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Secret History: Writing the Rise of Britain's Intelligence Services

Autor Simon Ball
en Limba Engleză Paperback – 16 apr 2020
As John le Carré's fictional intelligence men admit, it was the case histories - constructed narratives serving shifting agendas - that shaped the British intelligence machine, rather than their personal experience of secret operations.Secret History demonstrates that a critical scrutiny of internal "after action" assessments of intelligence prepared by British officials provides an invaluable and original perspective on the emergence of British intelligence culture over a period stretching from the First World War to the early Cold War. The historical record reflects personal value judgments about what qualified as effective techniques and organization, and even who could rightfully be called an intelligence officer. The history of intelligence thus became a powerful form of self-reinforcing cultural capital.Shining an intense light on the history of Britain's intelligence organizations, Secret History excavates how contemporary myths, misperceptions, and misunderstandings were captured and how they affected the development of British intelligence and the state.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9780228000822
ISBN-10: 0228000823
Pagini: 272
Ilustrații: 10 photos
Dimensiuni: 152 x 229 x 20 mm
Greutate: 0.41 kg
Editura: McGill-Queen's University Press
Colecția McGill-Queen's University Press

Recenzii

“[Ball’s] approach in describing the duties and sometimes overlapping areas of concern gives the reader a holistic view of the trajectory of civilian and military intelligence agencies. A fascinating example is the establishment of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC), a military prisoner-of-war agency of the Second World War.” H-War

“Secret History is a thought-provoking work for scholars of intelligence history and the British government. Ball cleverly applies concepts of cultural capital to the intersectionality of the Commonwealth’s nation-state, class, administrative, and security politics…. [His] work is excellent.” Journal of Military History

"Secret History expertly offers a 'history of histories,' navigating the world of internally published histories within early British intelligence from the First World War to post Second World War and into the 1950s. It offers a new view into themes of defining intelligence, failure, and the place of intelligence within politics through the lens of agency histories, lending its detailed discussion for the potential of a wide array of coming research." Journal of Intelligence History

"Ball's study as a warning about the dangers of living in the past and assuming intelligence services are mere extensions of an Ian Fleming or John le Carre novel. Recommended, all levels." Choice

"Simon Ball has written an important and highly innovative study of early attempts by British intelligence agencies to reconstruct their own histories. Secret History demonstrates that the 'after action reports' produced by Britain's secret agencies tell us as much about the self-image they wished to project (both to themselves and to the rest of Whitehall) as about their genuine attempts to learn lessons from the past. The 'secret histories' succeeded in establishing the 'triumphant' narrative of the intelligence, providing the essential bases for military and political decision-making that has prevailed in both the popular and academic literature on intelligence ever since. This excellent book provides a new angle from which to understand the British government machine in the era of the two world wars." Peter Jackson, University of Glasgow

Notă biografică

Simon Ball is professor of international history and politics at the University of Leeds.

Descriere

As John le Carré's fictional intelligence men admit, it was the case histories - constructed narratives serving shifting agendas - that shaped the British intelligence machine, rather than their personal experience of secret operations. Secret History demonstrates that a critical scrutiny of internal "after action" assessments of intelligence prepared by British officials provides an invaluable and original perspective on the emergence of British intelligence culture over a period stretching from the First World War to the early Cold War.