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Editorial Reviews

Most people's knowledge of the MI6 doesn't extend past a high-tech car chase and a martini. Behind the lore of James Bond, however, Britain's intelligence agency has a history that is just as remarkable and controversial. Performed expertly by veteran actor and narrator Graeme Malcolm, The Art of Betrayal is an in-depth and comprehensive look at Britain's MI6 from its initial beginnings as an amateurish boys club to the highly organized operation it is today. Gordon Corera, the BBC's security correspondent, has put together one of the most thorough and exciting examinations of Britain's secret service, where the real stories rival anything from the life of James Bond.

Publisher's Summary

From Berlin to the Congo, from Moscow to the back streets of London, these are the stories of the agents on the front lines of British intelligence. And the truth is often more remarkable than fiction.

MI6 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 Ian Fleming and John le Carré. Gordon Corera provides a unique and unprecedented insight into this secret world and the reality that lies behind the fiction. He tells the story of how the secret service has changed since the end of the Second World War and, by focusing on the people and the relationships that lie at the heart of espionage, illustrates the danger, the drama, the intrigue, and the moral ambiguities that come 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 organization to its modern, no less controversial, incarnation. Gordon Corera reveals the triumphs and disasters along the way. The grand dramas of the Cold War; the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the September 11, 2001, attacks; and the Iraq War are the backdrops for the individual spies whose stories form the centerpiece of this narrative. And 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 controlled to their sworn enemies. And the truth is often more remarkable than the fiction.

©2012 Gordon Corera (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Good details but lacks thorough research

Pro: Really good coverage about Ms. Park's contribution to the fight and her achievements. Though at first seemed Gordy was simply towing the liberal BBC line. However, he qualifies her well as one of the greats based on facts and original research.

Cons: Gets Penkovsky affair false while miscalculating why the man betrayed his country. Rather than vanity, it was betrayal of him by USSR that led to his ultimate deception. His service to his country and connections were nullified because his father - whom he never knew - fought and died while serving in the White Army.
Simply put, Corera's lack of understanding regards to human aspect of spying really shows.
Perhaps his next book should be about India's love affair with the USSR and now Russia, as both countries are actively targeting U.K. and US via Cyber space. With his cultural connection, he could use his home base in Goa for research and probably deliver a fascinating look behind this amazing yet murky relationship.