The Black Door explores the evolving relationship between successive British Prime Ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith's Secret Service Bureau to Cameron's National Security Council.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the British intelligence system was underfunded and lacked influence in government. But as the new millennium dawned, intelligence had become so integral to policy that it was used to make the case for war.
Now, covert action is incorporated seamlessly into government policy, and the Prime Minister is kept constantly updated by intelligence agencies. But how did intelligence come to influence our government so completely?
The Black Door explores the murkier corridors of 10 Downing Street, chronicling the relationships between intelligence agencies and the Prime Ministers of the last century. From Churchill's code breakers feeding information to the Soviets to Eden's attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, from Wilson's paranoia of an MI5-led coup d'état to Thatcher's covert wars in Central America, Aldrich and Cormac entertain and enlighten as they explain how our government came to rely on intelligence to the extent that it does today.
"Skilfully weaves together the personal, political, military and technological dimensions of electronic espionage." ( Economist)
"Aldrich packs in vast amounts of information, while managing to remain very readable. He paints the broad picture, but also introduces fascinating detail." ( Literary Review)
"Richard J. Aldrich is an outstanding analyst and historian of intelligence and he tells this story well...an important book, which will make readers think uncomfortably not only about the state's power to monitor our lives, but also the appalling vulnerability of every society in thrall to communications technology as we are." (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)
"This is a sober and valuable work of scholarship, which is as reliable as anything ever is in the twilight world of intelligence-gathering. Yet there is nothing dry about it. Aldrich knows how to write for a wider audience, while avoiding the speculations, inventions, sensationalism and sheer silliness of so much modern work on the subject." ( Spectator)