Both Pforzheimer and Constantinides list Anthony Cave Brown under "Cave Brown, Anthony." For purposes of this bibliography, I have followed the Library of Congress convention and listed his works under "Brown, Anthony Cave."
Anthony Cave Brown died on 15 July 2006. Matt Schudel, "Espionage Writer Anthony Cave Brown, 77," Washington Post, 28 Jul. 2006, B6.
Brown, Anthony Cave. Bodyguard of Lies. London: W.H. Allen, 1975. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1975. 2 vols. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. New York: Bantam, 1976. [pb] New York: Morrow, 1991. [pb]
Clark comment: This book tells in an entertaining -- but sprawling and unfocused -- fashion the story of the Allied use of the take from ULTRA, the fruits of the success of British counterintelligence at the onset of war, and other "special means" to lay the basis for the "grand deception" that preceded the invasion of Normandy. As the quotes below indicate, few knowledgeable commentators are enthusiastic about the accuracy of Brown's work, especially where details are concerned. Many writers are particularly pained by the perpetuation of the "Churchill-let-Coventry-be-destroyed" myth.
Pforzheimer says that Bodyguard of Lies is so "replete with errors and erroneous embellishments" that it should be approached "only with great caution." Petersen calls it "[f]ar-reaching in scope and research, but unreliable." Hugh Trevor-Roper, NYRB, 19 Feb. 1976, opines that "while it can be enjoyed as narrative, as history it cannot be trusted."
Constantinides found it paradoxical that the author "produced a history of many Allied and especially British intelligence operations in the war ... that can be used as a reference on particular operations only if it is used as a starting point and further research is pursued on the matter elsewhere."
The utility of the lengthy review by Bowen, Studies 20.1 (Spring 1976), is tainted by his acceptance of Brown's Coventry story. He does go on, however, to note "the many evidences of inconsistency, controversy, and simple errors of fact" in the book. In general, the reviewer concludes that "[w]hat the author has done..., in a very accomplished manner, is to present the major elements of the story in both human and institutional terms"; it is a "spectacular if flawed work."
For a highly critical contemporaneous review, see Michael Howard, "The Ultra Variations," The Times Literary Supplement, 28 May 1976, 641-642.
[WWII/Eur/D-Day & Deception][c]
Brown, Anthony Cave. "C": The Secret Life of Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, Spymaster to Winston Churchill. New York: Macmillan, 1987.
Clark comment: Menzies headed MI6 from 1939 to 1951. Petersen sees the book as "voluminous," with "important material on allied intelligence"; but it is "regarded as not fully reliable by many experts." Sexton refers to the book as "rather imaginative and highly colored." Chambers comments that the author "can't seem to make up his mind" about Menzies.
According to Poth, IJI&C 2.4, the author's "fascinating story" is "marred by a number of factual errors," and his "conclusions in several areas may be questionable." He is "driven in defense of his subject to a 'bizarre conclusion'... that Menzies knew all along that Philby was a KGB agent but was playing him as a double.... [T]wo of a number of reviews of the book are ... extraordinarily biased and inaccurate.... The worst appears in the New York Times Book Review for 27 December 1987 and is by Ken Follet.... The other ... appears on 3 April 1988 in The Los Angeles Times ... [and] is written by Allison Silver."
[UK/Biogs; UK/Postwar/Gen; UK/WWII/Services/MI6][c]
Brown, Anthony Cave. The Last Hero: Wild Bill Donovan. New York: Times Books, 1982.
Powers, Intelligence Wars (2004), 12-13, and NYRB, 12 May 1983, calls The Last Hero "a huge archive, somewhat haphazardly organized, of detailed cases from all the usual sources plus Donovan's own voluminous files," to which Brown had "exclusive access." For Petersen, this "is the most comprehensive treatment" of Donovan, and "draws upon his personal papers. It should be used with care." Pforzheimer believed that the book had "such shortcomings" that he did not include it in his bibliography. Commenting on Thomas F. Troy's Wild Bill and Intrepid, Ward Warren in CIRA Newsletter 21.2 says of The Last Hero that "nothing but the title is reliable."
Brown, Anthony Cave. Treason in the Blood: H. St. John Philby, Kim Philby and the Spy Case of the Century. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. London: Hale, 1995.
According to Surveillant 3.6, "Brown, who again has included enough harmless, though glaring, errors that he will take some heat from intelligence literature experts, nevertheless tells an intriguingly up-to-date tale.... Beware, pro-Angleton readers, for Brown shows him here as a dupe who was far too trusting of Philby, and, in one long theory, as even a possible traitor or mole. The knives are out over this one."
Choice, May 1995, says this book "is an innovative dual biography of [Kim] Philby and his father.... The work is based on the author's personal encounters with Kim Philby, whom he met in Beirut in the later 1950s. It is amply documented with several interviews, the private papers of both Philbys, selected photographs, and assorted KGB memoranda."
For Aldrich, I&NS 11.3, the criticisms to which Brown's works have been subjected over time do not diminish the "admirable vigour and singularity of purpose ... in all of [his] research." In this work, the author shows that "he is unafraid to employ his imagination and to engage in historical speculation." Economist, 7 Jan. 1995, notes that the "connecting thread ... is Anthony Cave Brown's strange theory that Kim inherited a treasonous disposition from his father. To believe this it is necessary to misunderstand either the nature of treason, or St John's life and character."
Fein, WIR 13.5, finds this juxtapositional biography to be "provocative but at least partially unsatisfying.... The author unpersuasively asserts a commonality of motivations and scale of treachery.... Cave Brown's assertion that St. John's infatuation with socialism was a driving force seems preposterous.... St. John turned against his country for a simple and sordid cause divorced from any genetic predisposition -- self-aggrandizement. [In the final analysis,] St. John's treacheries seem little more than peccadilloes, at least when compared with the colossal villainies of his son.... Cave Brown's theory that Kim had treason in his blood seems implausible... Kim turned traitor ... because he was evil, not because he inherited bad blood."
Brown, Anthony Cave, and Charles B. MacDonald. On a Field of Red: The Communist International and the Coming of World War II. New York: Putnam's, 1981.
Rocca and Dziak: "A grand tour of political action and espionage operations of the Comintern and Soviet intelligence services, and their roles leading to World War II. Despite dust jacket claims to new sources of information, no significant reinterpretations emerge."
[Russia/Interwar & SovSpies/Comintern][c]
Brown, Anthony Cave, ed. The Secret War Report of the OSS. New York: Berkley, 1976. [pb]
According to Pforzheimer, this is an edited version of the full two-volume report. This version eliminates and rearranges some of the material; in particular, "the material on OSS in the Far East is not included in the [Brown] version." Constantinides finds that Brown's commentaries "add to the understanding of a number of events and identify a number of individuals involved." At the same time, there are "errors and controversial statements in these commentaries." See U.S. War Department, Strategic Services Unit, War Report..., prepared under the direction of Kermit Roosevelt in 1948 and declassified by the CIA in 1976.
Return to Brown - A-L