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MI5: British Security Service Operations…

MI5: British Security Service Operations 1909-1945 (1981)

by Nigel West

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A very difficult read, requiring real effort to follow, but with its own rewards for the persistent. An extremely well researched history of MI5 (from its creation in 1909 to the close of WWII) that truly does reveal the structure, methods and personalities of the British Secret Service MI5 division; the section that most closely corresponds to the FBI. West also wrote a companion book, MI6 - the original Secret Intelligence Service that led to the offshoots of other similar services – the SOE, CIA and Mossad, - after finishing MI5 this companion book was ordered.

It seems that a degree of pre-knowledge of many of the personalities involved in the story is required of the reader in order to obtain the full benefit of this impressive history, the author does seem to expect that readers are conversant with many British authors and academics and that the whole of Burke’s Peerage has been previously ingested! This reader’s recommendation is that as you prepare to tackle the reading of this work that you photo-copy (or at least post-it note) each of the many charts of agents, that lists their real names and code names, as the author, being of course, very familiar with these participants often refers to them by either … and sometimes uses both in the same sentence.

Most LTers into Spy Stories and Espionage will already know of the membership in British Intelligence of authors like le Carré, Roald Dahl and Graham Greene and perhaps even that of Malcolm Muggeridge and Somerset Maugham but author West adds a few more who played in the ”Great Game”… including one of my heroes, Victor Rothschild, and historians Montgomery Hyde, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Duff Cooper … and there is always Art Historian Anthony Blunt of course!
  John_Vaughan | Feb 29, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586056408, Paperback)

Nigel West's book traces the history of MI 5 from its modest beginnings in 1909 until 1945. The focus is on its role in WW II, recalling the enemy agents rounded up in Britain; the manipulation of the Axis espionage networks by the use of "turned" Abwehr agents and the all-important check on its success provided by the intercepted German signals decoded at Bletchley.

Laced with true anecdotes as bizarre and readable as espionage thrillers, this book is based on interviews of Nazi and Soviet agents, counter-intelligence officers, case officers and, most remarkably, more than a dozen of the double agents.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:59 -0400)

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