Exploring Intelligence Archives, Edited by R. Gerald Hughes, Peter Jackson and Len Scott

Exploring Intelligence Archives, Edited by R. Gerald Hughes, Peter Jackson and Len Scott

Enquiries into the secret state

This collaborative work looks at the problems faced by anyone working with material produced by the secret intelligence gathering community, and the benefits to be gained from such work.

Each of the main eleven chapters follow the same basic format. Each focuses on a particular document or related set of documents from an intelligence archive. We get an overview placing the document in its context, then the text of the documents and finally one or two commentaries looking in more detail at the document. The main questions being asked are: who wrote this document, why they wrote it, who their wrote it for, what did they want to achieve and were they successful. A total of twenty one of the leading experts in the field have contributed to this book.

This book covers a wide range of documents, starting with Japanese communications intercepted by the British during the London Naval Conference of 1930 and ending with the Butler Report of 2004. Topics covered include the cold war, Vietnam and the Arab-Isreali conflict.

While each chapter provides interesting insights into the conflict being studied, the main value of this book comes from the questions it asks about the nature of intelligence gathering, the documents produced and their value to the historian. The authors challenge the general tendency to treat documents produced by intelligence agencies as inevitably more valuable than more open material, providing a more realistic picture of the problems associated with this type of archive.

This is a very valuable work for anyone interested in the study of history, providing an interesting series of insights into the problems faced by anyone using the ever increasing number of documents produced by intelligence agencies.

Edited by R. Gerald Hughes, Peter Jackson and Len Scott
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 332
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2006


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