The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century

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9780393023862: The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century

A comprehensive history of spies, spying, and the intelligence bureaucracy profiles famous spies and intelligence organizations around the world which addresses the question of whether any spying endeavor ever actually changed the course of history

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The first modern, permanent intelligence agency was created about 1909, and within a few years all the great powers had similar agencies. Concentrating almost entirely on Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, Knightley asserts that these services are not worth the enormous sums they cost, that they are not effective in predicting enemy actions, and that they cause more trouble than they prevent. He uses anecdotes of failed operations and jaundiced interpretations of other episodes in an attempt to prove that intelligence services corrode a democratic society's liberty and pervert international relations. Knightley lambasts even such famous operations as ULTRA, MAGIC, and the XX Committee as overrated and mythologized. His argument might have had greater credibility if it were not so shrill and one-sided.Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Fort Monroe, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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"If Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher and Mitterand only manage one book this year, they could do a lot worse than pick up Phillip Knightley's." -- John le Carre

" If Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher and Mitterand only manage one book this year, they could do a lot worse than pick up Phillip Knightley' s." -- John le Carre

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