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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and informative
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...
Published 13 months ago by Aurora

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Catcher in the Spy.
Was this the least read best-seller after the Holy Bible? loads of people got it in the 80's just because Thatcher (see SpyThatcher) banned it. After reading Wrights story, you can see why. It wasn't really to protect any secrets, just to save the face of the British secret service; which from this description has been in the most compromised position imaginable, since...
Published on 19 Jun. 2007 by Andrew Moules


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and informative, 20 Mar. 2014
By 
Aurora (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spycatcher (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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The [w]right stuff MI5 vs MI6, 24 Nov. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Spycatcher (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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Details of Cold-War Tradecraft Revealed!, 30 Jan. 2010
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spycatcher (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. He also informs us of MI5's system of Watchers, who were posted all over London and its environs, whose chief duty was to tail diplomats and cypher clerks from the Soviet embassy (A memorable moment occurs when 105 Russians are declared PNG and expelled from Britain in 1971--an event I recall seeing on television.).

The author's anecdote of Klop Ustinov (actor Peter's father), who had served British Intelligence so faithfully and effectively (at great peril) throughout World War II, and who was living in penury without a pension, is particularly poignant, probably to highlight Wright's own predicament in the pension department at the end of his career (Desmond Bristow of SIS relates a similar story of official cheese-paring in "A Game of Moles.").

The thrust of "Spycatcher" is to build a case against Roger Hollis, the former Director General of MI5, who was at the helm when so many of Wright's operations went wrong. Whether Hollis was a Soviet agent or not (Bristow, who believed that the British intelligence agencies were riddled with Soviet penetration agents, echoes Wright's suspicions in "A Game of Moles."), Peter Wright builds an intriguing circumstantial case against him, noting that the leaks to the Russians and the ruined operations stopped after Hollis had retired. As far as Wright was concerned, the case against Hollis was not proven but the suspicion remained. It was to haunt him the rest of his life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and entertaining, 14 Jan. 2010
By 
M. Casanova - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spycatcher (Mass Market Paperback)
I found the book quite interesting and entertaining to read. Although at times I was struggling to keep up with all the names of people and organizations.
I have no idea whether everything in the book is true but assuming most of it is quite close to reality the book gives a good insight into what MI5 was like 40 years ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read, 22 May 2012
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This review is from: Spycatcher (Mass Market Paperback)
I had been meaning to read this book for years but have only just got around to it. I found the book intensely interesting and at times, when Wright is describing specific intelligence operations, quite exciting. Peter Wright it must be said is a driven man and it certainly shows in this book. Frederick Forsyth said that Wright was paranoid and bitter, apparently he only wrote the book because he was angry about his pension arrangements.

But whatever his motives may have been Wright has written a fascinating account of secret service life. The account of his meeting in Washington with J. Edgar Hoover is really gripping, Hoover hated the Brits apparently. Also intriguing is the way in which a large section of MI5 was only too happy to conspire against the Labour government of the time, proving that Harold Wilson was not being paranoid himself when he spoke of dark plots against him.

If you are in the least bit interested in the history of the British secret services then this book is surely a must-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read., 31 July 2014
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This review is from: Spycatcher (Paperback)
Read it before, when it was banned. Still every bit exciting, a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue through and through, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: Spycatcher (Paperback)
A great insight into the secret service and how one mans obsession could have cost us so much more and why did we miss the Cambridge link.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very instructive!, 22 Feb. 2013
By 
J. R. Scott - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spycatcher (Mass Market Paperback)
And so very like doing business in Britain in the latter part of the 20th-century and the first knockings of the 21st. The sophistication of technical remote surveillance isn't there, but the rest of it seems to be, in spades.

A genuine 'technical' page-turner, for a change.

Pity I had to go to the States to get it, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spycatcher..... A very interesting read, 13 April 2015
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This review is from: Spycatcher (Paperback)
The condition of the book was as described .I read "Spycatcher" a long time ago and decided to read it again before reading biographies of the "Cambridge Five", it made for very interesting reading and I remember thinking,whenI finished reading it first time round "No wonder Mrs T. banned its publication in Britain".
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peter Wright was not Jew aware; his book shows the subterranean Jewish 'Cold War' subversion right across the USA, Europe, USSR, 9 Mar. 2014
By 
Rerevisionist (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spycatcher (Paperback)
This review is based only on the detailed and interesting book. Page numbers refer to my paperback edition, (Heinemann Australia). I haven't made any attempt to check the supposed facts behind hostile comments elsewhere; nor have I attempted to find out who Paul Greengrass is. This book is indexed, but weak on signposting: it has 23 numbered, but otherwise untitled, chapters without section divisions, plus a short glossary (which doesn't include MOSSAD). The few photos are all portraits (including J Edgar Hoover). Much of Wright's action was wartime Admiralty research, and Leconfield Road and Gower Street buildings in London, from 1939 to 1975.

Peter Wright was born near the end of the First World War; his father was at one time head of research for Marconi and (for example) helped install ships' radios. He knew Sarnoff, of that American outfit - Radio City? His son must have picked up technical information from him; however, his father was sacked, following some company rearrangement, when Peter Wright was 15. One of the undercurrents of this book is sudden unexpected sackings: e.g. Arthur Martin, after 20 years (p 233). Later, Peter Wright developed new audio and radio spy techniques, though the detail is a bit vague; it's not clear how many people worked in labs, and there must have been some changes when transistors were invented, infra-red isn't really mentioned, satellite transmission is barely mentioned. And so on.

Wright's views on power politics were entirely conventional: the First and Second World Wars 'broke out'; there's not the slightest awareness of Bolsheviks as Jews; there are hostile references to Germans, and I doubt he knew the implications of 'Nazism'. There's nothing whatever on deaths in eastern Europe both pre-and post-WW2, nothing on Korean and Vietnam and genocide. There is no reference to 'the Holocaust'. There is nothing on Hiroshima as deserving of scepticism, the developing European Union, nothing on the murder of Kennedy as Jewish coup d'etat, nothing on racial politics.

Wright comes across as painfully naive, outside his specialist field, in which (for example p 362) he suspected that Gaitskell had been murdered. Wright had been told by the media that the 'Soviet Union' was the enemy, now, as he was told Germany was 'the enemy' previously. It seems almost certain that MI5 and MI6 helped the USSR: all the secrets (such as the 'Berlin Tunnel', dug at great expense) were handed over. Wright's account of Hollis summoning him to his office and laughing at Wright's claims, and Hollis a bit later on the point of retirement, 'interrogated' over two days by a gentlemanly chap, avoiding any tricky question, suggest there was never any real security. Wright says (p 125) the Foreign Office tended to support the USSR.

Probably the whole policy was misconceived, because the people who were Jew-aware were on the side of the Jews, or at least liked their paper money. To take a few examples: there is no suggestion at all that I could find that international banks, the IMF and so on were spied on. There must have been some commercial espionage, but it barely figures; vast capital transfers and payments go unmentioned. Thus Wright says (p 158) 'Lenin understood better than anyone how to gain control of a country... the political class had to control the men with the guns, and the intelligence service, and ... neither the Army nor the political class could challenge..' Note the failure to mention Jewish money! On military matters, and fake military matters, Wright confines himself to copies of things like ICBM plans. He didn't even realise that 'American' 'atom spies' were Jews, with reasons, important to them, for lying. There's some material on Victor Rothschild who (my guess) was worried he might have been exposed as pro-USSR: '[Blunt] admitted being recruited in 1937, a year or two after Philby, Burgess and Maclean... Tess [Rothschild] ... went terribly pale ... "All those years," she whispered, "and I never suspected a thing." (p 216); Rothschild interfered in the process of appointing a new head (p 370) though he ended 'as head of the Central Policy Review Staff (CPRS). Never was a man more perfectly suited to a job. ...' (p 347); Rothschild asked PW to make a list of possible damage that Blunt's will might cause. Wright admired Victor Rothschild; it never seems to have occurred to him that Rothschild had his own motives. In retrospect, the whole nuclear fraud was being rigged up; but e.g. in the investigation of Fuchs the Jewish issue is not mentioned; nor is it in the Rosenbergs and Cohens and others (p 139).

Wright's book is approximately chronological, though of course the accounts of investigations span many years: much of Wright's later working life was spent sifting through files and testing codes and talking with witnesses from the past. Each investigation was given a code word; each agent had a code (Hollis was 'drat'); there are plenty of acronyms. Wright's vocabulary includes 'indoctrinate' (meaning tell someone about something), exfiltrate (persuade someone to leave a group).

Let's fast forward through some of the chronological material:-
- By 1914, Wright claims, intelligence systems had been established in expectation of war. He doesn't take a long-term view.
- 'Communism' (p 253) as a religion or catechism or list of articles of belief doesn't seem to have been taken very seriously by Wright. The fact it covers up the Jewishness of the protagonists seems to have been unknown to Wright.
- 1928 ARCOS intelligence case was well-known at the time.
- (p 246 & others) Cambridge University, and the Oxford Ring', and the 'Shadow of War'. Wright lived through this period and found it fascinating. There is no mention of such people as Victor Gollancz.
- 1938 'Maxwell Knight smashed the Woolwich Arsenal Ring'
- Churchill ordered all anti-Soviet intelligence work to cease during the wartime alliance (p 182)
- The Berlin Airlift (1948-9) may have been generated to cover atrocities in Palestine by Jews. If so Wright had nothing to say about that aspect.
- (p 184) Wright notes in 1954 some change in the USSR, when duplicate one-time pads were discontinued
- McCarthyism (e.g. p 330) is referred to with distaste; just one example of Wright's failure to understand the connections between so-called Jews and so-called communism
- Suez (1956) must I think have been more or less specifically Jewish: if you don't believe me, see if you can find a good account, anywhere, of what it was about. Vague evasiveness and unhelpful material are often found in Jewish topics. Wright has an interesting account of the Egyptian Embassy in London: 'Soviet' operatives arrived to sweep it, but in fact left a bug in a phone, possibly to allow the British to see the 'Soviets' were serious.
- 1961 Cuba 'Bay of Pigs'. Castro may have been a Marrano Jew. If so, Wright shows no awareness; he assumes Castro has magical powers, like Lenin.
- Penkofsky appears from nowhere as an agent (e.g. 204). His expertises were supposed to include Cuba, Kennedy and nuclear weapons (though my guess is he was a Jewish-promoted spy whose role was to keep up the myths of nukes and Cuban independence)
- Nossenko appears from nowhere as an agent (e.g. 305 ICBMs, Israel).
- 1962 Cuba 'Missile Crisis'. The USA bombed Vietnam for more than a decade; it seems only to be Jewish media control that made Cuba seem self-directed and independent. Jews used Cubans in future, notably in Africa.
- 1963 Harold Wilson elected Labor [sic] Party Leader; (363). Prime Minister in 1964. For many years, rumours said Wilson was a 'Communist'. Wright has little on the Labour Party and Jews in it. But quite a bit on groups opposed to Wilson, one of which invited him to join. '.. political climax in early 1974, with the election of the minority Labour Government. MI5 was sitting on information which, if leaked, would undoubtedly have caused s political scandal of incalculable consequences. ..' Wright compared the possibilities to Watergate, but gives little information about the leakable material.

Let me return to more Jewish material, which flickers throughout the book, and the lack of action on it. James Jesus Angleton wanted the MI5 file on Armand Hammer. But Wright didn't give it to him; Angleton seems to have been annoyed by this. P 145 states two NSA cryptanalysts 'defected to the Soviet Union, betraying vital secrets'. It's a plausible guess they were Jewish! '.. The Russians had a train of agents inside the American atomic weapons program ... some of these cases were solved..' It is unlikely any of these people were properly debriefed, if that's the word! On p 317 we find: '[The files] belonged to Victor and Tess Rothschild. "Victor is one of the best friends this Service has ever had. ..." "They are Jewish. David and Rosa are Jewish names ..." It sounded like KGB anti-Semitism to me...' Of course; nobody could possibly object to Jews, could they! P 345 states Kissinger opposed the expulsion of Soviet spies from Britain; this was some sort of toughening up process, perhaps. P 347 says 'Angleton always jealously protected his relations with the Israeli secret service, Mossad' which I think is the only mention of Mossad in the book, incredibly.

A significant part of the book, which I'd guess appeals to more readers than anything else, is the descriptive material about the intelligence men and the various associated women. The 'top men' seem to have been rather lonely, their whole lives revolving around their work and sometimes their hobbies. There were plenty of personality clashes; and it's surprising how much leeway they were given to arrange or rearrange their methods. But, considering the vast issues supposedly in the air - Nuclear war? Other wars? Vast expenses? - one has to wonder whether the whole thing was misdirection away from the deep events. Peter Wright in my view comes out very well from this book [I SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR THAT I MEAN PERSONALLY HE SEEMS HONEST. HIS FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND THE COLD WAR WORLD WAS CRIMINAL] : agonising over the right thing, dong his best to present useful evidence - such as names - to politicians and civil servants, serious and competent, unhappy with secrecy and cover-ups, exasperated with Hollis' destruction of some records. But I think he missed the multiple elephant lurking in the rooms of the nations.
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Spycatcher
Spycatcher by Peter Wright (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Jan. 1988)
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