In 1909, the business of spying was hoisted from the domain of a few European decadents to the highest reaches of the British government with the formation of Britain's SIS. Acting in response to a totally fraudulent fear - the German spy scare that preceded WWI - the British soon had a lot of company as Germany, Russia, France and other powers, large and small, joined the mad rush towards information and espionage. Not far behind came the biggest of them all, first with the OSS and then with the CIA fuelled by paranoia and by more money than any new bureacracy had ever seen. "Bigger than State by '48," was the CIA's slogan on its founding in 1947. And it was. Now intelligence is a very big business with a very rich history, told here with a depth and verve never before brought to the subject by a master historian. All of the legends and their immensely readable stories are here - Sorge, Donovan, Philby, Mata Hari, Golitsyn, Andleton,Penovsky - and behind them the large question- did the actions of these spies and their masters make any difference at all in the course of history?
Phillip Knightley is the author of ten non-fiction books. He is best known for The Second Oldest Profession and The First Casualty- The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker. He has met nearly every spy chief on both sides in the spy Cold War and spent one week with the British traitor Kim Philby in Moscow in 1988 debriefing him just before he died. Knightley has also dined with several heads of the KGB, several chiefs of the British Secret Intelligence Service, the Inspector General of the CIA, and the director of its anti-Soviet operations. For twenty years he was a special correspondent of The Sunday Times and a member of the Insight Team. He is now representative in Europe for the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and spends most of him time writing books and articles for publications around the world. He lives in Britain, India and Australia.