This is the story of the CIA's early days, told through the careers of four men who ran covert operations for the government from the end of World War II to Vietnam. This was the high age of the CIA, when its job was to find a way to contain the Soviet threat in a nuclear age. It was the president's personal action arm - overthrowing governments, bribing heads of state, and plotting assassinations in a global secret war against communism. Four men risked everything to keep the US out of war. They were Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Tracy Barnes and Desmond FitzGerald. Within the inner circles of Washington, at the high point of American power in the world, they were regarded as the best and brightest. They planned and acted to contain the Soviet threat, by political action and cunning that armies could not be allowed to be part of. The fall of each of these men is examined in this book, which draws on the CIA's own secret histories, and interviews.