Spying through History

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Christopher Andrew is the doyen of the academic study of intelligence in the UK. He has some serious progenitors, among them Professor Sir Harry Hinsley, but Andrew has really made the field his own. Indeed, there are few academics working on intelligence in the UK who cannot trace the origins of their work back to […]

Hour of the She-Intelligencer

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

In September 1656 a London apothecary, Anthony Hinton, was arrested on suspicion of using his premises beside the Old Bailey as a clearing house for letters on their way to exiled Royalists on the Continent. Interrogated by Cromwell’s own intelligence officers, Hinton quickly confessed his guilt and gave up the names of a number of […]

From Riga with Love

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

As Gill Bennett relates in this superb book, a compelling mixture of history, anecdote and historiography, the Zinoviev Letter arrived in Britain in 1924 and has never really gone away. Three weeks before the general election of October that year, a decoded telegram reached the headquarters of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in a villa in […]

The World Is Not Enough

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The exhibition at the Imperial War Museum marking the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth runs until 1 March 2009 and is well worth visiting. If you can’t make it, this book serves as a kind of catalogue to it, with double-spread film stills and a large format providing a touch of coffee-table glamour; yet it’s […]

In Daily Peril

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

For years the Imperial War Museum has been collecting, unobtrusively, the recollections not only of members of the conventional armed forces, but of those secret agents who survived and could be persuaded to talk. Roderick Bailey has been through all the relevant records and here assembles with great skill a picture of the Special Operations […]

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