Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: Books about Britain's intelligence agencies

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    22

    Books about Britain's intelligence agencies

    I'm looking for any books dealing with the actions of Britain's intelligence agencies. Their biggest successes and failures, their most bizarre activities, their ethos, etc..

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Clinging to Douvres rocks Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,716
    A couple of suggestions you might consider;
    Bodyguard of Lies in two volumes by Anthony Cave Brown, concerning the clandestine efforts during WW II to deceive Hitler, break enemy codes such as Enigma and protect the details of D-Day.
    Bodyguard of Lies focuses primarily on the British efforts, going into detail on the various intelligence departments, their roles, operations. Examples include: LCS, MI-6, Ultra, SLU’s, operation “Flash”, “Plan Jael”, breaking the Enigma code.
    I completed Volume I and found it to be a fascinating read.
    Looking forward to Volume II

    A quote by Churchill at the introduction- "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies"

    Another book is A Race on the Edge of Time by David E. Fisher, regarding the development and use of radar in WW II. The book has been a part of my parent’s library for years. It now resides in my library, but have yet to read it. However, given the fact the sovereignty of Britain owed much to its invisible shield, I’m confident the book will include the roles of British intelligence toward radar’s development and use.
    "Mongo only pawn in game of life" - Mongo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKRma7PDW10

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    I recently read A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré. It's set in Bonn soon after WWII, against a background of concern that former Nazis were returning to positions of power in West Germany. As the Nazis didn't regain power I guess this could be thought of as a success...

  4. #4
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    3,620
    Dare I say James Bond?

  5. #5
    Registered User WyattGwyon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Adirondacks
    Posts
    358
    John Banville's The Untouchable is brilliant. Real characters and events, but fictionalized in the everyday details and dialogue. This one is in the great debacle category.

    Agent Zigzag by Ben MacIntyre. A true story that reads like fiction.
    This one is in the amazing triumph category.

  6. #6
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Tweet @ScherLitNet
    Posts
    23,903
    The Spy Who Came in from The Cold by le Carre.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  7. #7
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    Dare I say James Bond?
    Only if you believe in fairytales.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  8. #8
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    I recently read A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré. It's set in Bonn soon after WWII, against a background of concern that former Nazis were returning to positions of power in West Germany. As the Nazis didn't regain power I guess this could be thought of as a success...
    I also read A Small Town in Germany when it was published and thought it very evocative of Bonn, a town that I had visited on account of it being Beethoven's birthplace. However, the neo-nazis have not gone away, to the extent that only four days ago, some German Federal politicians proposed that the German Constitutional Court ban the National Democratic Party (NPD) for its far-right activities.
    Last edited by Emil Miller; 12-11-2012 at 05:51 AM.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  9. #9
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Reading, England
    Posts
    2,281
    There must be loads. If you are talking non-fiction then Spy Catcher by Peter Wright springs to mind. Not that I've read it, but it caused a huge commotion when it was published in the 80s (I think it was then because Thatcher was after his blood). I seem to remember a recent head of MI5 wrote her memoirs, although I suppose they are not as revealing. I see from Wikipedia it was Eliza Manningham-Buller, which sounds like a very British Intelligence sort of name. As is Stella Remington, another head of MI5 who also wrote her memoirs. She has written several other books, I see.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  10. #10
    Registered User hannah_arendt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Zgierz, Poland
    Posts
    793
    Blog Entries
    8
    Maybe John le Carre or Chris Ryan?

  11. #11
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    6,499
    Ashenden by WS Maugham, based on his experiences as a spy during WWI, is the real thing from a writer's viewpoint.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  12. #12
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    4,871
    Blog Entries
    29
    Ace of Spies by Robin Bruce Lockheart.

    A factual - ish account of Sydney Reilly, spy and adventurer, who worked for various intellegence departments around the time of WW1.

    There was a TV mini series Called "Reilly-Ace of Spies" starring Sam Neil in the 80's based on his adventures.
    ay up

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    39
    I'm not too keen on spy novels, but I thought Graham Greene's The Human Factor was excellent.

  14. #14
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    next door to the lady in the vinegar bottle
    Posts
    5,030
    Blog Entries
    72
    I heard about the shortest book in the world. It's called "American Intelligence."

    Case in point ^: I posted that joke when I missed the word
    "agencies" in the title of the original thread. Not only that,yours fooly reversed the punch line. So much for "intelligence," huh? George Smiley's got nothing to worry about from the likes o' me.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 12-14-2012 at 05:29 PM.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,093
    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    I also read A Small Town in Germany when it was published and thought it very evocative of Bonn, a town that I had visited on account of it being Beethoven's birthplace. However, the neo-nazis have not gone away, to the extent that only four days ago, some German Federal politicians proposed that the German Constitutional Court ban the National Democratic Party (NPD) for its far-right activities.
    I thought it drew a believable picture of Bonn, nice to hear it worked for someone who has been there. One wouldn't expect the neo-Nazis to disappear completely, surely, but are they a serious force in Germany? They seem stronger in Greece and France these days. The vicious attack on Tottenham fans in Italy was also a worrying event. If the recession turns into a serious long term depression I suspect these parties may gain more followers, but, Germany looks less likely than most to suffer greatly from the economic down turn, this time.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Looks vs Intelligence
    By Emil Miller in forum Serious Discussions
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: 11-22-2011, 07:36 AM
  2. Canadian/American CDs in Britain
    By TEND in forum General Chat
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-18-2008, 03:55 PM
  3. public speaking tour of britain
    By alan barker in forum Wilde, Oscar
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-15-2007, 04:43 PM
  4. Intelligence
    By rabid reader in forum Personal Poetry
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-13-2007, 01:02 PM
  5. Great Britain's favourite 21 books
    By Dick Diver in forum General Literature
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-22-2003, 10:04 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •