Listen free for 30 days

  • Surprise, Kill, Vanish

  • The Definitive History of Secret CIA Assassins, Armies and Operators
  • By: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (268 ratings)

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.99

Buy Now for £19.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

The definitive, character-driven history of CIA covert operations and US government-sponsored assassinations, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain.  

Since 1947, domestic and foreign assassinations have been executed under the CIA-led covert action operations team. Before that time, responsibility for taking out America's enemies abroad was even more shrouded in mystery. Despite Hollywood notions of last-minute rogue operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually a cog in a colossal foreign policy machine, moving through, among others, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the House and Senate Select Committees. At the end of the day, it is the President, not the CIA, who is singularly in charge.  

When diplomacy fails and overt military action is not feasible, the President often calls on the Special Activities Division, the most secretive and lowest profile branch of the CIA. It is this paramilitary team that undertakes dramatic and little-known assignments: hostage rescues, sabotage and, of course, assassinations.   

For the first time, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times best-selling author Annie Jacobsen takes us deep inside this top-secret history. With unparalleled access to former operatives, ambassadors and even past directors of the Secret Service and CIA operations, Jacobsen reveals the inner workings of these teams and just how far a US President may go, covertly but lawfully, to pursue the nation's interests.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2019 Anne M. Jacobsen (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about Surprise, Kill, Vanish

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    190
  • 4 Stars
    55
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    164
  • 4 Stars
    45
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    181
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Awesome

Really interesting, but a long book. I look forward to all this authors work going on .

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Oops, she did again!

She's a genius. One of the best books ever written. Billy Waugh is real human who looks like a Video Game hero.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book again by the author

Great book but as others have said it doesn't really get going until chapter 11. After this chapter it's fantastic

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

great book

great read would highly recommend couldn't put it down. will be reading mire books by annie going forward

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent content, narration a bit flat/robotic

Excellent content. Difficult to get into as narration flat and robotic throughout. Definitely worth persevering

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

CIA Assassination Team's

A quality book, dealing with America's covert assassination teams, this is an really good listen I recommend this ebook.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A CIAs history of the CIA

Features a completely unhinged take on the Cuban revolution, should have been a big red flag when the author mentions her CIA member friend (colleague?) as part of the inspiration for the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narration

I understand the hubris behind it, but the author’s reading is numbing. Just for me anyway the voice, tone and studied enunciations just distract me from the story and put me to sleep. This is the second of her books I’ve downloaded and I should have learnt my lesson. I so wanted to get into and like both books. But with audiobooks the voice is everything, some people have it, some don’t. This is where the preview is so crucial. There are great books I’ll skip if the reader is no good

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

interesting topic, very boring to listen to

Currently half way through but it's a slog. She sounds bored reading her own book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Informative overview

An informative overview of the the history of clandestine and not so clandestine operations waged by the USA. The subject matter itself is very compelling and shocking at times. This is a very broad brush of a picture however as it covers the whole history of the CIA. I was curious to know more about some of the people depicted and ended up getting more information via Wikipedia and the internet. The presentation was a little dry but an easy enough listen.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-06-20

horrible reading voice but amazing book

I almost deleted this book after a chapter as I could not stomach the authors reading voice, but as I grit my teeth and tried to ignore it the story kept me enticed enough to finish the book. Amazing book and amazing stories, but personally I would've preferred another narator

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John A. Cote MSSI
  • John A. Cote MSSI
  • 01-08-19

Soldiers in the shadows

Annie Jacobsen has pulled the curtain open into the deniable world of the Assassin. You meet some of the characters who make up this elite community. You learn the history of this seldom heard from seldom recognized group of individuals who actually make a huge impact on the United States foreign policy. The Third Hand. The Presidents third option. Enjoy one Hell of a listen!!!!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for dante larsson
  • dante larsson
  • 25-05-19

Best book

Really gets into the hidden hand the Cia has everywhere in the world. So great!