The Secret World review ↠ 103

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The Secret World review ↠ 103 ï [Download] ➸ The Secret World By Christopher M. Andrew – The history of espionage is far older than any of today's intelligence agencies yet the long history of intelligence operations has been largely forgotten The first mention of espionage in world liter The history of espionage is fThe history of espionage is far older than any of today's intelligence agencies yet the long history of intelligence operations has been largely forgotten The first mention of espionage in world literature is in the Book of Exodus'God sent out spies into the land of Canaan' From there Christopher Andrew traces the shift in the ancient. I came to this book less from an deep interest in codebreaking or espionage but because it falls into my favourite genre Histories of the World From some Interesting Perspective And of course intelligence as a human endeavour is very interestingThis is a long book On the spectrum from shallow pop histories to dense dry names n dates this lies closer to the latter than my usual fare But don't let that put you off this is a thoroughly entertaining list of names and dates And note that this book seems designed to allow you to consume its chapters independently if there are some eras that interest you Sometimes I did get the feeling that it was moving too fast despite its depth there is of course a lot of history here to cover As such the book is interested in covering the territory in detail rather than trying to reveal grand themes and argue theses with the notable exception of the Introduction and Conclusion I'll try to summarize some of those themes here and mention just a few of the many colourful episodes in the history of spycraft and international trickery described thereinOne of the main aims of the book is to show that a lack of historical perspective on intelligence can be a key cause of its dysfunction in any particular era including our own And as such the book is intended to help rectify that An recurring thread is Andrew's identification of a variety cultural factors within governments that can lead to a destructive neglect or misuse of intelligence a lack of historical perspective being just one of them In ancient Greece and Rome the religious significance given to omens and portents displaced intelligence as an input to military planning or statecraft and lead to many of ancient history's greatest strategic facepalms This is in contrast to ancient China's Sun Tzu of Art of War fame and India's Arthashastra Religion plays a significant role in the decision making of most leaders prior to the modern age so much so that the book in these early sections mixes anecdotes related to intelligence from both history and myth including the Old Testament Homeric poems and the Hadiths I found this a little off putting but this habit disappears as the story nears the renaissanceAndrews likes to draw parallels between places distant in time and geography He notes several similarities between medieval Catholic inuisitions and Stalinist ideological purges and show trials centuries later Another refrain that appears many times is the notion of telling truth to power The ease with which intelligence officials are able to pass on news that contradicts the leadership's prevailing views is correlated with how effective intelligence can be Here Stalin's USSR is another prime example where despite a massive well funded intelligence apparatus blunders were routinely made priorities failed to match reality and information routinely misinterpreted due to unchecked conspiracy theories On the other hand USSR also serves as an example of the maxim that authoritarian regimes in contrast to democracies are very difficult to gather intelligence on from the outside due to paranoia and a lack of open publicly responsible institutionsThe book really starts to get meaty with the figure of Francis Walsingham ueen Elizabeth I's de facto spymaster His complex network of agents and letter interception team including a staff cryptographer set the rhythm for much of the rest of the book elaborate tales of intercepted correspondence battling cryptographers spies in embassies and colourful characters making conseuential mistakes For the next half millennium the books spends most of its time hopping around European centers of power particularly the UK Russia and France And of course it peeks across the Atlantic from time to time including an interesting portrait of George Washington an adept user of intelligence But Russia in particular is the subject of regular and detailed coverage and has a fascinating history of espionage and diplomatic intrigueAlso on the list of cultural tendencies and can derail your intelligence operations is conspiratorial thinking When this afflicts leaders evidence which contradicts their theories is ignored and evidence which supports it is exaggerated or simply invented Robespierre in revolutionary France was one extreme example and of course that exemplar of all things Stalin Bureaucratic infighting is another problem as demonstrated by the US's bizarre alternating day system of signals intelligence reporting between the Army and the Navy in the lead up to Pearl Harbour Something that struck me from reading this book is how much the personalities of key people could play a huge role in the course of the events in particular the people generating interpreting or receiving intelligenceThere are a lot of just plain entertaining stories of daring and deceit in this book including agents working on behalf of the British Raj in India who would dress up as monks and pilgrims and travel deep into remote areas like the Himalayas with surveying euipment disguised as religious items and mapping the regions as the result risking death if they were caught Or Mitrokhin the KGB archivist who defected to the UK with a massive library of notes the fodder for two of Andrew's earlier books Or the Double Cross System Britain maintained in WW2 apparently all of what Germany thought were her agents in England had been converted to feed disinformation On the flip side the Cambridge Five a group of Soviet agents working in absurdly high levels in UK intelligence during the same war were passing huge amounts of intelligence to the Russians all while Britain was itself doing some the most impressive intelligence work in historyI was sometimes a little frustrated that some of the technical detail was left out of the book such as cryptographic techniues and the nitty gritty of spycraft I didn't uite understand how it was that states were routinely in the position of being able to intercept nearly all correspondence of interest to them and yet at the same time there were spies operating for decades sending information long distances that were never caught The Cambridge Five being one such example It was never explained how exactly they physically managed to evade detectionThere are sections of the book that start to feel a little one damn ambassador after another or seem to be an amusing collection of tales from history that vaguely relate to intelligence or assassination or the wacky exploits of the ruling class But these stretches were punctuated with enough islands of insight and fascination to keep me going through to the end And of course due to bias toward the contemporary things always seems to get and intriguing as history progresses toward the presentAndrew wraps it up with a satisfying survey of intelligence concerns of today Islamic terror China Saddam's imaginary WMDs Wikileaks and Snowden He keeps his political cards politely close to his chestThis book is a laudable achievement and rich tour through history through one of the most intriguing lenses and I recommend it to any history buff especially those politically or militarily inclined But also if you're just fascinated by the sorts of daring shenanigans and outlier personalities the human race is capable of creatingI listened to the audiobook version and high recommend Laurence Kennedy's excellent narration bringing life to often amusing uotations and an appropriately subtle wink to the copious dry British humour scattered throughout the text

read Ù eBook or Kindle ePUB ↠ Christopher M. Andrew

Elizabethan England Revolutionary America Napoleonic France right up to sophisticated modern activities of which he is the world's best informed interpreter What difference have security and intelligence operations made to course of history Why have they so often forgotten by later practitioners This fascinating book provides the answe. Notes2020 04 09 Added to TBR after notification from GR friend Jon Rupinski

Christopher M. Andrew ↠ 3 review

The Secret WorldWorld from divination to what we would recognize as attempts to gather real intelligence in the conduct of military operations and considers how far ahead of the West at that time China and India were He charts the development The Secret PDF of intelligence and security operations and capacity through amongst others Renaissance Venice. I enjoyed The Secret World and I was disappointed The first thing you should know is this is a limited history The primary focus of the book is intelligence history from a European perspective to include the USA even though the book starts with the Ancient Near East using the Bible as the medium for conveying the oldest documented history of intelligence To be far there is some mention of Japan during the first and second World Wars as it relates to European Powers China is mentioned in the summary and only from the period of Mao and later If the intent is a world history starting with the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and the Fertile Crescent then the rest of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian historical record should be used that has been translated since 1970 Ugaritic texts from Canaan Sumerian and Babylonian texts etc What is known from China and Japan should be includedIn the intelligence trade every analyst knows that intelligence needs context to be relevant This remains true when providing a history of intelligence If you aren't familiar with the historical events for which this history of intelligence uses as a backdrop the chapters become nothing but names and dates instead of an engaging historical narrativeUp through the invention of the telegraph there is a balanced discussion of intelligence activities from the use of spies sabotage cryptography etc But once the telegraph arrives on the scene most of the rest of the story is about SIGINT Albeit SIGINT is important it is not the end all beat all Nor is there much discussion of how SIGINT changed with the introduction of internet related communication technologiesSome good things about The Secret World It is a wonderful historical survey of intelligence agencies and events once again primarily European Each chapter is self contained and can for the most part be read independently from other chapters This allows the reader to reference specific periods of history to relate intelligence activities and events to other historical studies of the same time period Personally I think this is the best use of this bookThe chapters covering the 20th Century to current as they pertain to the coming to power of the former Soviet Union and the current Russian state are riveting There is much to learn and understand as it pertains today from what is written here about the fledgling Soviet State's intelligence infrastructure and the role it played in everything from State craft to isolating political opponentsMr Andrew's opinions on the short coming of the intelligence analyst approach to understanding intelligence and in many cases the total lack of how to utilize intelligence in Government executive branches are issues current and future administrations should understand in depth Western Governments suffer from short term viewpoints lacking the ability to understand historical context in today's events and as a result unable to develop sustainable coherent national strategies that look long termA long read cover to cover but if you are interesting in the history of intelligence or interested in the intelligence from a specific period then this is a recommended read The Secret World is well researched and annotated throughout giving the intelligence history buff a wealth of leads to detailed studies to follow up on