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George Crile Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of our Times (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Enemy's Enemy: The Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History: the Arming of the Mujahideen by the CIA (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

George Crile was an American journalist and author that was best known for working for CBS News and as the author of “Charlie Wilson’s War.” He made his name as a television news producer that tackled controversial and difficult subjects. Crile was born in 1945 San Diego, the son of distinguished surgeon George Crile. His step mother was the daughter of Carl Sandburg the poet and this perhaps played a huge role in inspiring him to go into creative writing. As a teenager, he went to Connecticut’s Trinity College and after graduating went on to serve in the Marine reserves. He worked under Jack Anderson and Drew Pearson who were renowned columnists before he found a job reporting for “The Gary Post – Register.” He also worked as Pentagon Reporter for “Knight – Ridder” and edited “Harper’s Magazine” between 1973 and 1976. He would later join CBS and was instrumental in the production of “The CIA’s Secret Army.” It was a documentary about the CIA’s activities trying to overthrow the Cuban government after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion. For his efforts, he won the Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival. He would later go on to win Edward R Murrow, a Peabody and an Emmy Award.

George Crile was made even more famous when he produced a documentary that made the allegation that General William Westmoreland and his colleagues that served in Vietnam had engaged in deceit. He asserted that they had intentionally underestimated the numbers of enemy combatants resulting in loss of American lives. It was a controversial assertion though it was consistent with the many controversies on “60 Minutes” the CBS program, where he won a reputation for boldness that drew stinging criticism and won him awards. “The Uncounted Enemy,” his documentary about the Vietnam War resulted in one of television history’s most bitter disputes. Collaborating with Mike Wallace, a fellow correspondent, Mr. Crile asserted that Gen Westmoreland deceived his superiors and Americans regarding the war in the Far East. He asserted that enemy numbers had been deliberately underestimated to provide a perception that America was winning the war.

According to “TV Guide” the documentary was a violation of network fairness standards. Subsequent investigations by CBS found that the authors had indeed been unfair and violated network guidelines. The general sued for libel asking for 120 million while denying any wrongdoing in running the war. After a trial that dragged on for 18 weeks, the General and the network reached an out of court settlement. CBS asserted that they never had any intention of showing Gen Westmoreland as disloyal or unpatriotic in his conduct in Vietnam. While the general believed this was an apology by the network, CBS categorically refused to acknowledge it as such. According to George Crile the lead producer of the documentary, the General had failed and had simply declared victory and left.

In 1980 George Crile co-produced “CBS Reports” a documentary on how homosexuals had a huge influence on politics in San Francisco. Most gay rights groups called the report sensationalistic and exaggerated, and criticized the author. According to nonprofit group The National New Council, there was some merit to the several complaints filed by gay groups. CBS was among the networks that reported and analyzed the findings of the independent group. George Crile died in 2006.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” by George Crile is a Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times bestselling novel that was a publishing sensation when it came out in 2004. The novel is set in the 1980s, where a socialite from Houston managed to bring the attention of Charlie Wilson the congressman to the plight of Afghan freedom fighters. Despite overwhelming odds, they have never given up in their fight to throw out the Soviet invaders. Wilson was a member of the Appropriations Committee in the House and managed to get the committee to approve funds to support the Afghans. Gust Avrakotos, an out of favor CIA operative procured and helped distribute arms. Given his Greek American working class upbringing, he was something of an anomaly given that most of his colleagues were Ivy League alumni. The man had picked several outcasts from the agency to work with him and together they stretched the CIA rules to breaking point. Moving from the Khyber Pass to arms dealers’ conventions to secret rooms in Langley and back rooms in the capital; it is a story that provides unique insights into the collapse of the Soviet Union. It also shows how this resulted in the rise of radical Islam as the new foe of the West.

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