Nigel West

H - L

  West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2005. 2d ed. rev. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

From publisher: This Dictionary has "more than 1,800 entries, covering a vast and varied cast of characters.... Covered also are the agencies; leading individuals and prominent personalities; operations, including double agent and deception campaigns; and events, using the most up-to-date declassified material."

Peake, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), notes that while this work focuses "on the British intelligence services, there is much of interest to Americans, since many operations and cases overlap.... Remarkably free from errors overall, the Historical Dictionary has a fine bibliography and begins with a witty essay about the eccentricities of British intelligence." To Skarpac, DIJ 15.1 (2006), the author provides "a complete overview detailing the history and operations of British intelligence from Abbassia to Zululand.... This book is an exemplary reference for anyone interested in intelligence."

Acording to Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), the second edition "contains 74 pages of material that surfaced since the first edition was published." Additions include new personalities and terms, and expansion of other entries. There are no sources for the entries.

[RefMats/Dictionaries/Historical; UK/RefMats]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2007.

Aftergood, Secrecy News (from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy), 16 Feb. 2007, finds "many intriguing nuggets" in this work of "brief, capsule summaries of key topics, terms and events in the turbulent history of cold war counterintelligence." However, entries "are not sourced or annotated." Maret, DIJ 16.2 (2007), says that this work provides "an international perspective to CI, with brief but detailed entries." However, the reviewer wonders "whether the dictionary format is the ideal arrangement for presentling highly complex historical and biographical material."

For Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), this work "has an impressive selection of cases, some little known, and a valuable bibliographic essay covering the evolution of books during the Cold War." Nonetheless, the volume has a number of factual errors; "the editorial practice of leaving the fact-checking and source determination to the reader diminishes the[] utility" of this work.

[CI/00s; RefMats/Dictionaries/Historical]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of International Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006.

Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), identifies a number of factual errors in this work. For instance, it "states Philip Agee won a court challenge to recover his US passport; he did not. Nor did James Angleton identify Canadian counterintelligence officer James Bennett as a KGB mole; the Canadians did that on their own. And the comment that the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence) was originally designated the Third Department is inaccurate; it was the Fourth Department."


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of Naval Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.3 (Sep. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), finds that this work "begins with a useful chronology and a historical essay." There is also "an interesting appendix on 'US Navy Signals Intercept Sites,' but no British ones." The bibliographic essay is "reasonably complete," although there are omissions. The more than 600 entries "do not have source references." Nonetheless, this is "a valuable reference work."

To Carnes, AIJ 29.1 (2011), this work includes "subjects not covered anywhere else and is not redundant with any other reference sources." It "is a most interesting read," and "is a very useful reference allowing for the study of naval intelligence." The reviewer does, however, identify "some problem with the acronyms included in the section on the Fleet Intelligence Center." Anderson, Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), says that the author has "filled this slim volume with a lot of diverse and often fascunating material."


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of Sexspionage. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

From publisher: "In the realm of human behavior, sex can be the catalyst for risky or reckless conduct. The Historical Dictionary of Sexspionage explores this behavior through a chronology, an introduction, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on the secret agencies, operations, and events. From Delilah's seduction of Samson in 1161 BC to State Department official Donald Keyser's conviction of passing secrets to Isabelle Cheng, a Taiwanese intelligence officer, in 2007, Nigel West recounts the history of sexspionage."


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of Signals Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2012.

Gary K., Studies 57.2 (Jun. 2013), finds a "significant and surprising gap in West's otherwise fair-minded selection of sources" -- the limited number of "references to histories of SIGINT written by NSA historians." Writing about SIGINT is difficult, but by "providing an introductory essay, a chronology, more than 300 entries, appendices, and, importantly, a bibliography, West has made the best of a difficult subject. His dictionary samples a wide field and will be worthwhile for most scholarly and public educational uses."


West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of World War I Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), notes that "newly released documents from the British National Achives have revealed new names and acts of espionage among all the major participants in WWI.... [I]ntelligence students and historians will find World War I Intelligence a useful reference." However, there are no sources for the entries. For Trenear-Harvey, IJI&C 28.1 (Spring 2015), this is "a 'one-stop' encyclopedia" containing "an abundance of fascinating material."

[RefMats/Dictionaries/Historical; WWI/RefMats]

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of World War II Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2008.

Peake, Studies 52.2 (Jun. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), says that the author "continues his precedent of providing a fine bibliographic essay, an index he creates himself, and an absence of source notes." This is a "useful but not comprehensive treatment [that] leaves many topics for future volumes."

[RefMats/Dictionaries/Historical; WWII/RefMats]

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] The Illegals: The Double Lives of the Cold War's Most Secret Agents. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993. London: Coronet Books, 1994. [pb]

Surveillant 3.4/5: "On the well-known examples,... West supplies new information, and he identifies other less-familiar and far more recent cases."


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] "The Legacy of Graham Greene: Superspy." World Intelligence Review 13, no. 6 (1994): 1, 3.

This is a quick look at three biographies of Greene and their treatment of his association with British wartime intelligence: Anthony Mockler, Graham Greene: Three Lives (Edinburgh: Mackay, 1994); Michael Shelden, Graham Greene: The Man Within (London: Heinemann, [?1987]); and Norman Sherry, The Life of Graham Greene, Vol. 1, 1904-1939, and Vol. II, 1939-1955 (New York: Viking: 1990, 1994).

Greene served with MI6 from 1941 to 1944, when he moved to the Foreign Office. His stint with MI6 included postings in Lagos, Freetown, and the Portuguese desk in Section V (Counterintelligence), where he was Kim Philby's subordinate. According to West, "Sherry's account is fairly accurate..., the more accurate one overall.... [B]ut the least flattering account, written by Shelden, provides the most meat for the intelligence cognoscente." Mockler's book "has some additional details concerning the counterespionage scene in Lisbon when Greene was supervising Section V's Portuguese desk. Mockler, however, relied heavily on Malcolm Muggeridge's memoirs."

[UK/Biogs; UK/WWII/Services/MI6][c]

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