Keith Jeffery’s fascinating and revealing account draws on a wealth of archival materials never before seen by any outsider to unveil the inner workings of the world’s first spy agency. Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service—or MI6—was born a century ago amid rising fears of foreign military powers, especially Germany. The next 40 years saw MI6 taking an increasingly important—and, until now, largely hidden—role in shaping the history of Europe and the world.
©2010 Keith Jeffery (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
This is not a book that lends itself to the audio format. It is jammed full of facts with little or no real insights into the personalities of the people involved. Having recently read A Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner, I anticipated a book of comparable interest. I found myself drifting off mentally and losing interest. The narrator adds little with his flat, upper crust OxBridge accent. It may well be an excellent source book for scholars, but for the casual reader seeking to understand the development of the British secret service it is far too involved in the minutia. You rapidly loose the forest as the author examines each tree in detail.
I bought this book expecting a history of the often amazing intelligence activities of MI6 during the first half of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, this book pays more attention to political bickering among organizations in the British government about MI6 than it does to what MI6 actually did. The section on the first world war is particularly dull and basically skips everything MI6 did during the war to focus on how MI6 was organized and who controlled it. People wanting to hear interesting stories about espionage should shop elsewhere.
I couldn't get through this book. The story was so confined/small during it's early stages it didn't interest me. In fairness, the full story might build and be of interest. But it's early stages seemed too mundane for me to expend the time to hear the whole story.
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