Jacket for 'The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized Official History Of MI5'

Publishers

UK - Penguin
USA - Knopf
Canada - Penguin
Germany - Propylaen

The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized Official History Of MI5

By Christopher Andrew

Published Jan 2010

This book marks an unprecedented publishing event: for the first time, to mark the centenary of its foundation, the British Security Service, MI5, has opened its archives to an independent historian. The book reveals the precise role of the Security Service in twentieth-century British history, from its foundation by Captain Kell of Naval Intelligence in October 1909, through two world wars, up to and including its present roles in counter-espionage and counter-terrorism. The book describes how MI5 has been managed, what its relationship has been with government, where it has triumphed and where it has failed. In all of this no restriction has been placed on the judgements made by the author.

The book also reveals the identities of previously unknown enemies of the UK whose activities have been uncovered by the Service, and it definitively lays to rest a number of persistent myths. Few books could make such an immediate and extraordinary increase to our understanding of British history over the past century.