Churchill and the Secret Service

In This Review

Churchill and the Secret Service

By David Stafford
Overlook Press, 1998
400 pp. $35.00
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Most of the literature on intelligence focuses on those who produce the material rather than those who use it, and the exceptions usually deal with misunderstanding, misuse, and failure in all its forms. This book, however, examines, with an unillusioned but generally admiring eye, a statesman who knew how to read intelligence reports and exploit covert operations. Stafford's Churchill is not the ill-informed and capricious romantic of contemporary debunkers: he is, rather, a calculating, occasionally erring, but immensely shrewd and experienced politician. Nothing very new in the stories recounted here, but they are well told and solidly grounded in archival and secondary sources, and the sum total is original and enlightening.