Customer Reviews


21 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive look at UK security since the war.
Many people will have read this volume in its previous incarnation but as Mr Hennessy has added a significant amount of more up to date information since first publication, this is well worth getting even if you fall in that camp. If you haven't read this before it is obviously even more worth getting as it gives a detailed acount of British security since the second...
Published on 12 July 2010 by Big Jim

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as readable as billed but very well researched
You probably won't find a better researched paperback on this subject. It is heavy going at times and won't really engage the layman, but give it time and you will feel chilled to the bone; the stark reality of the decisions and plans made behind closed doors during the second half of the 20th century surrounding Nuclear War is dread incarnate.
Published 20 months ago by Valhalla


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very comprehensive look at UK security since the war., 12 July 2010
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
Many people will have read this volume in its previous incarnation but as Mr Hennessy has added a significant amount of more up to date information since first publication, this is well worth getting even if you fall in that camp. If you haven't read this before it is obviously even more worth getting as it gives a detailed acount of British security since the second world war, with the new information adding to that of the cold war years. It chronicles many of the successes and failures, some of the humerous anecdotes and horror stories and generally much of the minutiae that goes into securing the security of the realm. For example were you aware that the prime minister of the day has to hand write instructions of when to "push the button" for our nuclear submarines which are held on board each craft. Apparently there is still at least one ship still at sea with instructions from Gordon Brown, that David Cameron will have to update on its arrival back in the UK!
What could have been a dull trawl through the archives is brought to life by the authors pithy style which makes this an enthralling and very interesting read
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, 17 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
This is a fascinating account of the preparations for nuclear war and defense in the years following the second world war. It relies heavily on declassified documents, and the lengthy extracts from these could perhaps be a bit shorter. A knowledge of the "spy scandals" is assumed, and brief explanations of these maybe could have been included for younger readers who do not remember these events.I have had the privilege of hearing Peter Hennessy lecture, and his writing is as interesting as his talks.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Duck & Cover, 26 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
4 stars for this; a good read and very informative. For those of us who grew up post war ; nuclear war was a very real threat and we were well aware that our cities could have been dissolved in a mushroom cloud at the whim of a Communist dictator or a misguided submarine commander. This book reveals what was going on behind the scenes and it's shocking to learn just HOW close we became to a nuclear excahnge ... be it flocks of geese crossing into Soviet air space and confusing their radar to Cuba and the perceived threat to the Soviet Union from NATO's Turkish missile bases. It's good to know that we were well prepared and just how it was done. And we learn of abandoned backup arrangements which have ( presumably ) been replaced by more modern sites and equipment. FOr the historian and the baby boomer generation ... An intriguing read !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What every thinking voter should bear in mind when supporting a leader, 30 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
This is a fascinating, authoritative insight into what motivated our leaders and their advisers especially with regard to nuclear weapons. Very, very scary in places. Sometimes driven by a desire o punch above our weight, to sit at the top table on equal terms with USA & USSR. This slowly gives way to reality, and if we didn't have 'The Bomb' we certainly would not develop it.
I have not yet finished this wonderful book, but even what I have read will influence my political thinking for years to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 16 Dec 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
Having read the earlier version of 'The Secret State', I was eager to discover what the Prof had uncovered and included in this version. I am THOROUGHLY pleased with this work, very detailed, and humbling in parts. Again, a large proportion of the book is dedicated to the Cold War, when in fact I was interested in present situations, but, as the Prof works with the information released under law, which are sensitive, the main body is understandably, but slightly, dated, but still applicable. I was happy to see sections dedicated to the very purpose I purchased this book. Five star.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret State Preparing for the Worst 1945-2010 Peter Hennessy, 8 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
This book was a very pleasant surprise, although full of informative cold war history covering a vast timeline it is very readable - primarily due to style it has been written in. The book which was previously published around 2001 has been re-published with more up to date information as it has become readily available through the declassification of Government documents. The book deals with the security of Britain and the challenges faced by those in power of how to best practice 'the Defence of the Realm' (whether by Cold War Bomber or contemporary terrorist). The book primarily concentrates on the Cold War and the development, planning and potential deployment phases of atomic weapons during World War Two up to current day, from their development phase and work with the Americans and then the going it alone of Britain in developing her own arsenal of atomic weapons as a deterrent during the coldest and warmest days of the Cold War. The book is uncompromising in its research and detail and takes you from the unimaginable decisions that 'may' needed to have been taken and encompasses a few anecdotes to lighten the mood. A very interesting and readable book on what was and is still is for many a contentious and vastly debated topic.

The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as readable as billed but very well researched, 1 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
You probably won't find a better researched paperback on this subject. It is heavy going at times and won't really engage the layman, but give it time and you will feel chilled to the bone; the stark reality of the decisions and plans made behind closed doors during the second half of the 20th century surrounding Nuclear War is dread incarnate.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Hennessy's latest publishing triumph, 21 Sep 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
This book is so much more than a revision of a standard work. The latest released official files have given this, the finest commentator on our State and its governance in defence and intellingence matters, further opportunity for insights, deductions and important conclusions. This is a work of brilliant as well as assiduous scholarship; the work is meticulously footnoted; it is readably and enjoyably written; it is well and convincingly argued, by one who knows his period and subjects comprehensively, and knows the people involved at least as well as they know themselves: this is contemporary history at its best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A little repetitive & slow, 8 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
I usually love books like this. I found this a slow read that didn't grab my attention. Some bits interesting...some bits boring. Took too long going through the 50's - 70's before rushing through the 80's Perhaps I've just read all of that before and if you haven't then maybe it'll be a rivetting read!?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and well-written insight, 3 Mar 2012
By 
Dr. S. Gouldsworthy "Goldie" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 (Paperback)
For someone interested in the history of how the British government planned for the unthinkable scenario of the country getting embroiled in a nuclear exchange this book is fascinating and well-written. Although Hennessy (and his colleagues) have done a thorough research job on the topic the result is never over-scholarly and dry. Hennessy lubricates the writing (which could become something of a theoretical exercise) with his own experiences - e.g. visiting not-so-secret government nuclear bunkers hidden in the countryside and expressing his reactions to the claustrophobic surroundings or passing on the sometimes astounding revelations of ex-government personalities involved in nuclear planning. For me the major interest in the book was the sometimes bizarre 'quirky Britishness' of some of the military and political thinking - e.g. linking the PM Harold Macmillan to the AA telephone network in order that he could order a counter-strike in the event of an 'out-of-the-blue' attack on the UK, or the fascinating and ominous concept of 'letters of last resort' carried in the safes on-board the UK's submarines carrying the nuclear deterrent (the 'voice from the grave' if the UK government was wiped out in a surprise attack). An underlying theme of the book was the psychology of the 'unthinkable scenario' - if the situation arose, would people in power have actually ordered a counter-strike? After all, if the UK had been the target of a nuclear attack then it could be argued that the whole point of the 'nuclear deterrent' had failed - why add further to the destruction of civilization? Fascinating insight into military planning, political thinking, nuclear history and the psychology of having to imagine the consequences of something too horrible to contemplate.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010
The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010 by Peter Hennessy (Paperback - 1 July 2010)
£9.74
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews