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Smear!: Wilson and the Secret State Paperback – 22 Oct 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (22 Oct. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586217134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586217139
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 638,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Stephen Dorril has worked on ‘Lobster’, the journal devoted to the activities of the intelligence agencies. He is the author of ‘Smear’ and a book about MI5, ‘The Silent Conspiracy’, and with Anthony Summers, ‘Honey Trap’, about the Profumo affair.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Moorsman on 22 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a valuable and unusual tour of the secret history behind the last 50 years of British government. At its heart is the tale of Harold Wilson, an honest and dedicated moderate socialist whose 1964 election as Prime Minister rattled the cages of some powerful beasts. It was the Cold War. Britain's secret services were reeling from disclosures of Soviet penetration and were keen to prove their purity to the US. Wilson's election had unexpectedly bypassed the established crown prince in the Labour Party, who was a CIA collaborator. Wilson looked popular and set to roll forward the post-war Welfare State. A fantastical theory got cooked up between MI5, MI6 and the CIA that Wilson was a Soviet agent who must be driven from power. This book is the story of their campaign over the next 10 years to achieve this.

It was a campaign instigated and intermittently directed by MI5, MI6 and CIA but, once in motion, largely waged by their secret helpers in Parliament and the press, and within networks of right-wing extremists - some with Forces links. An awful lot of what is described in this book is simply organised smear stories and press harassment. But twice at least serious practical planning for a coup does seem to have occurred. Remember how during the Falklands War some Cunard liners were requisitioned as troop carriers? Well, in 1975 Cunard got a similar official request for use of the QE2 as a floating prison for Wilson and his ministers in the event of a coup (p 285).

This book covers a vast swathe of recent history - Vietnam, Rhodesia, the early miner's strikes, Northern Ireland, the Chilean coup, the `private armies' plotting to rescue Britain in the early seventies, the `Spycatcher' affair.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A bit dated nowadays, but provides a useful, if somewhat one-sided view of a period when politics had much more of a hold on the public imagination than is currently the case.

As an active AEU senior shop steward between 1972 and 1978, I can personally vouch for the accuracy of allegations about extremist infiltration of the Trade Unions, albeit the Tory press overstated the facts.

Having recently reread 'Spycatcher' the thought did cross my mind that 'Smear' was intended to discredit Peter Wright.
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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Bourne on 22 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I found a wealth of information on the underhand nature of politics which is not eschewed by the socilaist/communists/fabians amongst us as one might expect of an academic group who swear that they are intent on the welfare of their fellow men. They have nothing in common with the common man. They may, on the face of it, rant against privileges of wealth and birth but are all to quick to enter into those privilege circles when the opportunity is offered them. There is little reference to the influence of the Fabian Society on the Labour Party policies during the period covered by the book but of which there have been ample evidence over the 20th.Century. Yet many of those mentioned held high positions in that Society. However this is invariably the case in histories of the Labout party in office.

The book is well written and it provides many insights into the background of the period. I understand that it was withdrawn shortly after publication but I do not know at whose behest.
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Amazon.com: 1 review
Superb 21 Jun. 2013
By Martin Cannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book explaining how the madness of James Jesus Angleton, a top American spy, affected the British secret service.
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