Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Defence of the Realm : The Authorized History of MI5

If you happened across this blog maybe 2 years ago, you may have noticed that I was reading a book about the history of MI5 I got as an christmas present in 2009. Great news, I have just finished it. That does not mean that it is the only book I have read since the start of 2010, but this one has been read in fits and starts over that time as the mood took me. Sometimes it would be a few months between moods.

It is a longer book, 1000 pages, but quite easy to read. There is just a lot of it. It covers the period from the formation in 1909 to 2008. Obviously there is much left out for operational reasons as they discuss more recent events. The perspective on the Cambridge five is facinating as is the perspective on the Soviet lack of competance at handling their agents.

Would I read it again? Yes, becaues it more a history book with the thread of the timeline of MI5 used as the context around which other events are discussed and that is what makes it interesting, not what you learn about spooks themselves or their methods which would make a very dull book.

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