Hugh Bicheno

Official Secrets

MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909–1949

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Bloomsbury 810pp £30 order from our bookshop

Six: A History of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, Part 1– Murder and Mayhem 1909–1939

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Dialogue 468pp £19.99 order from our bookshop
 

In 2004 Richard Aldrich wrote that official histories offer Whitehall ‘a useful way of managing the past, offering a judicious mixture of concession and control’. His further feelings on the subject are more clearly revealed by the subtitle of his recent GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency (reviewed in the June edition of LR), a book which is evidently intended to pre-empt the official history due out soon, a companion to Christopher Andrew’s official history of MI5, and Keith Jeffery’s book under review here.

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