Richard J. Aldrich
John Murray (Publishers) Ltd. 2001
The crucial role of intelligence to the Anglo-American special relationship has long been recognised. In this book, historian Richard Aldrich provides a profound new insight into the nature of that relationship in the first two decades of the cold war.
Intelligence liaison has often been portrayed as a polite variation of espionage, and Aldrich shows the extent this was true even between these closest of allies.
At the start of the cold war both states considered covert action to undermine the Eastern bloc. However, their interests diverged after the first Soviet atom bomb tests in 1949.
Executive Outcomes' intervention in Angola was a decisive moment in the emergence of the modern 'private military company'. Hooper's account is very much the official version, consisting primarily of the reminiscences of EO officers.
The opening sections feature anecdotes from South Africa's border wars, which are portrayed as a heroic struggle against communism.
The end of the Cold War paved the way EO's personnel to turn on their former UNITA allies by signing up to fight for the Angolan Government, an about-turn which, according to Hooper, caused more tensions with old SADF colleagues than with the new ANC Government.
An initial operation to seize the Soyo oil refinery in 1993, was followed a year later by EO's participation in a decisive campaign to oust UNITA from Angola's main diamond fields.
Hooper's account will prove satisfying to military buffs, but has little to say about the wider issues raised by EO's intervention. There's seems little doubt that the company was an effective force in Angola and Sierra Leone, (which is covered in an appendix), but Hooper glosses over the quid pro quo exacted by the company's backers in the oil and mining industry, an issue covered more fully by Margaret Drohan's Making a Killing.
Bloodsong is an important source for the events it covers, but one which should be approached with caution.
Mark Hollingsworth and Nick Fielding Andre Deutsch 1999
In 1997, MI5 officer David Shayler went public with a series of damning criticisms of the Security Service. With this book, Hollingsworth and Fielding took Shayler's story as the starting point for a survey of the organisation as a whole.
At the time, Shayler's primary grievance was with what he saw as MI5 incompetence, and the two journalists were particularly impressed by his refusal to indulge in wild conspiracy theories, or to reveal details of ongoing operations' or agents' identities.
His more recent bizarre behaviour is obvious ammunition for his critics, but arguably only enhances the importance of this book as an exposition of his original views.
As the title of this biography implies, Airey Neave's spent much of his life at the interface between two worlds, those of politics and intelligence. His career went through several intriguing phases. each of which sheds light on the history of Britain's secret state.
A visit to Germany as a 17-year-old Etonian in 1933 gave Neave an early hatred for fascism. In the 1930s, when many of his colleagues at Oxford were turning to socialism and even communism, he began a lifelong interest in the Territorial Army.
By 1940, he was a young army lieutenant, fighting in the bloody, and ultimately doomed, defence of Calais. His capture by the German paved the way for the defining period of his life.
This study of the state of Britain in the immediate aftermath of devolution betrays its origins in an accompanying TV series. One can almost hear the author delivering his piece to camera as one reads it.
That Marr's engaging style conceals an awful lot of information packed into quite a short book is something one might expect from a journalist who would shortly become BBC political editor. That it also conceals some pretty radical conclusions might come as more of a surprise.
Marr presents himself as an expatriate Scot from a background steeped in traditional Britishness, and a comfortable citizen of the UK.
Historian T. Ryle Dwyer has written several studies of Michael Collins and the War of Independence. In this book, he re-examines the subject in the light of new material from the Bureau of Military History.
Dwyer stitches together these first-hand acccounts from members of 'the squad' into a coherent narrative of Collins' activities as the IRA's director of intelligence.
One thing this reader found striking was how closely Collins methods conformed to the theories of US military strategist John Boyd, which emphasise cutting an opponent off from their environment, and paralysing their ability to make effective decisions.
University of Ulster Professor Arthur Aughey turns his attention to the English question in this new study inspired by the ubiquity of the flag of St George across England during the 2002 and 2006 World Cups .
One in ten of those killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland was killed by the state.This book tells some of the stories behind that statistic.
22 chapters are each devoted to a single incident, beginning with Bloody Sunday in 1972, and ending with the case of Robert Hamill, who was murdered by loyalists in 1997 while nearby RUC officers refused to intervene.
Each chapter contains a substantial account of the case, alongside interviews with relatives of the victims and campaigners. Three further chapters include extended interviews with human rights campaigners Fr Raymond Murray, Clara Reilly of Relatives for Justice, and Fr Denis Faul.
Unfinished Business is an extremely valuable record of the cases it documents, but above all it is powerful testimony to the often untold story of how ordinary familes have fought for the truth about the deaths of their loved ones.
National Strategy Information Center 1995 Transaction Publishers 2001
Roy Godson may be a Georgetown University Professor, but his knowledge of the intelligence world is clearly more than academic.He was himself implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal, an episode that informs the analysis in this book.
Godson divides intelligence into four main elements, collection, analysis, covert action and counter-intelligence. The latter two areas, arguably the murkiest of all, form his subject matter. Each has two sections devoted to it, one considering the history of the discipline since 1945, and another setting out its basic principles.
Covert action is essentially the art of clandestine political intervention in the affairs of other states. (It's worth noting that the author's father, Joe Godson, has been accused of covert intevention in British politics during his time as Labour attache in London in the 1950s.)