Advance Praise on Wild Bill Donovan


“An extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary figure in 20th century American history, a man beyond the power of fiction to invent. Wild Bill Donovan is brilliantly researched and beautifully told, as evocative and enlightening as it is entertaining.” —Rick Atkinson, Author of An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle

“Whether fighting on the battlefield during World War I, leading the OSS during World War II, or prosecuting Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, William Donovan’s service to his country was historic and extraordinary. In Wild Bill Donovan, Douglas Waller’s impressive research and riveting writing brings the ‘Father of American Intelligence’ to life, drawing the reader into one of the most thrilling and remarkable periods in American history.”

—Lee H. Hamilton, Director, The Center on Congress at Indiana University, and former Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

“In Wild Bill Donovan, Douglas Waller brings the larger than life William J. Donovan – a World War I Medal of Honor winner, Office of Strategic Services founder, CIA architect, and one of the 20th century’s most compelling figures – to life. Waller’s impressive skill as a journalist, his expertise about the U.S. intelligence community, and a remarkable writing ability complement one another in this fascinating and insightful portrait of Donovan the man, not the myth, and enhances our appreciation of his remarkable legacy. General Donovan attributed much of the success of the Office of Strategic Services to ‘good old fashioned intellectual sweat.’ This informative, enjoyable, and important book deserves the same compliment.”
—Charles Pinck, President of The OSS Society

“Douglas Waller gives us the definitive portrait of the fascinating, creative, disorganized, brave man who — starting from nothing during our biggest war — created our modern capacity for human intelligence and covert operations. A must for all who would understand American
intelligence.” —R. James Woolsey, Chair, Woolsey Partners LLC, Director of Central Intelligence, 1993-95

“In this fast-paced, entertaining and engrossing biography, the author delivers a portrait of a hard-driving, Type A extrovert willing to take on political enemies…Waller, whose previous books include a biography of Gen. Billy Mitchell and an account of life aboard a Trident nuclear submarine, comes through with a well-calibrated assessment of Donovan and the impact of the OSS on the war…The book is replete with fascinating anecdotes and tales of derring-do that offer the stuff of espionage thrillers combined with political chicanery and historical fact.” —Associated Press

“Drawing on government documents and the interviews conducted with Donovan’s relatives and friends, Waller delivers a rollicking read that uncovers the myths surrounding one of America’s greatest legends.”
—The Daily Beast

“An exhaustive but never dull account of the founder of America’s original intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). A wholly satisfying biography.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Waller brings to his latest biography the high skills as a biographer…Exhaustively researched but not exhaustingly written, this will probably stand as the definitive biography of a seminal figure in the history of American intelligence.” —Booklist

“Waller captures it all in this meticulously researched biography of the man most recognized as Wild Bill.”
—The Buffalo News

In a time when espionage consists largely of technicians in windowless rooms, far from the battlefield, collecting signals and pictures from satellites and drones, it is both refreshing and fascinating to read Doug Waller’s story of the man behind World War II’s spy organization, the OSS. Long before there was a CIA, there was Major General ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, and Waller’s extensively researched and highly entertaining book takes the reader back to the days when spying meant sending dedicated agents behind enemy lines to risk their lives to steal secrets and help win the war.” —James Bamford, Bestselling author of Body of Secrets and The Shadow Factory

“Wild Bill Donovan, the founding father of American espionage, jumps off the page in Douglas Waller’s superb biography of one of the nation’s most important and least understood leaders of the 20th Century. Waller marvelously evokes an era when a matinee-idol character like Donovan could turn Washington into his own secret playground even as he ended America’s naïveté about the necessity of stealing the secrets of other gentlemen. Waller takes us back to a time, long before bureaucratic sclerosis set in at the Central Intelligence Agency, when American spies lived in Technicolor.” —James Risen, Author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration