Churchill and Secret Service
David Stafford

Churchill and  Secret Service

Uniquely among modern British statesmen, Churchill believed passionately in the value of secret intelligence both in peace and war. Shaped by his experiences as a war correspondent and soldier, he helped ensure the passing of the Official Secrets Act of 1911, and was the first Home Secretary to authorise general warrants for the secret interception of mail. As wartime Prime Minister he built a centralised intelligence community, created the Special Operations Executive to work behind enemy lines, and with Roosevelt built the transatlantic intelligence alliance that endures to this day. Based on wide-ranging sources, many never explored or only recently released, the book offers an intriguing insight into both modern intelligence and the mind and character of Churchill himself.

Book Details:

  • Author: David Stafford
  • Published Year: 1997
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: John Murray
    • US: Overlook
    • Poland: Wydawnictwo Literackie

David Stafford

David Stafford is an historian and former diplomat who has written extensively on espionage, intelligence, Churchill, and the Second World War. The former Project Director at the Centre for The Study of the Two World Wars at the University of Edinburgh, he is now an Honorary Fellow of the University and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, where he and his wife now live. He has frequently acted as a TV and radio consultant, has written radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC, and his latest book, Ten Days to D-Day, formed ...
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Book Reviews

  • "A fascinating narrative and a scholarly exegesis of the development of modern British intelligence."
    Andrew Lycett, Sunday Times
  • "Its originality lies in its perspective… this is a tremendously well-written book. David Stafford really has added a new dimension to our understanding of the man."
    Bernard Porter, Times Literary Supplement
  • "Well told and solidly grounded in archival and secondary sources…the sum total is original and enlightening."
    Zara Steiner, New York Times Book Review
  • "A first-rate and, what is more remarkable, an original contribution to Churchilliana, of sure interest to students of Churchill, modern history, or military intelligence."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Stafford deals admirably with the legends...he reasses most of Churchill's major strategic decisions and shows how secret intelligence dominated them: he provided material for a complete rethink of how the war was won in a startingly good book."
    M.R.D. Foot, Spectator
  • "David Stafford's masterly new history...a fresh investigation into (Churchill's) lifelong interest in the idea and the practice of intelligence...an exhilarating read."
    Trevor Royle, Scotland on Sunday
  • "A powerful case...The author is both sane and measured...(the book has) an authority denied to many other such works...David Stafford should be congratulated."
    Andrew Roberts, Literary Review
  • "very readable volume which also includes fascinating new material...(exposes) a number of intelligence myths which continue to pollute the history of the two world wars...(an) admirable study."
    Christopher Andrew, The Sunday Telegraph
  • "David Stafford has researched widely and well. Churchill and Secret Service is a fascinating and a serious contribution to the subject. Read it this day."
    Alan Judd, The Daily Telegraph
  • "This important contribution to the revisionist debate on Churchill's war establishes him as godfather of the security services...more fascinating insights are given by Stafford into Churchill's secret relationships with Stalin and Roosevelt...Stafford is cold-eyed about the ruthlessness (Churchill) often felt was necessary."
    John Crossland, Independent on Sunday
  • "A fine and fair book...sheds much light on (the Secret Services') historic failures and successes...a jolly read...full of well-told tales; of exotic and ordinary personalities, soldiers and bureaucrats, terrorists and politicians, heroes and villains...spies and saboteurs. Stafford is a master of his material and has so ordered it as to produce a narrative of great clarity and objectivity. The book is remarkable for the reliability of its sourcing and the integrity of the line between fact and fiction."
    Sir Gerald Warner, Hampstead and Highgate Express
  • "Original and enlightening."
    Foreign Affairs
  • "In our current post-Cold War world, the importance of secrert intelligence and code-breaking is widely ignored and derided. Along with its many other virtues, Mr Stafford's splendid book is a sober warning why this should not be so."
    Washington Times
  • "...brings a knowledgeable eye to the hidden history of Churchill and intelligence...he knows the ways of Whitehall..."
    Toronto Globe and Mail
  • "Politicians, would-be politicians, espionage nuts and Churchillophiles will find this well-written book a captivating read, perhaps best enjoyed, as would its hero, in front of the fire with a snifter of fine brandy and a great big cigar."
    The Hill Times (Ottawa)
  • "Every chapter of Stafford's thoroughly researched book contains  nuggets of new information or insights."
    The Canadian Press
  • "...a splendid and engrossing account...this engagingly thoughtful and readable book is rewarding and challenging."
    The Hamilton Spectator
  • "...a splendid and engrossing account...While it entertains, it dramatically sweeps away some long-held beliefs about Churchill and his ventures..."
    The Edmonton Journal
  • "...excellently researched...an admirable command of archives...excellent coverage of the significance of Ultra...a masterly record of Churchill's deep engagement in...secret intelligence...fair and balanced..."
    The Vancouver Sun
  • "The strength of this important book is that, using a lot of secret material only recently available, the author is able to explain the attraction of the secret world for leaders such as Churchill."
    Philip Knightley, The Times (Sydney)
  • "...combines scholarship with page-turning reading...a fine contribution to the history of secret services in the 20th century and the part played by a great war leader."
    Canberra Sunday Times
  • "David Stafford's expert account (provides) a good antidote to fairy tales...Churchillians will welcome Stafford's crisp dismissals of the canards that continue to circulate around Churchill today."
    Finest Hour
  • "This is a magnificent book which deserves the greatest success...this is the right time for a balanced appraisal...Stafford has provided this with outstanding success."
    Intelligence and National Security
  • "Stafford's excellent book...every chapter contains nuggets of new information...an essential volume for both students of Churchill and the world of intelligence."
    Kingston Whig-Standard
  • "Based on wide-ranging sources, many never explored or only recently released, the book offers an intriguing insight into both modern inteligence and the mind and character of Churchill himself."
    Eye Spy