The Strategy of Subversion

Title:                      The Strategy of Subversion

Author:                 Paul W.Blackstock

Blackstock, Paul W. (1964). The Strategy of Subversion: Manipulating The Politics of Other Nations. Chicago: Quadrangle Books

OCLC:    499227

JK468.I6 B56

Date Updated:  March 8, 2017

This book is not in the Library of Congress, although WorldCat gives it an LCCN [6419620]. Not recommended.

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The late Blackstock attempted here to describe and analyze covert operations, feeling there were gaps in scholarly and serious writings covering the subject. He was aware that at the time of writing rigorous standards of data gathering and documentation were not possible due to the nature of the subject. The thrust of his arguments is against such operations despite his belief that his aim in writing was neither to promote their use nor to call for their abandonment. He regarded them as oversold as to capabilities and a major threat to peace. Support for his views was drawn from recent covert political operations. The book’s principal shortcoming is that Blackstock uses the perspective and the criteria “derived from a specialized study of both Czarist Russian and Nazi German covert operations.” The example of Russian operations in Bulgaria in the 1870s is repeatedly used. Soviet examples, however, with their extensive, sophisticated, and persistent qualities, are hardly mentioned. As a result, we are not offered these and more meaningful criteria for the period studied. This is representative of some of the product of its time-the post-U-2 and -Bay of Pigs era, when covert operations were beginning to be scrutinized and debated as tools of a nation’s foreign policy. For the record, the reason given here for the removal in 1955 of General Arthur Trudeau from G-2 is incorrect.

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[2]

Primarily a look at “covert political warfare” and the use of subversive techniques to influence the internal affairs of other nations. Through the use of past and recent historical examples, the author scrutinizes the problems and dangers inherent in such clandestine activity. In view of author’s biases and the lack of documentation on this difficult and necessarily secret activity, the book must be read with caution.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[3]

The first scholarly survey of the entire field of secret political operations abroad including international propaganda or psychological warfare, assassinations, sabotage, intelligence and counterintelligence, insurgency and counterinsurgency. Also an analytical study which reviews the role of the CIA in covert operations and questions the value of this method in achieving foreign policy objectives. An important reference; one which tends to separate, for inspection, the functions of foreign intelligence and covert operations performed by intelligence agencies.

Further comments by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

The chapter “Covert Operations and Policy Sabotage,” contains an analysis of the political-military setting of the Gleiwitz incident based on all available documentary and related research materials.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 86-87

[2] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature (7th ed Rev.). Washington, DD: Defense Intelligence School, p. 8

[3] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.


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2 Responses to The Strategy of Subversion

  1. Pingback: Disinformation, Deception, Frauds, And Forgeries, Chapter 21 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: Blackstock Selected Bibliography of Fifty Titles | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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