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Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War, and the Twilight of Empire
Against the backdrop of the Cold War and the looming specter of Soviet dominance in Britain's dwindling colonial possessions, the imperial intelligence service MI5 played a crucial but virtually unseen role in tipping the scales in favor of America and her allies. Working clandestinely behind the scenes, MI5 operatives helped to prop up newly independent states across the ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published November 14th 2013 by The Overlook Press
(first published March 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 191)
Empire of Secrets plows through virgin territory, summarizing previously undisclosed intelligence files related to Britain's retreat from empire. Starting at the conclusion of World War II and covering the independence of Israel, Malaysia, Ghana, Kenya, Cyprus and Yemen, Calder Walton documents the recurring problems faced by Britain's intelligence agencies through the 1950s and 1960s. First, Britain routinely under-resourced intelligence efforts in its colonies and thus failed to provide decisi ...more
Good book, within its limitations. Should have been subtitled, "The role of MI5 in British Decolonization," as there was little Cold War info beyond fears that nationalist leaders were Communist sympathizers. The book is also limited by the available sources, which the author frequently notes. Sometimes the author uses the limited available info in interesting ways, other times, he makes an analytic leap too far ( The British warned the French in 1956 that their codes were insecure, therefore th ...more
I was really excited to pick this book up, and I found the experience underwhelming. Overall, it is interesting material, but it isn't presented in a compelling way. I found myself dreading picking the book back up to read it. Unimpressed.