MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service

MI6: Life and Death in the British Secret Service

Paperback

By (author) Gordon Corera

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  • Publisher: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 34mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 3 October 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0753828332
  • ISBN 13: 9780753828335
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, ports.
  • Sales rank: 164,186

Product description

Published in hardback as THE ART OF BETRAYAL and fully updated for the paperback edition. The British Secret Service has been cloaked in secrecy and shrouded in myth since it was created a hundred years ago. Our understanding of what it is to be a spy has been largely defined by the fictional worlds of James Bond and John le Carre. THE ART OF BETRAYAL provides a unique and unprecedented insight into this secret world and the reality that lies behind the fiction. It tells the story of how the secret service has changed since the end of World War II and by focusing on the people and the relationships that lie at the heart of espionage, revealing the danger, the drama, the intrigue, the moral ambiguities and the occasional comedy that comes with working for British intelligence. From the defining period of the early Cold War through to the modern day, MI6 has undergone a dramatic transformation from a gung-ho, amateurish organisation to its modern, no less controversial, incarnation. Gordon Corera reveals the triumphs and disasters along the way. The grand dramas of the Cold War and after - the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 11 September 2001 attacks and the Iraq war - are the backdrop for the human stories of the individual spies whose stories form the centrepiece of the narrative. But some of the individuals featured here, in turn, helped shape the course of those events. Corera draws on the first-hand accounts of those who have spied, lied and in some cases nearly died in service of the state. They range from the spymasters to the agents they ran to their sworn enemies. Many of these accounts are based on exclusive interviews and access. From Afghanistan to the Congo, from Moscow to the back streets of London, these are the voices of those who have worked on the front line of Britain's secret wars. And the truth is often more remarkable than the fiction.

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Author information

Gordon Corera is a Security Correspondent for BBC News. In that role, he covers the work of Britain's intelligence agencies. His documentary series 'MI6: A century in the Shadows' was broadcast on Radio 4 in the summer of 2009. His series 'The Real Spooks' on MI5 was broadcast in December 2007. He is the author of SHOPPING FOR BOMBS on the rise and fall of the Pakistani nuclear arms salesman AQ Khan. He was educated at Oxford and Harvard Universities and joined the BBC in 1997. https://twitter.com/gordoncorera

Review quote

His analysis is shrewd, his judgement sound...(the book's) strength is to present stories of the secret service's successes and failures within the political and strategic context of the times. -- Adam Sisman THE SUNDAY TIMES THE ART OF BETRAYAL tells the history of MI6 in the words of real spies. -- THE MAIL ON SUNDAY A refreshing...(and) compelling read. -- Christopher Silvester THE DAILY EXPRESS Corera, the BBC's security correspondent, has enjoyed privileged access to key spy players from the past few decades and, writing in an engaging style, he picks up the story of the MI6 at the point where the "official" history grinds to a halt after the Second World War. -- Annie Machon THE SUNDAY EXPRESS As a good journalist and a reader of spy novels, Corera presents his material as fast-paced stories, from the covert diplomacy of the Cold War to recent and current security concerns in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and he humanises the grand dramas of a duplicitous trade. -- Iain Finlayson THE TIMES Highly readable and well-researched account of the Service...Let's hope the current generation of spooks has learnt from past mistakes. -- Con Coughlin THE DAILY TELEGRAPH Corera provides a unique insight into how British intelligence has changed since the Second World War and how our spymasters reacted to major crises such as the September 11 attacks and the Iraq war. A fascinating read. THE PEOPLE Superb new history of British intelligence THE EVENING STANDARD The best post-1949 account of British intelligence I have read...this is as good as it gets. And it's a good read. THE SPECTATOR This book will intrigue anyone with a taste for adventure and an interest in the moral dilemmas of loyalty and disloyalty. COUNTRY LIFE His readable, breezy book's strength is to present the service's successes and failures within the political context of the times. -- Adam Sisman THE SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE BBC security correspondant Gordon Corera's illuminating postwar history of Britain's secret intelligence services is told with the brio of a thriller and a good deal more clarity. THE FINANCIAL TIMES An absorbing and often exhilarating account. THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST This fast-moving account by the BBC's Security Correspondent reveals that the true story of Britain's overseas intelligence service is as gripping as any novel... Corera works wonders in untangling the murky, convoluted doings of the organisation through the decades. THE INDEPENDENT