Customer Reviews


41 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


28 of 30 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

versus
21 of 21 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


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read - not much given away, 8 Jan 2002
I awaited this book but was a little disappointed. I don't know whether it was to do with the editing or Mrs Rimington's writing style but for an autobiography, interesting personal details were omitted.
I finished the book feeling I hadn't learnt a huge amount of the woman behind the job. Whether it is that Mrs Rimington is this emotionless in reality or the security measures taken to edit removed the human aspect, I don;t know but it is still worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars briulliant book, 8 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
Arrived on time, brilliant book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars i love it., 7 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
i am enthralled. i love it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Couldn't put it down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 13 Jan 2014
This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
I did dutifully read this in its entirety but it didn't improve.
If you want to read about a woman bemoaning life as a female, how she constantly moved house and the decorating involved, how she farmed her children out to nannies and how she seemed finally to be promoted merely because she was a woman then this is the book for you.

I did not expect to have state secrets revealed but if you want to know anything about the workings of MI5 then strike this one off your list.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars open secret, 6 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
Amazing picture of the times and our - womans way of reacting when we were young! Absolutly facinating woman and her life and times.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another very interesting read., 12 July 2010
This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
The title of the book stimulated me sufficiently to want to read it. I was not disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and refreshingly conspiracy-free, 15 May 2010
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
A well written and very interesting insider's account of working at all levels in the Security Service during a period of huge change within and outside the Service. The author is clearly a well-balanced and rational individual and strikes what seems to me to be the right balance between the need for secrecy and the drive for openness and transparency. This convinces rather more than either conspiracy theories that MI5 is spying on absolutely everyone and everything, or that (a la Chapman Pincher) it has been virtually a wholly compromised tool of the KGB. More books like this from leading figures in the public sector would also help in breaking down misconceptions of the role of public services held by both some of the public themselves and in particular by the media.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Woman's Hour Meets James Bond?, 28 May 2009
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are, broadly, two types of "secret state" or intelligence and security memoir. The first type contains lots of details of actual operations and of the workings of their individual's service; the second contains little about the above matters and indeed little at all. This memoir fits firmly into the second category and follows, I suppose, such as the disappointing and mendaciously marketed Cloak Without Dagger by Sir Percy Sillitoe (head of MI5 in the immediate postwar era), in which about one opaque page is devoted to his organization and work, the rest being a story of his domestic life and career in the Sheffield Police.

Here we have Stella, a girl from modest circumstances, who joins the archives section of Worcestershire Council and then marries her childhood friend who in turn became a diplomat. In India, Stella does work for MI5 as a part-time job in the High Commission's security section, later becoming an office-bound assistant in London before breaking "free" to become an operational officer (one of the first in MI5 --- I believe that the very first, also at first backup staff, was one Jane Archer) and, in time, Director-General. We learn much about her problems with nannies and the like, little about anything interesting in respect of MI5.

Stella Rimington keeps her ideological or political opinions firmly under wraps but I thought I detected a kind of anti-British Empire aspect to her and, a fortiori, a strong feministic viewpoint (she does not really disguise that aspect of her mentality); she and her husband eventually divorce.

It is hard for me to see how one can do her job without at least some ideological or philosophical outlook (however much suppressed in the interests of fairness or constitutionality), but we learn nothing of that. Is she Marxist-Leninist? No! But what about religious? What IS her ultimate loyalty, beyond the unsatisfying one of "defending the realm"? Fine so long as the Realm is more or less as expected, but what if it turned to some extremist direction (as some think it has, under Blair-Brown)? Does she still go on "defending"? No clue.

And who are the "subversives and traitors" MI5 have been tracking for so many decades? Surely the British state has been weakened by lack of clear ideology and also (connectedly) by the imposition upon the indigenous majority of unwanted and large minority populations. The people behind that policy, the multiculturalists, are to my mind anyway the real "subversives" or "traitors" in the lay sense, not spies stealing plans or giving away their counterparts in, say, Moscow.

She does seem to hate "whistleblowers" every bit as much as (did) the KGB and GRU. They "must" have something wrong with them, thinks Stella (she cites the Shayler (MI5) and Tomlinson (MI6) cases (since this book came out, her ex-employee, Shayler, has proclaimed himself the Messiah, so maybe that is one point to Stella lol!). And she dismisses Bettaney, but, to my mind and without defending his actions as such, he had a point about evening up the superpower balance: look at the world now...one superpower (though Russia may revive under another ideology in time) and that one existing superpower, the USA, totally under the control of the Jewish-Zionist lobby...

I cannot imagine why MI5 and the remains of the "Establishment" took against Stella Rimington for this book. If anything, as it is published, it reveals little, almost nothing (to me, anyway) and this book, like the SAS books of Andy McNab (which tend to portray the SAS as the repository of most of the intelligent active people in the world and as virtually the deciders of UK strategy!), in fact boosts MI5 beyond its just desserts!

Stella Rimington is now a bestselling author of cheap thrillers and for some reason was taken on as non-executive director of both British Gas AND Marks and Spencer, she says because of her management experience (really? looking at the dictatorial management structure of MI5 that seems highly unlikely). Seems more like the "old boys' --and now girls'-- act" to me.

This book is worth reading once.

ADDENDUM August 2010: I once owned a signed copy of this book. The signature showed a strong will and a logical mind, which perhaps corroborates the view of those of her subordinates who, I read somewhere, used to call her "Rimington Steele".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars avoid, 18 Nov 2007
This review is from: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Paperback)
I would recommend you purchase 'Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers' instead for a more realistic and earthy view of MI5.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5
6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews