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Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer Hardcover – Jun 1990


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Outlet (Jun. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517014378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517014370
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

The former assistant director of MI5 offers an account of British Intelligence, including his work on the Ring of Five and exposing Soviet espionage and the conspiracy to oust Harold Wilson from the office of Prime Minister in the 1970s. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is above all an entertaining book really. There is something about it that makes you want to re-read it again after you just finished. I gave it four stars cause it starts to plod a bit say two thirds in, although picks up again towards the end. It tells the story of Wright's career, his eventual job as a spy catcher within MI5, some of the more famous spys he dealt with and MI5's relations with MI6, GCHQ the FBI and CIA.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aurora TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I brought this book home I was greeted with comments that it was very dull, but that was from someone who had never read it. I have since suggested to that person that they really should read it. I found it anything but dull, in fact it was completely fascinating and I was hooked. I read it in two days but that was two days of intense reading. Obviously the reader starts the book with knowledge of many of the events, which the author didn't have at the beginning of his investigations, and it is hard not to search for clues in the text and to be impatient to find them. Even though I know that certain suspicions were never proved, but I was hoping that there might be a confession which was quietly "filed" as others had been previously, and was eagerly looking forward to the denouement, but sadly that didn't happen. Not being a novel there was no neat ending to this spy drama but there is much for the author to feel satisfied about as he achieved a great deal in his career.
Although I am convinced that the technology has moved on tremendously since the times told of here, I am amazed at the ingenuity displayed in creating their own technology, even if it wasn't as Heath Robinson as it appeared to be. Whilst the real MI5 and MI6 were a world away from the fantasy spy world of fiction, there really is a lot which is congruent. The creativity involved in obtaining information was extraordinary, yet so was the level of deliberate disinformation and the deflation when the Soviets so often immediately found the listening devices, and removed either the devices, or the desirable conversations from their proximity. The reasons for those things soon become clear however.

I found this book engrossing and informative, I enjoyed reading the whole story behind events which I have only had a sketchy idea of for many years.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that I came to late in the game, but after perusing the first page of "Spycatcher", I couldn't put it down for three days! One of the reasons that I resisted reading it was that various espionage writers have criticized the book for its inaccuracies (So he got the date of Philby's interrogation wrong!). I am actually glad that I read the thesaurus of other espionage books including "The Second Oldest Profession," "The Crown Jewels," "My Silent War," "The Philby Files," "Anthony Blunt," (etc.) first, because by the time I read "Spycatcher," I was thoroughly familiar with the multifarious cast of characters. However, as much as I have enjoyed other espionage books, "Spycatcher" surpasses them in one respect: it gives details of tradecraft--now certainly outdated, but nevertheless fascinating--that are impossible in an account of Philby or Blunt who, by necessity, had to remain silent about the fine particulars of their work in intelligence--whether Soviet or British (In "Crown Jewels," Mr. West gives us a glimpse of such details, which the opening of the KGB archives has made accessible.).

Peter Wright lets the reader peek over his shoulder as he installs--what were at that time--sophisticated bugs behind convincing false doors at midnight. He also gives the reader a good chuckle when such operations go disastrously awry and floors collapse or cables are cut, and the work has to begin all over again.

The author writes a wry account of brazen Russian agents importuning numerous passers-by in various London parks in an effort to "turn" them into Soviet assets, until the police, at Wright's instigation, out-brazen the agents by threatening to arrest them for harassment of British subjects.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those books that I came to late in the game, but after perusing the first page of "Spycatcher", I couldn't put it down for three days! One of the reasons that I resisted reading it was that various espionage writers have criticized the book for its inaccuracies (So he got the date of Philby's interrogation wrong!). I am actually glad that I read the thesaurus of other espionage books including "The Second Oldest Profession," "The Crown Jewels," "My Silent War," "The Philby Files," "Anthony Blunt," (etc.) first, because by the time I read "Spycatcher," I was thoroughly familiar with the multifarious cast of characters. However, as much as I have enjoyed other espionage books, "Spycatcher" surpasses them in one respect: it gives details of tradecraft--now certainly outdated, but nevertheless fascinating--that are impossible in an account of Philby or Blunt who, by necessity, had to remain silent about the fine particulars of their work in intelligence--whether Soviet or British (In "Crown Jewels," Mr. West gives us a glimpse at such details, which the opening of the KGB archives has made accessible.).

Peter Wright lets the reader peek over his shoulder as he installs--what were at that time--sophisticated bugs behind convincing false doors at midnight. He also gives the reader a good chuckle when such operations go disastrously awry and floors collapse or cables are cut, and the work has to begin all over again.

The author writes a wry account of brazen Russian agents importuning numerous passers-by in various London parks in an effort to "turn" them into Soviet assets, until the police, at Wright's instigation, out-brazen the agents by threatening to arrest them for harassment of British subjects.
Read more ›
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