UNITED KINGDOM

Overviews

Prior to 2000

S - Z

Smith, Lou. The Secret of MI6. London: Hale, 1975. New York: St. Martin's, 1978.

Smith, Michael. New Cloak, Old Dagger: How Britain's Spies Came in from the Cold. London: Gollancz, 1996.

Stafford, David. Churchill and the Secret Service. London & New York: Overlook, 1998. London: Thistle Publishing, 2013. [pb]

Andrew, Telegraph (London), 18 Oct. 1997, comments that "Stafford is the first to pull ... together in a single, very readable volume" Churchill's lifelong involvement with intelligence. The book "also includes fascinating new material." Foot, Spectator, 8 Nov. 1997, says that Stafford "reassesses most of Churchill's major strategic decisions, and shows how secret intelligence dominated them; he provides material for a complete rethink of how the war was won, in a startlingly good book."

For Bennett, I&NS 13.4, Stafford's work is "remarkable" and "magnificent." The author has avoided "with trancendent skill" the pitfalls that accompany writing a near-biography of Churchill. Kirkus Reviews, 1 Dec. 1997, calls the work a "first-rate and, what is more remarkable, an original contribution to Churchilliana, of sure interest to students of Churchill, modern history, or military intelligence."

To Cohen, FA 77.3 (May-Jun. 1998), Stafford "examines, with an unillusioned but generally admiring eye, a statesman who knew how to read intelligence reports and exploit covert operations." Although there is "[n]othing very new ... recounted here," Stafford's stories "are well told and solidly grounded in archival and secondary sources." This assessment is shared by Krome, Library Journal, Jan. 1998, who finds "only a few new revelations here," but notes that "the book does offer an interesting overview of the subject."

Fontaine, History, 26.4, sees the book as providing "a gripping account of Churchill's involvement in intelligence." According to Booklist, 1 Jan. 1998, Stafford believes that Churchill's use of intelligence operations "was generally a plus for Britain and the West. Stafford's narrative is concise, easy to follow..., and often exciting." See also the reviews by Kruh, Cryptologia 22.2; Bates, NIPQ 14.4; Lefebvre, Journal of Military History, Oct. 1999; and Publisher's Weekly, 1 Dec. 1997.

Taylor, Philip M. British Propaganda in the Twentieth Century: Selling Democracy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999. 2001. [pb]

From "Preface": The articles brought togather here "purport to constitute a coherent analysis of Britain's development of its overseas information services and, to a lesser extent, its domestic propaganda, from their origins during the First World War to the present day."

Tebinka, Jacek. "British and Polish Intelligence Services in the 20th Century: Co-operation and Rivalry." Acta Poloniae Historica 84 (2001): 101-136.

Urban, Mark. UK Eyes Alpha: The Inside Story of British Intelligence. London: Faber & Faber, 1996.

According to Surveillant 4.4/5, this book examines "how Britain's spies reacted to the fall of Communism and to the outbreak of new conflicts around the world ." The author surveys "the state of British espionage agencies, and asks what relevance they have today." West, WIR 16.1, finds some of Urban's claims "somewhat debatable," and he "relies upon a narrow range of sources." Nonetheless, his iconoclastic and provocative approach is refreshing.

The author's focus on the negative aspects of what he sees as British intelligence reliance on the United States resonates well with Lustgarten, I&NS 13.2, who says that his "only criticism of the book is [Urban's] complete failure to make use of all of scholarly writing."

Wise, David, and Thomas B. Ross. The Espionage Establishment. New York: Random House, 1967. London: Jonathan Cape, 1968. New York: Bantam Books, 1968. [pb]

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