Classified: Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain
Christopher Moran

Classified: Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain

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 Drawing on recently declassified documents, unpublished correspondence and exclusive interviews with key officials and journalists, Christopher Moran pays particular attention to the ways that the press and memoirs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.

Book Details:

  • Author: Christopher Moran
  • Published Year: 2012
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Cambridge University Press

Christopher Moran

Christopher Moran was born in 1982 and raised by the sea in Weymouth, Dorset. He has since become a countryside dweller, having spent the last 13 years at Warwick University, first as a student and now as an Assistant Professor of US National Security in the Department of Politics and International Studies. His research has been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and most recently by the British Academy. He is a frequent visitor to the United States for research purposes, and in 2011 was a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington DC. He is the author of Classif...
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Book Reviews

  • "  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