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50 Reviews
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Secret: Stella Rules, Britannia
I purchased this book after hearing an interview with Ms. Rimington on BBC 4, and I must say, I found her engaging both on the radio and in print. She is a talented writer, whose eventful life--from childhood during the blitz, through her days as a diplomatic wife in India; her experiences as an archivist; and her almost accidental career in MI5 [the old-school-tie male...
Published on 14 Mar 2008 by F. S. L'hoir

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too heavily censored for interest
As the book progressed my disappointment grew at the content. I expect autobiographies of high achieving people who think the world revolves around them to fill the first few chapters with decidedly uninteresting personal history - although my theory that achievement arises from hardship or trauma in childhood - was born out. Stella is interesting about the fear and...
Published on 14 Mar 2009 by M. Hillmann


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5.0 out of 5 stars Stella Rimington autobiography, 9 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
I find her writing style excellent. Her descriptions of both people and situations is so explicit and detailled that it is easy to imagine the reality. The coverage of MI5 seems comprehensive, but we would never know. I also read her fictional books and I find that they draw on the experience of her life in the secret services.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating autobiography, 24 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
I am not a great reader of boigraphies, but this one is fascinating giving a glimpse behind the scenes of real people in the Security Service. A compelling read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life and career of an extraordinary woman in MI5, 20 Aug 2012
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D. Boulter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
Excellent - clear and surprisingly candid. I've bought copies to give to friends as I think they'd enjoy it and find it very interesting. Insights and details on a world previously unknown to, or unconsidered by, most of us. It was shame that "the people at the top" had not thought through the impact upon Dame Stella of her name and identity being made public, without careful thought as to how to handle this within the media and wider afield. This lady was, and remains, a trailblazer as an international leader within a "secret" organisation, and subsequently. An inspiring read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A 'first' as an autobiography, 20 July 2012
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This is the autobiography of Stella Rimington - the first female head of MI5. She tells her story frankly and thoughtfully, demonstrating both the circumspection of a senior Civil Servant and the refquent frustrations of being a woman in a man's world. It is illuminating to read how real practical problems sometimes interfered to make the work more difficult, how the work impacted on Stella's marriage and family life, and how extremely important it and its values obviously were to her own sense of making a worthwhile contribution to her country and her sense of achievement. Some passages were a little dry, I have to say, but there were rewarding surprises if one persevered, eg in Stella's description of her early adventures with her husband in India, the character sketches of well-known and less well-known people and her genuine annoyance with the author of 'Spycatcher'. She is a brave lady and her own story deserves to be read. Her novels by contrast are much lighter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stella Rimmington book, 1 July 2012
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This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
I purchased this book for my teenage daughter Who is 14 and curious as to what the real life 'M' actually does day to day for home security and will probably read it too! It makes a fabulous change from all the vampire rubbish aimed at the teenagers these days.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stella Rimington,, 24 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
A really enjoyable read! It has some obvious gaps in information, but that is to be expected. A record of how a woman, apparently against the odds, rose to the highest ranks of the security sevice. There is little about juggling career and family that any woman cannot recognise and think " and I thought I had problems....!"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dame Stella, 21 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
A few weeks ago I attended a talk by Dame Stella Rimington in Cambridge. Unfortunately I got there half an hour late, so missed the beginning which would have covered the things I wanted to know, like how was she recruited in the first place, and did her husband know what she did. I knew there would be a lot of tutting if I asked in the question time at the end, so I decided to buy her autobiography. The suppliers, through Amazon, were AJM Books, who only had one copy left, but sent it
quickly and efficiently, with no problems.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is her story not MI5's!!, 19 Oct 2001
By 
S. Yogendra "Shefaly" (UK) - See all my reviews
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It was interesting to see some disappointed readers who expected her to reveal all about MI5's workings. They probably forgot, it is an autobiography, not an industry commentary. Her life is varied, as wife, mother, top spy and a woman. She has a simple style of story telling and she does it with self-deprecating humour at times. Those of you, who werent lucky enough to hear her speak at the IOD evening talk in Henley, will have to suffice with the impression they form of her from the book - not from having met her in person and not from having heard her views on serious issues. She was one of the champions of openness at MI5 - a key issue facing secret services in a democracy. Her fight with the Govt for her book was in that direction and not as how the Amazon review on top (prior to Synopsis) suggests! All in all I think it is an interesting book, inspiring, always matter-of-fact just as you find her when you meet her in person. You will have to leave behind your juvenile impressions about Bond and your fascination with Le Carre's flights of fancy, if you want to enjoy this book about a bright woman's life, just less ordinary.
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4.0 out of 5 stars an ordinary lady in an extraordinary career, 7 Nov 2014
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My general feeling is one of a down to earth career lady going about the practicalities of working in and running a large organisation as well as dealing with the conflicting difficulties of balancing work and home commitments.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Stella Rimmintgon is a good writer and I have immensely enjoyed her novels but ..., 4 Sep 2014
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Stella Rimmintgon is a good writer and I have immensely enjoyed her novels
but I found this book more about history of the MI5 than her personal life which
I would have preferred to read.
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