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The Secret World

Written by: Christopher Andrew
Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
Length: 36 hrs and 20 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The history of espionage is far older than any of today's intelligence agencies, yet the long history of intelligence operations has been largely forgotten. The codebreakers at Bletchley Park, the most successful World War II intelligence agency, were completely unaware that their predecessors in earlier moments of national crisis had broken the codes of Napoleon during the Napoleonic wars and those of Spain before the Spanish Armada. 

Those who do not understand past mistakes are likely to repeat them. Intelligence is a prime example. At the outbreak of World War I, the grasp of intelligence shown by US President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith was not in the same class as that of George Washington during the Revolutionary War and leading 18th-century British statesmen. 

In this book, distinguished historian Christopher Andrew recovers much of the lost intelligence history of the past three millennia - and shows its relevance today.

©2018 Christopher Andrew (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • Louise Fallon
  • 31-10-18

Editing is poor, but very detailed book

Unfortunately the editing on this audiobook is quite bad. sometimes sentences or parts of sentences are repeated, which seems like pretty poor form as it wasn't checked before releasing.

The book itself though is very detailed, easy to understand, and narrated nicely.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-10-18

Couldn't Finish This

Despite the good narration, I found this dull and couldn't finish the book. Very frequently it veers off at a tangent and you have to remind yourself what the book is actually about.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • PHILIP HARTY
  • 21-01-19

Hard Going At Times

Good story but sometimes goes awry (for me anyway) and goes off topic. This said it is well written and well narrated. But it is a long book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customerv
  • 29-08-18

A valuable perspective

Excellent piece of work, providing a valuable perspective on the past and the future. Well narrated

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Sydney
  • 28-07-18

Enthralling

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this--I picked it up because it seemed an interesting subject, and it was good and long. It's certainly long but never dry, an anecdote-stuffed wander through world history from an unusual perspective. The most enthralling non-fiction audiobook I've listened to in ages.

The James Mason-esque reader is a fun touch, he sounds just like one of the cynical, clever spies whose devious exploits he relates!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Huw Evans
  • 22-01-19

inconsistency

excellent and informative but very variable sound quality throughout. A fascinating insight into intelligence gathering.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-01-19

poor editing

whilst the content is interesting, the performance is very poor, with the reader repeating words, as if the record had skipped.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Webbi
  • 02-01-19

Fascinating.

This is a truly intriguing and educational book, with a dry but strong narration. There are some appalling production issues with the recording though, with some sections so badly edited together it completely distracts from what is being said.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 14-12-18

Useful book tainted by terrible narration

Christopher Andrew has set out an interesting and useful text that sets the benchmark for the history of intelligence.

Unfortunately Laurence Kennedy was not a strong narrator. I found myself increasingly bored and labouring through the audiobook, with regular rewinds to refocus on an area that I had missed because his voice had made me switch off. This was the first book I had listened to on Audible and I thought this was the norm. Thankfully it’s not.

Probably just buy and read the book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe Handsaker
  • 27-04-19

Not what it seems

More of a book about history with some link to intelligence, rather than a book about intelligence. Disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-19

Interesting to a Point

Very informative until just before Pearl Harbour then either breathtakingly ignorant or deliberately misleading with regard to the next 80 years.