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Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain

$24.00 USD

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781107302266

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About the Authors
  • Classified is a fascinating account of the British state's long obsession with secrecy and the ways it sought to prevent information about its secret activities from entering the public domain. Drawing on recently declassified documents, unpublished correspondence and exclusive interviews with key officials and journalists, Christopher Moran pays particular attention to the ways that the press and memoirs have been managed by politicians and spies. He argues that, by the 1960s, governments had become so concerned with their inability to keep secrets that they increasingly sought to offset damaging leaks with their own micro-managed publications. The book reveals new insights into seminal episodes in British post-war history, including the Suez crisis, the D-Notice Affair and the treachery of the Cambridge spies, identifying a new era of offensive information management, and putting the contemporary battle between secret-keepers, electronic media and digital whistle-blowers into long-term perspective.

    • Reveals new evidence of attempts by the British state to 'police' investigative journalism, official memoir writing and autobiographies by politicians
    • Sheds new light on key scandals such as the Suez crisis, the D-Notice affair, the Crossman Diaries and the treachery of the Cambridge spies
    • Explores the attitude of senior politicians such as Lloyd George, Churchill and Eden, and the ways they approached secrecy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A fascinating study of how a long established democracy deals with the persistent conundrum of government secrecy in an open society. Essential reading for students of intelligence accountability, and especially timely given the current international discussion of leaks and information security.' David Robarge, Chief Historian, Central Intelligence Agency

    'Traditionally, people have preferred to feel, rather than to know, about the rights and wrongs of state secrecy in Britain. In his highly readable book, Classified, Dr Moran does the truth great service by exploring with fair objectivity the difficult middle ground in a revealing series of milestone case studies. Wherever one chooses to stand on this thorny, arcane, contentious and fascinating issue, Moran's book will certainly leave its readers far better informed.' Andrew Vallance, Secretary, 'D Notice' Committee

    'A fascinating and timely account of how successive British governments have viewed official secrets and the sometimes extraordinary measures they have taken to protect them. Dr Moran puts into clear perspective how those views of secrecy have evolved through the years including use of the D Notice, a measure often viewed with envy by bureaucrats in Washington. A valuable contribution to the study of government secrecy, Dr Moran's work will enhance the reader's grasp of the fundamental issues raised.' Peter Earnest, Executive Director, International Spy Museum, Washington, DC

    'Moran tells these stories … with a historian's care, but also with a real flair for narrative … authoritative but hugely readable …' Reader's Digest

    'This is a well-researched and fascinating book …' The Guardian

    'Deeply researched and wonderfully informative …' New Statesman

    '… this is a well-researched and well-written book that is a worthy contribution to our understanding of government secrecy. The lessons this book draws from the postwar period are every bit as resonant today as they were in their time: the extent to which the public is left to trust its government to act on its behalf and to impinge on their liberties for the greater good is a key and fluid element of our social contract. All those interested in this question should seek out Moran's book and its lessons from history.' International Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781107302266
    • contains: 25 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. 1889–1945:
    1. Laying the foundations of control
    2. Bending the rules: ministers and their memoirs, 1920–1945
    Part II. Secrecy and the Press:
    3. Chapman Pincher: sleuthing the secret state
    4. Britain's Watergate: the D-Notice affair and consequences
    5. Publish and be damned
    Part III. Secrecy and Political Memoirs:
    6. Cabinet confessions: from Churchill to Crossman
    Part IV. Intelligence Secrets, Spy Memoirs and Official Histories:
    7. Keeping the secrets of wartime deception: Ultra and Double-Cross
    8. SOE in France
    9. Counterblast: official history of British intelligence in the Second World War
    Epilogue: from Wright to WikiLeaks

  • Author

    Christopher Moran, University of Warwick
    Christopher Moran is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. His previous publications include Spooked: Britain, Empire and Intelligence (as co-editor, 2009).

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