Majestic ... astounding in both its narrative excellence and depth of research ... offers a number of illuminating case studies, some of them a bit Anglo-centric ... While written for a general audience, this book should be on the shelf of every student of diplomatic and military history. There are not a lot of books that can be said to change the historiography of events, but this stands as one of them. Any intelligence professional would also benefit from this book, which shows that even in the constantly changing world of espionage, we can still learn a great deal from our ancestors.
To write a world history of intelligence, from the dawn of recorded history to the present day, is a daunting task. To make such a work accurate, comprehensive, digestible and startling, and all in a single volume, is a stellar achievement. But that is what Christopher Andrew has done in The Secret World ... Almost every page includes a sizzling historical titbit ... despite the complexity of the material, the book’s themes are simple ... [a] captivating, insightful and masterly book.
An important corrective ... a genuinely inclusive world history ... this is the first global history of intelligence, remarkable for its scope and delightful for its unpredictable comparisons ... there are important lessons for spymasters everywhere in this brilliant book ... a stunning secret archaeology of a subject that [Andrew] himself helped to create.
A truly magisterial work, a sweeping history that stretches from the biblical era to the present ... a must-read for any person with a serious interest in intelligence. But be forewarned. The more than 800 pages of text require more than a casual scan, but are well worth the investment of serious time ... An outstanding work. Ten cloaks, ten daggers.
Both brilliant in its sweep and near-miraculous in the detail and confident judgments provided on two and a half millennia of spying ... a crowning triumph of one of the most adventurous scholars of the security world.
Scholarly but readable ... Andrew takes a deep, sometimes breathless look at such things as conspiracy theories in early-19th-century Germany, the Enigma codebreakers of Bletchley Park and Winston Churchill’s steadfast support of their costly operation, the role of spying in the American Revolution, and the Israeli intelligence service’s rather flamboyant mastery of assassination ...Fans of Fleming and Furst will delight in this skillfully related true-fact side of the story.