages

Copyright

©2021 University of Chicago Press

Language

en

Errand into the Wilderness of Mirrors: Religion and the History of the CIA

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