The Secret History of MI6: 1909-1949

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9780143119999: The Secret History of MI6: 1909-1949

The authorized history of the world's oldest and most storied foreign intelligence service, drawing extensively on hitherto secret documents

Britain's Special Intelligence Service, commonly called MI6, is not only the oldest and most storied foreign intelligence unit in the world - it is also the only one to open its archives to an outside researcher. The result, in this authorized history, is an unprecedented and revelatory look at an organization that essentially created, over the course of two world wars, the modern craft of spying. Here are the true stories that inspired Ian Fleming's James Bond's novels and John le Carré George Smiley novels. Examining innovations from invisible ink and industrial-scale cryptography to dramatic setbacks like the Nazi sting operations to bag British operatives, this groundbreaking history is as engrossing as any thriller - and much more revealing.

"Perhaps the most authentic account one will ever read about how intelligence really works." -The Washington Times

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Review:

Keith Jeffery on Writing The Secret History of MI6

The British Secret Intelligence Service—popularly known as MI6—is the oldest established continuously surviving foreign intelligence-gathering organisation in the world. It has also historically been the most secret department of the British government. Founded in 1909, its existence was not officially acknowledged until 1994. Before then official British representatives had to pretend, sometimes with embarrassing results, that there was no such organisation as ‘MI6’, and even if there was, they ‘couldn’t possibly comment’ about it. Although the agency has had a website since 2005, few details are released about the number of people who work for it or the size of its budget, nor are any of its officers publicly avowed, with the sole exception of the Chief, whose name has been published since 1992. Unlike Britain’s other security and intelligence organisations, MI5 (which covers domestic security, rather like the FBI) and the signals intelligence agency, the blandly-titled Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ; analogous to the NSA), SIS releases absolutely none of its departmental records to the British National Archives. For almost all of its hundred-year existence, the strict line has been taken that the super-secret work of SIS, gathering foreign intelligence from foreign sources, has been of such vital national importance that no iota of information about it could formally be released to the public. Until now.

The writing of an officially-authorised history of SIS presents challenges for the agency and historian alike. For the outcome not to appear to be some sort of ‘hack house history’ (and thus vitiate its value as a reliable, scholarly and authoritative work) the author has to be given sufficient freedom—or licence—to exercise his or her own critical judgments. The author, too, has to surmount the wisely sceptical assumptions of colleagues who may believe that the fact that he has been deemed suitable for the task may precisely render him unsuitable to produce a rigorous and independent history. Writing to such a commission necessarily involves accepting some constraints on what may be published, but so long as any redactions are limited to genuine matters of national security (though that itself is a matter of potentially differing judgment), and not simply to protect the agency from embarrassment, or to suppress failure or wrong-doing, it ought to be a price worth paying. It may in some degree be invidious that only a single individual is granted uniquely privileged access to what is certainly the ‘Holy Grail’ of British archives, but since it is the case that for the foreseeable future no similar access will be granted to anyone else, then perhaps the risk is worth taking.

--Keith Jeffery

About the Author:

Keith Jeffery is a professor of British history at Queen's University, Belfast, and has written or edited thirteen books.

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Descripción Penguin Books, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The authorized history of the world s oldest and most storied foreign intelligence service, drawing extensively on hitherto secret documents Britain s Special Intelligence Service, commonly called MI6, is not only the oldest and most storied foreign intelligence unit in the world - it is also the only one to open its archives to an outside researcher. The result, in this authorized history, is an unprecedented and revelatory look at an organization that essentially created, over the course of two world wars, the modern craft of spying. Here are the true stories that inspired Ian Fleming s James Bond s novels and John le Carre George Smiley novels.Examining innovations from invisible ink and industrial-scale cryptography to dramatic setbacks like the Nazi sting operations to bag British operatives, this groundbreaking history is as engrossing as any thriller - and much more revealing. Perhaps the most authentic account one will ever read about how intelligence really works. -The Washington Times. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780143119999

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Descripción Penguin Books, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The authorized history of the world s oldest and most storied foreign intelligence service, drawing extensively on hitherto secret documents Britain s Special Intelligence Service, commonly called MI6, is not only the oldest and most storied foreign intelligence unit in the world - it is also the only one to open its archives to an outside researcher. The result, in this authorized history, is an unprecedented and revelatory look at an organization that essentially created, over the course of two world wars, the modern craft of spying. Here are the true stories that inspired Ian Fleming s James Bond s novels and John le Carre George Smiley novels.Examining innovations from invisible ink and industrial-scale cryptography to dramatic setbacks like the Nazi sting operations to bag British operatives, this groundbreaking history is as engrossing as any thriller - and much more revealing. Perhaps the most authentic account one will ever read about how intelligence really works. -The Washington Times. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780143119999

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Descripción Penguin Books, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The authorized history of the world s oldest and most storied foreign intelligence service, drawing extensively on hitherto secret documents Britain s Special Intelligence Service, commonly called MI6, is not only the oldest and most storied foreign intelligence unit in the world - it is also the only one to open its archives to an outside researcher. The result, in this authorized history, is an unprecedented and revelatory look at an organization that essentially created, over the course of two world wars, the modern craft of spying. Here are the true stories that inspired Ian Fleming s James Bond s novels and John le Carre George Smiley novels.Examining innovations from invisible ink and industrial-scale cryptography to dramatic setbacks like the Nazi sting operations to bag British operatives, this groundbreaking history is as engrossing as any thriller - and much more revealing. Perhaps the most authentic account one will ever read about how intelligence really works. -The Washington Times. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780143119999

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