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A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland

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In this gripping narrative history, Seth G. Jones reveals the CIA's involvement in a landmark victory for democracy during the Cold War.

In 1983, while Soviet-backed Polish prime minister Wojciech Jaruzelski worked to crush a budding opposition movement through martial law, the CIA launched a sophisticated intelligence campaign supporting dissident groups — particularly trade union-turned-political force Solidarity. With President Ronald Reagan's support, American funds bankrolled clandestine newspapers, broadcasting, and information warfare. This initiative, code-named QRHELPFUL, proved vital in establishing a free and democratic Poland.

Long overlooked by CIA historians and Reagan biographers, the story features an extraordinary cast of characters — including spymaster Bill Casey, CIA officer Richard Malzahn, Solidary leader Lech Walesa, and Pope John Paul II. Based on in-depth interviews and recently declassified evidence, A Covert Action celebrates a decisive victory over tyranny for US intelligence behind the Iron Curtain, one that prefigured the Soviet collapse.

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