counter create hit The Second Oldest Profession: The Spy as Bureaucrat, Patriot, Fantasist and Whore - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Second Oldest Profession: The Spy as Bureaucrat, Patriot, Fantasist and Whore

Availability: Ready to download

The spy is as old as history but spy services are quite new. Britain founded the first, Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, in dubious circumstances in 1909. Others followed until no country considered itself a nation unless it had a corps of spies. The biggest and most expensive is America's Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, formed as recently as 1947. The CIA's The spy is as old as history but spy services are quite new. Britain founded the first, Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, in dubious circumstances in 1909. Others followed until no country considered itself a nation unless it had a corps of spies. The biggest and most expensive is America's Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, formed as recently as 1947. The CIA's principle enemy was the Soviet Union's KGB, and the clash of these two giants has been the thrilling stuff of history, novels, films and plays. In assessing the real role of the spy, Phillip Knightley brilliantly takes all the real characters of the spies themselves - Mata Hari, Sidney Reilly, Richard Sorge, Kim Philby, George Blake, James Jesus Angleton, Ruth Kuczinsky, the Rosenbergs - and answers the crucial question. Did they make any difference to the course of history? Or was spying the biggest confidence trick of our time?


Compare
Ads Banner

The spy is as old as history but spy services are quite new. Britain founded the first, Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, in dubious circumstances in 1909. Others followed until no country considered itself a nation unless it had a corps of spies. The biggest and most expensive is America's Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, formed as recently as 1947. The CIA's The spy is as old as history but spy services are quite new. Britain founded the first, Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, in dubious circumstances in 1909. Others followed until no country considered itself a nation unless it had a corps of spies. The biggest and most expensive is America's Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, formed as recently as 1947. The CIA's principle enemy was the Soviet Union's KGB, and the clash of these two giants has been the thrilling stuff of history, novels, films and plays. In assessing the real role of the spy, Phillip Knightley brilliantly takes all the real characters of the spies themselves - Mata Hari, Sidney Reilly, Richard Sorge, Kim Philby, George Blake, James Jesus Angleton, Ruth Kuczinsky, the Rosenbergs - and answers the crucial question. Did they make any difference to the course of history? Or was spying the biggest confidence trick of our time?

30 review for The Second Oldest Profession: The Spy as Bureaucrat, Patriot, Fantasist and Whore

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gram

    Fascinating insight into the rise of secret intelligence services which for obvious reasons, concentrates on the British SIS and America's CIA. The author, Phillip Knightley, wrote for The Times (of London) and other newspapers on the intelligence services and propaganda for 30 years. During that time, he met most of the spy chiefs of all the major intelligence services in the world. This book doesn't gloss over the failures of such agencies and Knightley points out that, worldwide, they have Fascinating insight into the rise of secret intelligence services which for obvious reasons, concentrates on the British SIS and America's CIA. The author, Phillip Knightley, wrote for The Times (of London) and other newspapers on the intelligence services and propaganda for 30 years. During that time, he met most of the spy chiefs of all the major intelligence services in the world. This book doesn't gloss over the failures of such agencies and Knightley points out that, worldwide, they have grown into huge bureaucracies with massive budgets. First published in 1987, it shows how and why the major secret intelligence agencies were formed and how their work changed during the 20th Century. The author questions whether such agencies have ever changed the course of history and whether they should exist at all. Knightley also points out that as their power grows, civil liberties tend to decline - as true now as it was 30 years ago. As the spy fiction writer, John Le Carre, said in his 1987 review of this book: "If Reagan, Gorbachev, Thatcher and Mitterrand only manage one book this year, they could do a lot worse than pick up Philip Knightley's and find out what imbecilities are committed in the hallowed name of intelligence." A marvellous history book which should be required reading and the perfect antidote to the "official" histories which glorify the work of spies.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Simon Wood

    KNIGHTLEY'S PEOPLE Phillip Knightley is a fine journalist who played a key role in the coverage of the Thalidomide scandal, wrote a number of books on subjects as diverse as his home country ("Australia: A Biography of a Nation") and the history of war reporting ("The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth-maker from the Crimea to the Gulf War II"). In this outing he has written "The Second Oldest Profession", a history of spying in the twentieth century. As ever KNIGHTLEY'S PEOPLE Phillip Knightley is a fine journalist who played a key role in the coverage of the Thalidomide scandal, wrote a number of books on subjects as diverse as his home country ("Australia: A Biography of a Nation") and the history of war reporting ("The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth-maker from the Crimea to the Gulf War II"). In this outing he has written "The Second Oldest Profession", a history of spying in the twentieth century. As ever Knightley's writing is clear, and easily engages the reader. With regard to his subject, he is focused on the state institutions of spying and their personnel, with particular regard to the experience of Britain, America and the Soviet Union (MI6, CIA, KGB). He is very good on the roots of these organizations and the personalities involved, from the British in the period prior to the Great War, the Soviets during the Civil War and the Americans during WW2. Other countries, primarily Germany and France, only come into the plot as and when their role is deemed important, mostly during both the world wars. The cast of characters is a large one, though one never feels overwhelmed, perhaps because they are a colourful enough bunch that easily stick in the mind. Knightley is particularly interesting on the Cambridge spy ring in Britain, one of whom (Kim Philby) has been the focus of some of his journalism and a prior book. The coverage of this part is quite detailed and endlessly fascinating, particularly with regard to the genesis of the "Spycatcher" affair in the 1980's. The infamous Peter Wright himself was one of the "young Turks" who believed that Roger Hollis (head of MI5) was a Soviet agent. The sect within MI5 he belonged to come across as paranoid Cold War ideologues par excellence, as their capers around the Labour Governments of the 1960's and 70's make clear. Other subjects covered include the deleterious effect of spying on the spies themselves, industrial espionage, and the dynamics of the relationship between States and "their" Intelligence agencies. Room for other subjects such as Iran, Vietnam is woefully short, the book is also somewhat threadbare with regard to the world outside the three big spying organisations: Mossad of Israel, BOSS of South Africa and Savak of Shah era Iran are barely mentioned, nor is their much with regard to South America, Africa and Asia. The 2003 edition has been updated, including coverage of the invasion of Iraq and the "War on Terror". The limitations of scope mean this book can hardly be regarded as a definitive history of twentieth century spying. Nonetheless, it is a constantly interesting and always gripping read. Knightley is not afraid to give his opinions on matters, and as someone who has covered these issues at length during his years reporting, they are always of interest. While not exhaustive, it will certainly give the reader a sceptical insight into the murky world of spying.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hamilton

    This book, which I read in 2006, was the first step leading me, unwittingly, on the path of classical liberalism. Knightley shows how the 20th century's first government spy agency MI5 began--not to counter security threats--to deal with informants giving information about German spies. Not because those spies existed, mind you, but because all the German spies in the fictional bestseller *Riddle of the Sands* had led many readers to think they saw German spies quite often. The incompetence and This book, which I read in 2006, was the first step leading me, unwittingly, on the path of classical liberalism. Knightley shows how the 20th century's first government spy agency MI5 began--not to counter security threats--to deal with informants giving information about German spies. Not because those spies existed, mind you, but because all the German spies in the fictional bestseller *Riddle of the Sands* had led many readers to think they saw German spies quite often. The incompetence and corruption exposed throughout the book helps you understand why the CIA and FBI failed Americans in preventing 9/11. You will also wonder why more CIA and FBI powers would be the solution.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    A decent book, though not exactly what I thought I was buying. I thought I'd be getting something with a bit more low-level Cloak and Dagger spying details, but that's not what this is; it's more of a high level, rivalries among various agencies, budgetary and political issues, etc etc sort of thing. Near the end it does suffer a bit, as its first writing was in 1986, leaving its final chapter written at that time feeling a bit musty, and the last chapter on 9/11 feels bolted on, which it is. But A decent book, though not exactly what I thought I was buying. I thought I'd be getting something with a bit more low-level Cloak and Dagger spying details, but that's not what this is; it's more of a high level, rivalries among various agencies, budgetary and political issues, etc etc sort of thing. Near the end it does suffer a bit, as its first writing was in 1986, leaving its final chapter written at that time feeling a bit musty, and the last chapter on 9/11 feels bolted on, which it is. But overall does a decent job of communicating its general thesis, which is that much intelligence effort and money is all wasted in a big circle jerk.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Lueck

    three stars as compared to similar books... a bit dry... but (saving grace..) detailed info about WWI and inter-war years..

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tommy

    Good job deflating the pretensions of 20th century, mainly Anglo, intelligence agencies.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jose Luis Ramirez

  9. 5 out of 5

    Declan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ncim

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Houston

  13. 5 out of 5

    William

  14. 4 out of 5

    Juhana Siren

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Wimmer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  20. 4 out of 5

    Duncan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Rose

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gonçalo Almeida

  24. 5 out of 5

    Big Aengus

  25. 5 out of 5

    TJ

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Jennings

    Audio CD

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tjn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mr Colin Wood

  29. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Xun

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.