The Secret State

Standalone title

Authoritative and analytical, John Hughes-Wilson searches for hard answers and scrutinizes why crucial intelligence is so often ignored, misunderstood, or spun by politicians and seasoned generals alike.

A sweeping history from the classical origins of intelligence work to modern times in the digital age. A powerful history that asks many hard questions in a wide-ranging survey packed with political, historical, and social analysis. It’s a recommended pick not just for political studies readers; but for any interested in the intelligence community and its background.

From yesterday’s spies to tomorrow’s cyber world, The Secret State is a fascinating and thought-provoking history of this ever-changing and ever-important subject.

See also notes for On Intelligence, the title for the UK edition of this book.

Available for purchase

UKBookshop Search search engine (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells
USANewPages (independents) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Canada: search engine | Amazon
IndiaBookstores in India (independents) | Amazon | GoodreadsInfibeam | SapnaOnline
IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Wordery
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop search engine (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks
South Africa: Bookshops map (independents) | Amazon | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository

Book reviews

‘Unprecedented and compelling reading.’ Max Hastings, military history author and expert

‘There should be a well-thumbed copy on every general s and every intelligence officer’s bedside table.’ Professor M R D Foot, British military historian and former military-intelligence officer

Reader reviews

‘Excellently researched and compulsively readable. Superbly written, true to life down to the least military detail, and very exciting. The author’s knowledge and passion for the subject is palpable, while his scrutiny and explanations make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.’

‘A solid overview of the importance of secret intelligence and case studies of successful and failed spying, from the earliest times to leaks by Edward Snowden and Al Jazeera. A vigorous survey with specific case studies and a useful bibliography for further study.’

‘Hughes-Wilson, a leading British authority on intelligence matters, defines and describes the “intelligence cycle” while delivering a thematically organized account of intelligence in contemporary contexts.’

‘The author’s knowledge and passion for the subject is palpable, while his scrutiny and explanations make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.’

‘In this sweeping history, John Hughes-Wilson anatomizes the intelligence process and the evolution of covert methodologies and technologies that maintain (or disrupt) geopolitical balance. A deft tour of the shadow side of “speaking truth to power”.’