18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An essential read, but not the whole story,
This review is from: MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 (Hardcover)
Quite apart from the content, this is a substantial book, on thick paper. What relevance is this I hear you ask? Well, this: I feel the book is just too thick - it comes in at over 800 pages including index and borders on the unmanagable. This won't be a problem for anyone who just wants to dip into the book for specific information, but if you want to read the complete story as a narrative, then the Kindle version will suit a lot better.
The book itself is well written and tells the story in an easily accessible style. It should come as no surprise that there is a huge amount of detail, and the book will add greatly to what is known about the Secret Intelligence service.
What has cost the book its fifth star though, is the simple fact that it is an "official" history and has therefore been written under the constraints imposed by MI6 and, although Professor Jeffrey was allowed unrestricted access to MI6's archives, he hasn't released all the information he could have, for example in naming agents. In the foreword MI6s policy on releasing information is set out, and should be read by everyone considering buying this book. The fact that the book is an official history also works against it in that other sources of information haven't been given the consderation they should have.
Personally I would also liked to have seen more on the pre-world war 2 side of things - well over half the book is dedicated to the last 10 years of the period it covers.
All in all though it is a worthwhile addition to the field.