The King Who Had to Go
Edward VIII, Mrs Simpson and the Hidden Politics of the Abdication Crisis
Edward VIII’s relationship with the American divorcée Wallis Simpson created a constitutional crisis that ultimately cost him his crown. This behind-the-scenes account reveals how the crisis was kept secret from the public for six months while the police and MI5 tapped the king’s phones and investigated Mrs Simpson’s alleged Nazi sympathies, and how Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin outwitted Winston Churchill and seized the opportunity to conclude his own career with a theatrical flourish.
The Man Who Broke Enigmas
Brilliant classical scholar Alfred Dillwyn Knox was recruited by the Admiralty as a codebreaker in 1915 and by the outbreak of the Second World War was a leading cryptographer for the Government Code and Cypher School, breaking the Abwehr Enigma at Bletchley Park in 1941. This biography of the eccentric genius is written by one of 'Dilly's girls' - his codebreaking assistants at Bletchley - and describes his life and work, including detailed explanations of his decryption methods.
Klop Ustinov: Britain's Most Ingenious Spy
Klop ('Bedbug') Ustinov (1892–1962) was an MI5 secret agent tasked, not with killing, but with bemusing and beguiling his enemies into revealing their deepest, darkest secrets. Through the Russian revolution, two World Wars and the Cold War, Klop bluffed and tricked his way into the confidence of everyone from Soviet commissars to a Gestapo Gruppenführer. Journalist Peter Day tells the epic tale of an agent whose missions remained obscured by his socializing and womanizing.
Mistress to the King
‘My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather,’ Camilla Parker-Bowles once told Prince Charles. ‘So how about it?’ Camilla’s great-grandmother was Alice Keppel, and Edward VII was by no means the first rich, influential man she courted in her pursuit of wealth, power and status. In charting the irresistible rise of Mrs Keppel, this frank biography lifts the lid on a hidden world of scandal, decadence and debauchery beneath the respectable surface of the English aristocracy.
Trotsky's Favourite Spy
The Life of George Alexander Hill
Una Kroll was eleven when she met her father for the first time – and he told her he would not be coming home again. He was George Hill, a British spy who befriended Trotsky during the Russian Revolution and went on to become the link between Churchill’s Special Operations Executive and Stalin’s secret service. This biography charts his extraordinary career, and shines a light into the shadowy world of 20th-century espionage.
Memories of the Falklands
The recollections of leading British politicians, diplomats, military personnel, journalists and Falkland Islanders are included in this retrospect of the 1982 conflict. Among the contributors are Margaret Thatcher, Simon Weston, Cecil Parkinson, David Owen and Max Hastings.
The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews
During the 1920s and 1930s, Frank Foley worked as Chief Passport Control Officer for the British Embassy in Berlin, a cover for his role as MI6 Head of Station there. As the Nazi administration increased its stranglehold over the country, Foley used his position to issue visas to countless Jews, allowing them to escape to Britain ‘legally’. This biography also recounts many of the escapes that Foley enabled.
Memoirs of Naval Secret Service
In the years before the First World War, British journalist Hector Bywater used his role as naval correspondent for the New York Herald to bluff his way into dockyards and naval installations across Germany. He would memorize important details then report his findings back to MI6 in London. First published in 1931, these remarkable memoirs recount Bywater’s years as an active secret service agent for the British Navy.
The Mantle of Command
FDR At War 1941–1942
The first part of a trilogy, this reappraisal of Franklin D Roosevelt’s role as US Commander in Chief during the Second World War begins with his meeting with Churchill in Placentia Bay on 9 August 1941, and ends with the landing of US troops in North Africa in late 1942. In between are 14 military and political challenges, including an attempted ‘mutiny’ by US officials (which Roosevelt overcame) demonstrating not only his moral leadership, but also his talent for military strategy.
The Man Who Was George Smiley
The Life of John Bingham
Spymaster, interrogator, investigator – the perfect inspiration for the perfect spy. This is the first full-length biography of the remarkable John Bingham, the heir to an Irish baronetcy who joined MI5 in 1940 and took part in many wartime missions. During the Cold War his skills became legendary and he shared his expertise with many novice spies including David Cornwell, who found literary fame as John le Carré and based George Smiley on his mentor.
An Anthology of Famous Last Words
Salvador Dali’s enigmatic parting question, ‘Where is my clock?’; Louis B Meyer’s gloomy conclusion, ‘It wasn’t worth it’; Hegel’s final, impenetrable comment, ‘Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me’... The last words of 200 famous men and women, together with notes on their deaths, are gathered here in five chapters on Hedonists, Optimists, Pragmatists, Visionaries and those who delivered a Parting Shot.
Lady Constance Lytton
Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr
Raised amid the grandeur of Knebworth House, Lady Constance Lytton was an unlikely radical. Drawing on unpublished family papers, this biography tells her story for the first time: how, witnessing the trial of Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, she became convinced that women must win the right to vote; and how, in jail, she discovered that her status afforded her preferential treatment, and on release disguised herself to discover the horrors that other suffragettes were forced to endure.
Double Cross in Cairo
The True Story of the Spy Who Turned the Tide of War in the Middle East
With a talent for invention and a taste for adventure, Italian Jew Renato Levi operated as a double agent in the Middle East and North Africa during the Second World War. This book uncovers the story of the remarkable spy, which has only come to light in recent years, and his CHEESE network, an entirely fictitious ring of intelligence sources providing misdirection that helped to defeat Rommel in North Africa and diverted German defences from the D-Day landing sites.
The Year That Changed Britain
Few years have seen such seismic change as 1956. Khrushchev’s ‘secret speech’ exposed the crimes of Stalin and Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary, disillusioning loyal communists worldwide, while the debacle of Suez spelled the end of the British Empire. This entertaining social history charts the political and cultural events of that momentous year, which saw the emergence of rock ’n’ roll and commercial television while Osborne’s Look Back in Anger electrified the London stage.
Under Every Leaf
'Where a leaf moves', according to an old Farsi saying, 'underneath you will find an Englishman'. Between the Crimean and the First World Wars, an anonymous-looking townhouse in Queen Anne's Gate was the headquarters of the shadowy Intelligence Division of the War Office. Drawing on an encyclopedic array of little-known sources, this book tells the dramatic story of its network of intrepid spies who promoted the interests of the British Empire across the globe, by fair means – or foul.
Volume II: 1992–1997
Colourful, outspoken and irrepressible, former politician Edwina Currie has become an all-round celebrity. Her first published diaries explosively revealed her affair with John Major. This second volume, which begins with her refusal to serve in his government in 1992, is no less revelatory about her colleagues and her extraordinary career. Shot through with effervescence, it shows one of the biggest figures in British public life at her saucy, scathing best.
'The Little Cyclone' was the nickname of Andrée de Jongh, a Belgian nurse who played a key role in the smuggling of Allied servicemen through occupied France, saving the lives of more than 800. First published in the 1950s, this account of the 'Comet Line' escape route across the Pyrenees to Spain was written by Airey Neave (1916–1979), who ran escape networks for MI9 during the war following his own escape from Colditz in 1942.
An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend
This biography of Dusty Springfield, one of the most celebrated pop stars of the 1960s, not only discusses her musical development and lasting legacy, but also delves beyond the professional persona to explore her somewhat troubled private life. Interviews with friends, lovers, employees and other confidants shed light on Springfield's relationships, addictions and struggles with her sexuality. Through it all, however, is the music that brought so much joy to so many.
Finding the Plot
100 Graves to Visit Before You Die
From the splendour of Nelson's tomb in the crypt of St Paul's to the more commonplace gravestone of Eleanor Rigby in Liverpool, this guide selects the most interesting resting places to visit in Britain, telling the stories of the lives and deaths of the memorialized. Arranged geographically, the selection ranges from the much-visited shrine to Marc Bolan in Barnes to the Leicester car park where Richard III's remains were found.
A Story of Friendship and Betrayal
Ian Innes 'Tim' Milne and Kim Philby had been at school together and when Philby joined MI6 he immediately recruited Milne as his deputy. The treachery of his friend, revealed as the 'Third Man' of the Cambridge spy ring, was a painful blow to Milne, but his frank account of their long association, banned in 1979, is written without rancour and presents an insider's view of one of the most notorious spies of the 20th century.
The Life of Rupert Brooke
Good-looking, charming and gifted, Rupert Brooke is the tragic embodiment of the generation lost between 1914 and 1918. His romantic war poetry stands in striking contrast to the work of more disillusioned contemporaries such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. But as this searching biography makes clear, his private letters reveal a far more troubled and misunderstood man, caught in a tangled web of secret affairs and mental instability.
When One Door Closes
A Liverpool boy and schoolfriend of Paul McCartney, Peter Sissons was a war reporter until a sniper's bullet put an end to that career. Instead he became one of Britain's most distinguished newsreaders, guiding a generation through every momentous event of the past 45 years. In this funny but often poignant memoir, he reveals what he really thinks of global affairs, the state of the media and the workings of the BBC.
Stalin's Secret Weapon
Formed to mop up Nazi spy rings at the end of the Second World War, SMERSH got its name from a combination of the Russian words for 'Death to Spies'. Successive Communist governments suppressed traces of Stalin's political hit squad; but in this award-winning book, Vadim Birstein reveals the surgical brutality with which SMERSH exerted its influence as part of the paranoid Stalinist regime, both within the Soviet Union and in the wider world.
A British Secret Agent with the French Resistance
'Xavier' was Colonel Richard Heslop's field name in occupied France during the Second World War, where he skilfully ran the SOE 'Marksman' network in the Haute-Savoie/Ain area. Detailing his important contribution to Allied espionage in France, this account of his activities describes how he ingeniously orchestrated resistance groups and ruthlessly sabotaged German operations from late 1942 through to the invasion in 1944.
When Reporters Cross the Line
The Heroes, the Villains, the Hackers and the Spies
The phone-hacking scandal has brought journalism into disrepute, closed a bestselling newspaper and led to the imprisonment of senior media executives. This account of modern reporting examines just how far journalists will go in order to get a story in the heat of war or political conflict. Featuring some of the best-known names in British broadcasting, including John Simpson, Lindsey Hilsum and Charles Wheeler, it interrogates the ethics of the trade, and poses the question: 'When do you cross the line?'
Dangerous to Know, A Life
Chapman Pincher was a Fleet Street legend, an investigative journalist whose name was synonymous with espionage at the highest level. This frank memoir, written shortly before he died at the age of 100, lifts the lid on the many sensational cases he covered, from the development of the atomic bomb through the 'Spycatcher' case in the 1980s to the death of Princess Diana. The result is a gripping exposé of treachery at the heart of the British establishment.