A book aimed as an introduction to Intelligence History for university students, Intelligence and Espionage: Secrets and Spies is understandably a thorough study of the subject. While it purports to provide only an introduction to the subject, the authors have written an excellent piece of work that provides great balance between high end academia and readability – two items that are quite often mutually exclusive.
The book provides an informative description on the nature of Intelligence, from a potted history through to the various methods employed in its gathering and a comprehensive but clear description of the “Intelligence Cycle”.
It also covers a range of other methods and issues that often get skirted over because of “James Bond syndrome,” a fascination with the darker, more exciting parts of the field. However, Drs. Lomas and Murphy manage to write an excellent summary on the value of the use of covert operations – with historical examples – while keeping such elements firmly within the broader concept of intelligence operations and providing good coverage of the more mundane elements of intelligence work.
Interestingly, the authors highlight the value of OSINT – Open Source Intelligence – something that is of critical value in intelligence but which is rather underplayed by many reviewers. After all, looking someone up on Google is hardly dry Martini material, but is arguably much more valuable.
The book also explores many of the issues (and legality) that have been a problem both with use of intelligence and with the questionable methods in its generation, again with excellent historical examples used as demonstration. Particularly noteworthy is the chapter on Policy and Intelligence, which explores the psychologies of various politicians and how that affected, often negatively, their use of the intelligence that was at their disposal.
In summary, Intelligence and Espionage: Secrets and Spies is an excellent book and quite frankly a must read for anyone with an interest in Intelligence History or even politics and/or military history. An eminently readable and thorough grounding in a fascinating subject.
At the time of publishing Intelligence and Espionage: Secrets and Spies is available on Amazon for $39.81.