cover image The Art of Betrayal: 
The Secret History of MI6

The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6

Gordon Corera. Pegasus (Norton, dist.), $35 (496p) ISBN 978-1-60598-398-1

With exotic locales, global intrigue, and state secrets at stake, Corera, a security correspondent for BBC News, highlights the successes and failures of the British Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6, from the chaotic years immediately after WWII through the reorganization of the post-9/11 new age of espionage. The author goes for the details with the recruiting of double agents, purchases of top secrets, and key defections in such places as Berlin, Vienna, London, and Moscow, all in a lower dramatic tone than Ian Fleming’s Agent 007 or Graham Greene’s spy exploits. Corera pays much attention to the huge betrayal of MI6 by Kim Philby and his shrewd KGB handlers; spy queen Daphne Park and her astute Congo-Lumumba connection; the dismal Iraq failure; and the British support of American strikes against al Qaeda . With an update on the revamped MI6 bureau still in “knowledge management,” Corera’s impressive, solid volume about the British spy agency shows there’s still some bite and verve in the old dog yet. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Jan.)