Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
Id like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Secret Wars: One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 [Paperback]

Gordon Thomas
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  

Book Description

16 Feb 2010

Gordon Thomas has established himself as a leading expert on the intelligence community. He returns here on the one hundredth anniversaries of Britain’s Security and Secret Intelligence Services to provide the definitive history of the famed MI5 and MI6.

These agencies rank as two of the oldest and most powerful in the world, and Thomas’s wide-sweeping history chronicles a century of both triumphs and failures.  He recounts the roles that British intelligence played in the Allied victory in World War II; the postwar treachery of Great Britain’s own agents; the defection of Soviet agents and the intricate process of “handling” them; the often frigid relationship that both agencies have had with the CIA, European spy services, and the Mossad; the cooperation between the British and Americans in the search for Osama bin Laden; and the ways in which MI5 and MI6 have fought biological warfare espionage and space terrorism.

All told, this is the story of two agencies led by men---and women---who are enigmatic, eccentric, and controversial, and who ruthlessly control their spies. Based on prodigious research and interviews with significant players from inside the British intelligence community, this is a rich and even delicious history packed with intrigue and information that only the author could have attained.


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; Reprint edition (16 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312603525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312603526
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,690,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

GORDON THOMAS is a bestselling author of forty books published worldwide, including many on the international intelligence community. His awards include the Citizens Commission for Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award for Investigative Journalism, the Mark Twain Society Award for Reporting Excellence, and an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Investigation. He lives in London. You can visit him online at www.gordonthomas-author.com.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete Rubbish 3 July 2009
Inside British Intelligence is described by its publisher as "the definitive and up-to-date history of two of the oldest and most powerful secret services in the world" though it has no source notes, has very little on M15 and M16 before 1990 - and what there is is unfamiliar only because it is often inaccurate - and is largely devoted to the activities of Mossad and CIA .

There is no mention of important British intelligence episodes such as the Zinoviev letter which influenced the outcome of the 1924 election, the breaking of Enigma, the Venlo incident where two SIS officers were captured at the outbreak of war, the Profumo Affair, Buster Crabb, the running of Penkovsky and his role in the Cuban missile crisis and the intelligence services role in Empire. All very curious.

Mr Thomas a self-styled "leading expert on the intelligence community" knows a great deal about what people wore (suits "tailored by Gieves & Hawkes, a hand-sewn shirt with double cuffs and his Travellers Club tie" etc), what they said, thought, ate and drank at particular moments but is less certain in other areas: sometimes Century House is the headquarters of M15 (p.208 and 255) and sometimes correctly M16 (p.286); sometimes Sir Christopher Curwen is head of M15 (p.216)and sometimes rightly M16 (p.195); Vernon Kell is head of MI6(p.421) and sometimes accurately M15(p.78); the M15 chiefs Stella Rimington and Patrick Walker also mysteriously work for M16 (p.177 and p.255). Maybe Mr Thomas knows something we don't?
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read 14 Aug 2011
This has to be the most poorly edited book I've ever read. It's structure is all over the place - jumping around, introducing endless lists of names who appear and then disappear never to be mentioned again, spanning continents decades and different agencies all within a few pages. It also has large chunks of the book devoted to topics nothing to do with the history of MI5 or MI6 - there's chapters worth of material on the CIA, sometimes with tenuous links to the UK, and often with no obvious reason for inclusion.

The IRA mainland bombing campaign (surely a main area of MI5 operation?) are largely passed over. The 7-7 bombings are afforded half a sentence - despite being arguably the most significant attack on mainland Britain since the war, and involving both MI5 and MI6 to a great extent. There is also no mention of extra-ordinary rendition and secret service complicity in torture. There is however an entire chapter focused on 9-11 and another on the US embassy bombings - which gives the impression (pervasive throughout the book) that this has been written by an expert on US intelligence, and everything has to be seen through the prism of America and relations to the CIA.

There is also a ridiculous level of detail at times - we learn that spy chief Rimington changed her contraceptive in the 1970s because she was suffering from blotchy skin - and are reassured that this problem then cleared up. This is not linked to anything else, it's just dropped in their for no reason. Who cares? And yet this is afforded more analysis than the 7-7 bombings!

It's quite an achievement to take a fascinating subject, with fascinating stories and create such a poor book. I've given it 3 stars because buried amongst the dross are some really interesting tales and insights - it's simply that you have to work hard to find them.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely weak structure 11 May 2011
By Matt D.
This book is extremely difficult to read due to the absolute lack of structure: the author relentlessly jumps back and forth in the space of just a few sentences. As a reader you're constantly asking yourself: what am I reading and where does this fit into the current chapter / overall content of the book. Provided the author knows what he's talking about (some reviewers debate this) he definitely doesn't know how to communicate it to the reader. Not recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Secret Wars - The Truth 13 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author's use of the phrase "One Hundred Years of British Intelligence - Inside MI5 andMI6" is totally misleading.
He has selected the parts of this history that he thinks will sell the book, rather than produce a comprehensive
history of the Intelligence Services. That the book is produced for the American Market is evident, in that there
are more pages dedicated to US Security matters than to eg Sir Mansfield Cummings, the first head of SIS. Indeed
there are more pages devoted to the totally disgraced ex MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson, than to Sir Mansfield

A disappointing book on a subject which could and should have produced so much more.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category