Nigel West

M - S


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] MASK: MI5's Penetration of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Oxford: Routledge, 2005.

Thurlow, I&NS 21.1 (Feb. 2006), says that "[t]his book is hybrid; a cross between an account of some of the counter-intelligence and counter-espionage operations against the CPGB, the Comintern and Soviet Russia between 1920 and 1945, and the editing of important documents from recently declassified MI5 files." However, it is "neither a coherent narrative nor a satisfactory presentation of edited documents."

[UK/Interwar/Gen & SpyCases/Gen]

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] A Matter of Trust: MI5 1945-72. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1982. The Circus: MI-5 Operations 1945- 1972. New York: Stein & Day, 1983.

NameBase: "A senior MI5 officer stole [Allason's] manuscript in 1982 and obtained an injunction against publication. But ... the manuscript had already reached U.S. publishers, so British censors were willing to negotiate. Even with the deletions, one has to agree with Allason that 'this final version of The Circus is the most detailed account of MI5's work ever published, or ever likely to be.'" [Clark comment: The latter thought has, of course, proven to grossly inaccurate.]


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] MI5: British Security Service Operations, 1909-1945. London: Bodley Head, 1981. Braircliff Manor, NY: Stein & Day, 1982.

Rocca and Dziak: This is a "straightforward but uneven history of MI5." The focus of attention is MI5 operations against German activities.


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations, 1909-45. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1983. New York: Random House, 1983.

Sexton refers to this West work as a "well documented survey" of Britain's foreign intelligence service.


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] Mole Hunt: Searching for Soviet Spies in MI5. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987. New York: William Morrow, 1989.

Cram comments that "[b]ecause West does not know the facts about [the] Fluency [committee], he exaggerates its effectiveness." He concludes pre-Andrew-Gordievsky that Guy "Liddell could not have been the 'Fifth Man.'" He "makes a general case" against Graham Mitchell, "but does make a strong case against him." Hollis and Mitchell were "cleared" by Gordievsky.


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] "Mole Hunts that Led Security Forces to 'Grandmother' Spy." Telegraph (London), 14 Sep. 1999. []

"For the past 12 months the Federal German Security Service, the BfV, has been co-operating closely with MI5 in the 50 investigations initiated by the notes taken by Vasili Mitrokhin while he worked at the KGB's headquarters in Moscow. Codenamed Curb, Mitrokhin's material is of only limited current value because he himself lost his access in 1984.... However, it is of consummate interest to historians attempting to identify individual Soviet spies."


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] Mortal Crimes: The Greatest Theft in History -- Soviet Penetration of the Manhattan Project. New York: Enigma, 2004.

An AFIO WIN 18-04 (31 May 2004) reviewer finds that the author "painstakingly reconstructs the warren of espionage networks set up" by Soviet intelligence in the United States in the 1930s. To Bath, NIPQ 21.3 (Sep. 2005), West's "story is detailed, and it is sometimes difficult to keep track of the names and numbers of all the players. It is not a casual read, but those who are willing to undertake it will find it a worthwhile contribution to the study of espionage and the development of the atom bomb."

Roberts, I&NS 20.2 (Jun. 2005), finds that the author's "main achievement is to synthesize the all too abundant material about atomic espionage and weave it into a readable and lively account." However, the reviewer is unhappy about "the scattered and sporadic" footnoting in the book, and decides that the charges West makes against Ernest Lawence "are not supported by the available evidence."


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] Secret War: The Story of SOE, Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organization. London: John Carter via Hoddington & Stoughton, 1992.

Surveillant 2.2: This work "studies SOE's original charter ... and analyzes SOE's structure and performance."


West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] The Secret War for the Falklands: The SAS, MI6, and the War Whitehall Nearly Lost. London: Little, Brown, 1997.

West, Nigel. [Rupert Allason] Seven Spies Who Changed the World. London: Secker & Warburg, 1991. London: Mandarin, 1992. [pb]

Clark comment: The seven spies are Popov (TRICYCLE), Schmidt (TATE), Buckley, Blunt, Blake, Powers, and Wynne. Surveillant 2.4 says that West "clarifies or corrects erroneous stories published elsewhere." McGinnis, Cryptolog 17.3, expresses the belief that while "the seven were notable, even notorious, shakers of the East and West," they were "not shakers of the world at large." Nonetheless, he found this to be an "interesting book by a prolific British author."



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