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Summary

The Black Door explores the evolving relationship between successive British Prime Ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith's Secret Service Bureau to Cameron's National Security Council.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British intelligence system was underfunded and lacked influence in government. But as the new millennium dawned, intelligence had become so integral to policy that it was used to make the case for war.

Now, covert action is incorporated seamlessly into government policy, and the Prime Minister is kept constantly updated by intelligence agencies. But how did intelligence come to influence our government so completely?

The Black Door explores the murkier corridors of 10 Downing Street, chronicling the relationships between intelligence agencies and the Prime Ministers of the last century. From Churchill's code breakers feeding information to the Soviets to Eden's attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, from Wilson's paranoia of an MI5-led coup d'état to Thatcher's covert wars in Central America, Aldrich and Cormac entertain and enlighten as they explain how our government came to rely on intelligence to the extent that it does today.

©2016 Richard Aldrich and Rory Cormac (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

Praise for Richard Alrich's GCHQ: "Thoroughly engaging." ( Daily Telegraph)
"Skilfully weaves together the personal, political, military and technological dimensions of electronic espionage." ( Economist)
"Aldrich packs in vast amounts of information, while managing to remain very readable. He paints the broad picture, but also introduces fascinating detail." ( Literary Review)
"Richard J. Aldrich is an outstanding analyst and historian of intelligence and he tells this story well...an important book, which will make readers think uncomfortably not only about the state's power to monitor our lives, but also the appalling vulnerability of every society in thrall to communications technology as we are." (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)
"This is a sober and valuable work of scholarship, which is as reliable as anything ever is in the twilight world of intelligence-gathering. Yet there is nothing dry about it. Aldrich knows how to write for a wider audience, while avoiding the speculations, inventions, sensationalism and sheer silliness of so much modern work on the subject." ( Spectator)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly fabulous

So well researched and written in an accessible and even gripping way, topped off by being read brilliantly. Couldn't recommend this book more if you're interested in politics and the intelligence world.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thorough analysis

A detailed and well read analysis of the UK's secret world which grows ever larger.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom
  • 18-12-16

It's probably me - but this is so dull.

I want to like it. I love the premise, and I am very interested in this area of history and politics. And Audible is how I get a lot of my history! But it is just too dull.

The subject matter is NOT really dull but this treatment just doesn't work for me as an audio book. I have given up about 4 hours in. I have a feeling it will pick up later but I am not prepared to go on and find it's this dull right the way through. .

The reader has a very pleasant voice but again, it's rather soft and lulls your mind off in any direction other than the book. I almost never give only one or two stars but I regret downloading this one.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

The breadth and insight makes this a compulsive audio book I found very difficult to stop listening to..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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a real eye opener.

Thatcher to present day was fascinating. give it a go. its ideal for long journeys.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic journey in to the inner-workings of what happens at the top.

I would recommend this to any one who has an interest in politics and history, and how the big decisions are made. This book has got a 5 rating on all aspects as the authors have descried in as much detail as possible, what led to the events that took place over the decades, and analysed what was happening in the world to vring about such events. A great narrater also is a big plus, and all these reasons are why I had to get to the end quickly. Purely because I wanted to know more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating Insight

No other book captures the intensity of the 20th and 21st Century battles of intelligence and Special Forces orchestrated from No10

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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no eye opener

through previous information only some suprises which made more of the pattern even more complete

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Rule 1. If the voice grates, don't buy.

The content is mostly very interesting. My mistake for not taking more time checking the performance. A callow, fragile-voiced ham actor, mars the experience.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nike
  • Devon
  • 20-11-17

Fascinated

A well organized description of the centuries developments in the vital world of humint and secret informed action thanks.