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

av Nigel West

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802262,254 (4.33)1
The enigmatic title, MI 5, stands in the public mind for the dark world of counter-intelligence. Its object is to combat espionage, sabotage & subversion directed against the United Kingdom. This traces the history of MI 5 & focuses on its role in W.W. II. Laced with true anecodotes, this book is based on interviews of Nazi & Soviet agents, counter-intelligence officers, case officers & more than a dozen of the double agents… (mer)
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Mi5 British Security Service Operations 1909-1945

Spies are nothing new, the monarchies of Europe have had them for centuries, bring information of varying importance to their masters. Like today, some of that information will be on the money, there will be other times they are passing on nothing more than fake news and information.

Famed intelligence expert, Nigel West has written what has to be one of the best histories of the early years of Mi5. Drawing on source material and former spies (spooks), what we get is an excellent view of what the service was and is about. Just reading where West gained some of his source material is like a who’s who of people and places that have used the service in the past.

Mi5 is the service that is the most misunderstood in the country, a branch of the government we think we know, but actually have no idea about. Many Britons have an idea mainly raised from fiction and tv about what they think Mi5 does. Quite simple West reminds us that Mi5’s job is counter-intelligence and espionage to protect the realm from attacks up on the country.

This is one of best histories of Mi5 that I have read in recent years, accurate, informative and something new on every page. While this book covers the years 1909 until 1945, important formative years, it excels in the work before and during World War Two.

I found the chapter on Aliens the Enemy within, fascinating as this is dealing directly with what Mi5 is about. Keeping the nation safe, so we can sleep safely at night. As cliched as it sounds does not make it wrong.

This is an excellent history from which we learn about one of the most secretive arms of the government. If you want to know about how intelligence works then this book is an absolute must. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Sep 29, 2019 |
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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The enigmatic title, MI 5, stands in the public mind for the dark world of counter-intelligence. Its object is to combat espionage, sabotage & subversion directed against the United Kingdom. This traces the history of MI 5 & focuses on its role in W.W. II. Laced with true anecodotes, this book is based on interviews of Nazi & Soviet agents, counter-intelligence officers, case officers & more than a dozen of the double agents

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