Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century

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9780140106558: Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century

In 1909, the business of spying was hoisted from the domain of a few European descendents to the highest reaches of British government with the formation of Britain's SIS. Acting in response to a totally fraudulent fear--the German spy scare that preceded World War I--the British soon had a lot of company as Germany, Russia, France, and other powers large and small joined the mad rush toward information and espionage. Not far behind came the biggest of them all, first with the OSS and then with the CIA, fueled by paranoia and by more money than any new bureaucracy had ever seen. "Bigger than State by '48," was the CIA's slogan on its founding in 1947. And it was.

Now intelligence is a very big business with a very rich history, told here with a depth and verve never before brought to the subject, by a master historian. All of the legends and their immensely readable stories and here--Sorge, Donovan, Philby, Mata Hari, Golitsyn, Angleton, Penkovsky--and behind them a large question: did any act of these spies and their masters make any difference at all in the course of history?

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"If Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher and Mitterand only manage one book this year, they could do a lot worse than pick up Phillip Knightley's." -- John le Carre

" If Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher and Mitterand only manage one book this year, they could do a lot worse than pick up Phillip Knightley' s." -- John le Carre

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