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The Secret World

Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
Length: 36 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (67 ratings)
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Summary

The history of espionage is far older than any of today's intelligence agencies, yet the long history of intelligence operations has been largely forgotten. The codebreakers at Bletchley Park, the most successful World War II intelligence agency, were completely unaware that their predecessors in earlier moments of national crisis had broken the codes of Napoleon during the Napoleonic wars and those of Spain before the Spanish Armada. 

Those who do not understand past mistakes are likely to repeat them. Intelligence is a prime example. At the outbreak of World War I, the grasp of intelligence shown by US President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith was not in the same class as that of George Washington during the Revolutionary War and leading 18th-century British statesmen. 

In this book, distinguished historian Christopher Andrew recovers much of the lost intelligence history of the past three millennia - and shows its relevance today.

©2018 Christopher Andrew (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Enthralling

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this--I picked it up because it seemed an interesting subject, and it was good and long. It's certainly long but never dry, an anecdote-stuffed wander through world history from an unusual perspective. The most enthralling non-fiction audiobook I've listened to in ages.

The James Mason-esque reader is a fun touch, he sounds just like one of the cynical, clever spies whose devious exploits he relates!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Editing is poor, but very detailed book

Unfortunately the editing on this audiobook is quite bad. sometimes sentences or parts of sentences are repeated, which seems like pretty poor form as it wasn't checked before releasing.

The book itself though is very detailed, easy to understand, and narrated nicely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't Finish This

Despite the good narration, I found this dull and couldn't finish the book. Very frequently it veers off at a tangent and you have to remind yourself what the book is actually about.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A valuable perspective

Excellent piece of work, providing a valuable perspective on the past and the future. Well narrated

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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God book, bad editing.

interesting and comprehensive history of the intelligence services. Let down by bad editing, lost count of the number of repeated sentences, thought I was getting dejavu!

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Utterly engrossing

Superbly researched, superbly narrated. I can honestly say this is the best I have listened to this year and us in my top three audiobooks.

Highly recommended.

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comprehensive

A good overview of the intelligence through the ages. it has some very interesting fact that definitely force the reflection on today's world.
Only criticism is the massive emphasis on code breaking which is key for intelligence but not the only component of it.