The four men who ran covert operations for the CIA during the early years were known as the "clique". They came from an elite class that believed it was their duty in life to run the world; it was the lesson they learned from winning World War II, and it was their job in Washington. This was the high age of the CIA, when it was the president's personal action arm, overthrowing governments, bribing heads of state, and plotting assassinations in a global secret war against communism. Author Evan Thomas goes behind the scenes to recreate the personal drama of the four glamorous and ultimately tragic figures:. Because they operated in secret, these men are not well known to history, but within the inner circles of Washington, they were regarded as the best and the brightest. Their fall was a great personal tragedy with momentous consequences: the reckless acts of these men nearly plunged the United States into World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and their plots have fueled conspiracy theorists ever since. Drawing on extensive interviews with old spooks and the social friends and family of his subjects, Thomas has written a highly readable narrative that brings to life a crucial piece of American history.