The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers
'The Black Door' explores the evolving relationship between successive British prime ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith's Secret Service Bureau to Cameron's National Security Council. At the beginning of the 20th Century the British intelligence system was underfunded and lacked influence in government. But as the new millennium dawned, intelligence had become so integral to policy that it was used to make the case for war. Now, covert action is incorporated seamlessly into government policy, and the Prime Minister is kept constantly updated by intelligence agencies. But how did intelligence come to influence our government so completely? 'The Black Door' explores the murkier corridors of No. 10 Downing Street, chronicling the relationships between intelligence agencies and the Prime Ministers of the last century. From Churchill's code-breakers feeding information to the Soviets to Eden's attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, from Wilson's paranoia of an MI5-led coup d'etat to Thatcher's covert wars in Central America, Aldrich and Cormac entertain and enlighten as they explain how our government came to rely on intelligence to the extent that it does today.
'Must read stuff. Aldrich and Cormac are inexhaustible researchers, who use a wide range of archives and include striking material from off-the-record informants. 'The Black Door' is a vital, authoritative book' Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times 'Pioneering book ... a major contribution to our understanding of British prime ministers over the last century. This is one of those rare books that deserve to change the way that modern British political history is researched and written' Christopher Andrew, Literary Review 'A timely read' **** Daily Express 'This book deserves to be taken very seriously. The authors are intimately familiar with the history of the modern intelligence community' Sunday Times 'The first close study of relations between nineteen prime ministers and their secret service. Plenty of lively stories and characters' The Times
Richard Aldrich is a regular commentator on war and espionage and has written for the 'Evening Standard', the 'Guardian', 'The Times' and the 'Telegraph'. He is the author of several books, including 'The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence' which won the Donner Book Prize in 2002. Rory Cormac is a leading expert among a new generation of intelligence historians. Specialising in British covert action and secret foreign policy, perhaps the most exciting and under-researched aspect of British intelligence, he has published widely on security issues and has appeared on various news and media outlets. He studied at King's College London and now lectures at the University of Nottingham.