The Secret World Behind the Curtain of British Intelligence in World War II and the Cold War

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 12/12/2014
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris
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During World War II, Britain enjoyed spectacular success in the secret war between hostile intelligence services, enabling a substantial and successful expansion of British counter-espionage. But these victories were kept secret for many years, emerging only gradually and in a piecemeal way.

Hugh Trevor-Roper's experiences working in the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) during the war had a profound impression on him and he later observed the world of intelligence with particular discernment. To Trevor-Roper, who was always interested in the historical dimension of the present and was fully alive to the historical significance of the war through which he lived, the subject of wartime intelligence was as worthy of profound investigation and reflection as events from the more-distant past. Expressing his observations with his former colleagues through some of his most ironic and entertaining correspondence, Trevor-Roper wrote with a freedom he could not express publicly due to the Official Secrets Act. The coherence, depth and the historical vision which unites these letters can only be glimpsed when they are brought together from the scattered publications in which they appeared, and when read beside his unpublished, private reflections.

The Secret World unites Trevor-Roper's writings on the subject of intelligence – including a unique collection of Trevor-Roper's personal letters to a wide cast of leading figures in government, the military and the secret service and an extraordinary chain of correspondence with the exiled spy Kim Philby. Based on original material and extensive supplementary research by E.D.R Harrison, this book is a sharp, revealing and personal first-hand account of the intelligence world in World War II and its aftermath.

Author Biography

Hugh Trevor-Roper was the most brilliant historian of his generation. An expert in the history of early modern Britain and Nazi Germany, he was Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University and latterly Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge. He received a life peerage in 1979. He was the author of numerous books, including his famous investigation of Hitler's last days. During World War II, Trevor-Roper served in the Secret Intelligence Service, giving him a remarkable insight into the work of the intelligence services in Britain. A collection of his diaries – The Wartime Journals (I.B.Tauris) – has recently been published.

E.D.R Harrison is an historian and writer specialising in World War II. He attended Trevor-Roper's lectures while at Oxford University and has taught history at universities in Britain and the US. He has held the Laming Junior Fellowship, the Alistair Horne Visiting Fellowship at Oxford University and an Anthony de Rothschild Fellowship in History of the Churchill Trust. He is the author of The Young Kim Philby: Soviet Spy and British Intelligence Officer.

Table of Contents

Introduction by E.D.R. Harrison
1. The Philby Affair
2. Letters and Book Reviews:
British Secret Service
Deception to Cover the Normandy Invasion
Anthony Blunt
Michael Straight
Peter Wright

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