The Secret History of MI6: 1909-1949

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The authorized history of the world's oldest and most storied foreign intelligence service, drawing extensively on hitherto secret documents

Britain's Special Intelligence Service, commonly called MI6, is not only the oldest and most storied foreign intelligence unit in the world - it is also the only one to open its archives to an outside researcher. The result, in this authorized history, is an unprecedented and revelatory look at an organization that essentially created, over the course of two world wars, the modern craft of spying. Here are the true stories that inspired Ian Fleming's James Bond's novels and John le Carré George Smiley novels. Examining innovations from invisible ink and industrial-scale cryptography to dramatic setbacks like the Nazi sting operations to bag British operatives, this groundbreaking history is as engrossing as any thriller - and much more revealing.

"Perhaps the most authentic account one will ever read about how intelligence really works." -The Washington Times

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About the author

Keith Jeffery is a professor of British history at Queen’s University, Belfast, and has written or edited thirteen books.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Sep 21, 2010
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Pages
832
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ISBN
9781101443460
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
History / Military / World War II
History / Modern / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This is the first detailed study of Britain's open source intelligence (OSINT) operations during the Second World War, showing how accurate and influential OSINT could be and ultimately how those who analysed this intelligence would shape British post-war policy towards the Soviet Union.

Following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the enemy and neutral press covering the German occupation of the Baltic states offered the British government a vital stream of OSINT covering the entire German East. OSINT was the only form of intelligence available to the British from the Nazi-occupied Soviet Union, due to the Foreign Office suspension of all covert intelligence gathering inside the Soviet Union. The risk of jeopardising the fragile Anglo-Soviet alliance was considered too great to continue covert intelligence operations. In this book, Wheatley primarily examines OSINT acquired by the Stockholm Press Reading Bureau (SPRB) in Sweden and analysed and despatched to the British government by the Foreign Research and Press Service (FRPS) Baltic States Section and its successor, the Foreign Office Research Department (FORD).

Shedding light on a neglected area of Second World War intelligence and employing useful case studies of the FRPS/FORD Baltic States Section's Intelligence, British Intelligence and Hitler's Empire in the Soviet Union, 1941-1945 makes a new and important argument which will be of great value to students and scholars of British intelligence history and the Second World War.
In Double Cross, New York Times bestselling author Ben Macintyre returns with the untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war.

This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross’s nucleus: a dashing  Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard, and a volatile Frenchwoman. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.

With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler’s army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.
Following on from the enormous success of his bestseller, The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, renowned author Sinclair McKay uncovers the story of what happened after the end of the Second World War.

Once victory was declared, many of the individuals who had achieved the seemingly impossible at Bletchley Park by cracking the impenetrable Enigma codes and giving the Allies an invaluable insight directly into the Nazi war machine, moved on to GCHQ. This was the British government’s new facility established to fight a different, but no less formidable foe – Stalin and the KGB.

Fascinating and insightful revelations from deep within the archives of this secret organisation reveal the story of the tumultuous early years of GCHQ as it navigated its way through an era of double agents, deception and betrayals. From the defection of the Cambridge Five and the treachery of the atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs, to the collapse of the British Empire, the ascension of Chairman Mao and the emergence of the US as a superpower, McKay deftly explores the impact these events had on the fledgling organisation.

During the years of the Cold War the men and women of GCHQ penetrated Soviet encryptions and gathered crucial intelligence from all over the world. The Spies of Winter tells the story of the codebreakers themselves and how they used new technology to expand the horizons of cryptography in order to defend the nation and maintain the fragile peace in a world now under the shadow of nuclear holocaust.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Journalist Adam Higginbotham’s definitive, years-in-the-making account of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster—and a powerful investigation into how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters.

Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering history’s worst nuclear disaster. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a masterful nonfiction thriller, and the definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth.

Midnight in Chernobyl is an indelible portrait of one of the great disasters of the twentieth century, of human resilience and ingenuity, and the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.
Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, an Irishman who in June 1922 was assassinated on his doorstep in London by Irish republicans, was one of the most controversial British soldiers of the modern age. Before 1914 he did much to secure the Anglo-French alliance and was responsible for the planning which saw the British Expeditionary Force successfully despatched to France after the outbreak of war with Germany. A passionate Irish unionist, he gained a reputation as an intensely 'political' soldier, especially during the 'Curragh crisis' of 1914 when some officers resigned their commisssions rather than coerce Ulster unionists into a Home Rule Ireland. During the war he played a major role in Anglo-French liaison, and ended up as Chief of the Imperial General Staff, professional head of the army, a post he held until February 1922. After Wilson retired from the army, he became an MP and was chief security adviser to the new Northern Ireland government. As such, he became a target for nationalist Irish militants, being identified with the security policies of the Belfast regime, though wrongly with Protestant sectarian attacks on Catholics. He is remembered today in unionist Northern Ireland as a kind of founding martyr for the state. Wilson's reputation was ruined in 1927 with the publication of an official biography, which quoted extensively and injudiciously from his entertaining, indiscreet, and wildly opinionated diaries, giving the impression that he was some sort of Machiavellian monster. In this first modern biography, using a wide variety of official and private sources for the first time, Keith Jeffery reassesses Wilson's life and career and places him clearly in his social, national, and political context.
A “brilliantly written and meticulously researched” biography of royal family life during England’s second Tudor monarch (San Francisco Chronicle).
 
Either annulled, executed, died in childbirth, or widowed, these were the well-known fates of the six queens during the tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England from 1509 to 1547. But in this “exquisite treatment, sure to become a classic” (Booklist), they take on more fully realized flesh and blood than ever before. Katherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured woman who jumped at the chance of independence; Katherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Katherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.
 
“Combin[ing] the accessibility of a popular history with the highest standards of a scholarly thesis”, Alison Weir draws on the entire labyrinth of Tudor history, employing every known archive—early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports—to bring vividly to life the fates of the six queens, the machinations of the monarch they married and the myriad and ceaselessly plotting courtiers in their intimate circle (The Detroit News).
 
In this extraordinary work of sound and brilliant scholarship, “at last we have the truth about Henry VIII’s wives” (Evening Standard).
After a decade of major technical and theoretical advancements in the area, the scope for exploitation of database technology has never been greater. Neither has the challenge. This volume contains the proceedings of the 17th British National Conference on Databases (BNCOD 2000), held at the University of Exeter in July 2000. In selecting the quality papers presented here, the programme committee was p- ticularly interested in the demands being made on the technology by emerging application areas, including web applications, push technology, multimedia data, and data warehousing. The concern remains the same: satisfaction of user - quirements on quality and performance. However, with increasing demand for timely access to heterogeneous data distributed on an unregulated Internet, new challenges are presented. Our three invited speakers develop the theme for the conference, considering new dimensions concerning user requirements in accessing distributed, hete- geneous information sources. In the ?rst paper presented here, Gio Wiederhold re?ects on the tension between requirements for, on the one hand, precision and relevance and on the other completeness and recall in relating data from heterogeneous resources. In resolving this tension in favour of the former, he maintains that this will fundamentally a?ect future research directions. Sharma Chakravarthy adds another dimension to the requirement on inf- mation, namely timeliness. He shares a vision of just-in-time information de- vered by a push technology based on reactive capabilities. He maintains that this requires a paradigm shift to a user-centric view of information.
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