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Landmark history of espionage and intelligence to Cambridge

Cambridge University Press has signed a global history of intelligence ‘from the ancient world to present-day cyber-espionage’.

The three volume Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence, commissioned by CUP’s Bethany Thomas, will be available in print and digital formats.

The books will aim to show how the use of intelligence and intelligence agencies has been present throughout history, from biblical times to the cyber-warfare of the present day; how the gathering of intelligence and its use, or in some cases, its misuse, has provided the background to conflicts and international relations throughout history; and how recent global events have foregrounded the way in which modern intelligence-gathering remains an important if shrouded feature of the international landscape.

Volume 1 will introduce some of the main themes of the project, discussing the problem of intelligence history, the ethics of intelligence and the notion of secrecy. It will then cover the period from ancient times to the renaissance. Volume 2 will cover the period from the Renaissance to the First World War, and Volume 3 will explore the period from the First World War to the present day. All the volumes will be global in their coverage, and will include non-military themes such as the scientific revolution, global commerce, and cultural aspects too such as the literature and fiction of intelligence.

Heading up the international editorial team that includes historians and ex-intelligence practitioners from the US, the UK and Europe, are Christopher Andrew, Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Cambridge and Dr Calder Walton, at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Bethany said: “We are incredibly excited to be publishing this timely and landmark project. The history of intelligence has been fascinatingly non-linear, perpetually under-studied, and has never been more relevant. This unprecedented study will seek to be the most comprehensive and authoritative history of the subject to date. There is no-one better qualified to bring it to fruition than Professor Andrew, Dr Walton and their team. The Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence will be the go-to work for decades to come.”

Professor Andrew and Dr Walton said: "We are thrilled to be publishing this pioneering project with Cambridge University Press. It is highly appropriate that Cambridge should be doing so: from the time when Britain first became a global leader in intelligence, during the Tudor period, some of Britain's most successful intelligence chiefs came from Cambridge. This continued during the twentieth century. However, in the middle of that century, Cambridge was also an unusually cosmopolitan intelligence recruitment ground: in 1945, it was producing spies for both sides of the future Cold War. We are excited to explore these chapters, and numerous others, in what will be the most authoritative collection of experts ever assembled to write about intelligence history".   

The three volumes of The Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence are scheduled to publish together in 2022.

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