Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Gchq: The Uncensored Story of Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency Paperback – July 1, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
It is a weighty tome, weighing in at over 600-pages, and it certainly is not cheap. But you get your money's worth here. If you are really interested in the inner-workings of Britain's most secretive intelligence service and what it has been up to over the past 60+ years, this is the book you have to read.
You get it all here, both the successes and the failures, descriptions of the key personalities and the high-tech spy gear that the "Boys at Cheltenham" use, all written in a fashion that is both informative and quite readable.
It is also an honest book, candid and forthright about the darker aspects of GCHQ's work that in the past would have earned the author a less tha polite invitation to have a sit-down chat with the Crown Prosecutor's office. The material on GCHQ's up-and-down relationship with its American and English-speaking Commonwealth partners is particularly good.
Having spent the better part of twenty-five years myself researching the history of GCHQ's American counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA), I can fully appreciate just how much work went into this book. The book's Source Notes are ample testament to how industrious Dr. Aldrich was in searching out information from a variety of archival sources about a spy agency that has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep even the most mundane aspects of its work out of the public realm.
Well done. I honestly wish there were more books like this out there for us to read.
Matthew M. Aid
This book tells the story of Britain's electronic spying from WWII up until the present day.
It is a fascinating read and shows that the real intelligence gathering was done by "geeks" rather than by James Bond.
Tales of amazing bravery are told, we have submarines going into enemy harbours and getting as close as 6 feet away listening to signals from the opposition.
It shows how the electronic intell. gathering has had a huge bearing on all major military operations since WWII.
All is not perfect though, for some reason the British intelligence community did not learn from McLean , Philby and others. Geoffry Prime, the last really damaging spy found inside GCHQ was allowed to work for two years in a high security area before he was even vetted. Everyone was later surprised when he was found to be a spy and a paedophile!!!!!!
One very interesting fact written of here was that the Auckland power outages of 1998 were caused by hackers in Holland, rather than by faulty equipment in New Zealand, something that has never been spoken of here.
This is a very good book, not too technical and flows nicely covering many of the major moments of the 20th century.
If this subject even semi-interests you, I recommend to buy this book, I don't think you will be disappointed.
"OK, Let's slug it out. Let's see if we get to page thirty before I throw the book in the basket..."
But the writing was good. And it just became better and better. Especially when we got to the cold war... My breakfasts on street cafés in Paris got longer and longer. Even the labor strike in GCHQ in the eighties became readable.
For the cold war it fleshed out parts of the world that always have been somewhat hazy, perhaps dull. And you get stories that would have been a smash news hit on our days of news networks and internet. And without getting sensational.
Some seems to hold themselves aloft of reading novels by authors like Forsyth, Clancy Swedish Jan Guillou, and off coarse Belgian Albert Weinberg. But a series of books the last fifteen years are evidence that these authors really talked to people that was in the know: You read Aldrich's GCHQ, you come to a passage and you realize: "Oh, so that was the story behind that slightly cryptic subsentence in The Hunt for Red October..."
The book turned out to be a page turner.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an extensive history of GCHQ that sets each era within the social and political events of the day. I particularly enjoyed the era of the Falklands War. Very readable!Published 2 months ago by Doug the Brit
Lot of details about WW-2 Intelligence operations and start of US/UK cooperation. Useful reference for anyone researching SIGINT. Also covers some cold war operations.Published on May 1, 2014 by Robert Bennett
I enjoyed this read very much. It is well-researched if a bit over-ambitious in scope. I recommend it to anyone interested in SIGINT.Published on March 3, 2014 by Reviewmeister
I'm a History buff and purchased the Kindle edition of this book up after reading about the Mossad. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by Tin Man
As a former Cheltenham resident, I was hoping for more details on GCHQ itself between its founding and, say, 25 years ago (expiration of Official Secrets Act statute of limitations... Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by G. BLAIR
Having spent most of my active military time in the same environment I can testify that this is a great acount of the efforts of a few people to aid in the safety of all others in... Read morePublished on June 21, 2013 by Suncityan
How is it we have not heard more about this before? Because it was a secret. Great read, full of detail.Published on January 12, 2013 by Sefton Boyd