Forsyth, Frederick. The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue. New York: Putnam's, 2015.
Rayner, Telegraph (London), 31 Aug. 2015, notes that Forsyth "worked as a spy for more than two decades after being recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service in 1968.... Forsyth conducted counter-intelligence in Communist East Germany and apartheid-era South Africa."
Rimington, Stella. Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5. London: Hutchinson, 2001.
Unsinger, IJI&C 16.1, is unimpressed with the former MI5 Director-General's account, "commenting that Rimington didn't really relate anything other than a few observations and anecdotal material." Her "descriptions ultimately fail to devolve into something more substantial." For Bath, NIPQ 18.2/3, there are certainly "no family jewels" to be found here. "The main thrust of the book remains ... the trail-blazing progress of a woman in what heretofore had been thought a man's world."
Sillitoe, Percy [Sir]. Cloak Without Dagger. London: Cassell, 1955. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1955.
Constantinides: Sillitoe headed MI5 from 1946 to 1953, but most of the book concerns his long career in the colonies and in the United Kingdom. "Little is said of his experience" at MI5's helm. Cockerill's biography, Sir Percy Sillitoe (1975), does little to rectify the situation.
Wright, Peter, with Paul Greengrass. Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer. New York: Viking, 1987. UB271G72W758
Cram sees the book as "filled with errors, exaggerations, bogus ideas, and self-inflation"; nevertheless, it "is one of the outstanding works in the field of intelligence literature.... [I]t is so full of bombast, the joy of the hunt, English eccentricities, and factual data that it must be required reading for anyone interested in intelligence." It is Wright's obsession that "beginning with Golitsyn's 1963 visit to England,... the British services, particularly MI-5, were penetrated by the Russians."
According to Smith, IJI&C 2.1, Spycatcher is "uneven, bitter, sloppy, and fascinating." The author "bitterly resents the small size of his gov't pension.... The generally sober and convincing description of his work is certainly the most interesting part.... [E]xaggeration and distortion ... are less apparent there than in the sections dealing with the activities into which Wright branched out. These include spy-pursuing...; in particular, his efforts to identify his boss, Sir Roger Hollis, as a Russian spy.... [T]he parts ... concerned with the pursuit of Hollis have more than their share of the purple prose and unconvincing, sometimes ludicrous, details that come and go in the book."
NameBase focuses on the history of the book, commenting that "Wright's book was a major challenge to Britain's secrecy laws, as British officials banned the book and then tried unsuccessfully to win an injunction against publication in a widely-reported trial in Australia. This of course guaranteed that the book would be a bestseller, whereupon some of Wright's allegations received more attention than they probably deserved."
For Gelber, I&NS 4.2, the book is "full of fascinating stories and vignettes.... [But] Wright clearly has several chips on both shoulders about the British class system and public school attitudes.... He emerges from his own story as quirky, dogged and pernickety.... He is not a particularly admirable man."
Clark comment: The credibility of Gelber's review is lessened by some glaringly off-the-mark -- and in the final analysis unnecessary -- remarks. For example, he avers that intelligence "[s]ervices employ full-time special and disinformation staffs to confuse comment, for instance by leaking selected or even entirely fictional accounts of some operation or career." The implication of large numbers of people engaged in manipulation of the public record simply does not reflect reality. And he follows that by arguing that "the CIA fabricated an entire Penkovsky 'diary,'" a mantra heard often over the years from anti-CIA types but an untruth that has long been put to rest for those who pay attention to such things.
See also D. Cameron Watt, "Fall-out from Treachery: Peter Wright and Spycatcher," Political Quarterly 59 (Apr.-Jun. 1988): 206-218.
Wynne, Greville. The Man from Moscow: The Story of Wynne and Penkovsky. London: Hutchinson, 1967. Contact on Gorky Street. New York: Atheneum, 1968.
Pforzheimer: "A British agent's first-hand, though somewhat colored, account of his missions to Moscow to contact Colonel Penkovskiy."
Return to UK Memoirs Table of Contents