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M: MI5's First Spymaster Paperback – 15 Oct 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; paperback / softback edition (15 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752439499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752439495
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 739,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Hardback edition published in Autumn 2004 generated a huge amount of publicity: Half-page news story with 3 pictures in INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY; Double-page spread in THE DAILY EXPRESS and THE SUNDAY TIMES (Irish edition); Double-page feature written by author in HISTORY TODAY; 10 full page or double-page features in the British regional press; Book discussed on the MICHAEL PARKINSON RADIO SHOW and BREAKFAST WITH FROST. Received fantastic reviews also from bestselling authors: 'Well-researched, penetrating and engagingly written... an important and enjoyable addition to the growing genre of serious spook-history' ANDREW ROBERTS, author of Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership; 'A brilliantly researched biography of the real "M" - a far more hands-on character than 007's boss' DAME STELLA RIMINGTON, Former Director-General Of MI5 and author of At Risk. More praise: 'Compelling and authoritative... M was the most elusive and fascinating figure in the British Secret Service' LORD ROBERTSON, former Secretary-General of NATO; 'Provides much new and often colourful material' CHRISTOPHER M. ANDREW, author of The Mitrokin Archive. Widely reviewed and critically acclaimed: 'Ground-breaking' THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH; 'The secret life of the Victorian spymaster for became the original M' THE DAILY EXPRESS; 'One of the great espionage mysteries has finally been solved' THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY. Reviews in the paperback review sections of national daily and Sunday newspapers, weeklies, and history magazines to include The Times, THES, BBC History Magazine and The Sunday Telegraph.

About the Author

Andrew Cook worked for many years as a foreign affairs and defence specialist and the contacts he made enabled him to navigate and gain access to classified intelligence services archives. He is only the fifth historian to be given special permission under the 1992 'Waldegrave Initiative' by the Cabinet Office to examine closed MI6 documents that will never be released. He is author of critically acclaimed Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sidney Reilly ('Both a compelling narrative and a myth-shattering tour de force' Simon Sebag Montefiore; 'The absolute last word on the subject' Nigel West), To Kill Rasputin and Prince Eddy, all published by Tempus. He is a regular contributor on espionage history to The Guardian, The Times and History Today. He lives in Bedfordshire.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By John Hopper TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
I found this book a bit disappointing. While it purports to be a biography of the first M in the secret services, William Melville, he didn't feature hardly for much of the book, coming across, appropriately enough, as a shadowy figure. We learn about his humble background in Ireland and his moving to England, his early career as a bobby on the beat in South London arresting burglars and embezzlers, then his rise as a senior detective until his ostensible retirement in 1903 when he became involved in secret work, retiring from that in 1917 from ill health, and dying soon afterwards.

This is really much more a history of late 19th century policing, an era of great change, and of security threats in the 1870s to 1900s, the initial period dominated by Fenians and anarchists, then later by German spies, though most of these were rather pathetic figures and much of the spy fever was imaginary. What struck me was how contemporary some of this felt: bombs on the London underground in 1883 and the debates in Parliament, the press and society about acceptable boundaries between curtailing liberties and guaranteeing security.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By keith34@btinternet.com on 21 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I persevered through to the end! It is a book for those who like facts. The biggest frustration is the continual footnotes which are at the back of the book. This makes accessing them a tad difficult on the Kindle. It is however a fascinating insight into Policing in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By x on 18 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Massive amount of detail, often about all sorts of people, detracts from the main character. I found myself jumping from one chapter to the next, simply to avoid the next 15 pages that didn't tell me anything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Major N. A. Hallidie on 13 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is really for the historian rather than James Bond fans. It is rather stodgy and at times difficult to follow the various characters or leaps in time. For all that, it is a worthwhile read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By melvinjbates on 2 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well written and researched book but I would have liked to get to know more about the man himself
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I tried to persever with this but had to knock it on the head and filed it away. Maybe I would have dealt better with it as a paper book rather than as an e version. Anyway, might come back to it another time and see if I 'succeed' in fininshing it, mind you life it is too short to make yourself read a book!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book as a follow on to many other books based on the spy's from the war. It seemed a natural thing to read and I wasn't disappointed. I found that it was easy to pick up and put down and it was full of interesting details and facts that can be related to other stories from the many documentaries on related subjects. Well worth the read.
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By Oldsparky on 4 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Was not sure if this was going to be up my street but am really glad to have found and read it, informative and interesting.
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