The Guy Liddell Diaries, Volume I: 1939-1942
MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage in World War II
By Nigel West
Routledge – 2005 – 352 pages
Routledge – 2005 – 352 pages
This is the first volume of Nigel West's acclaimed presentation of these fascinating diaries from the heart of Britain's Second World War intelligence operations.
'No intelligence buff can be without this volume and anyone interested in British twentieth century history needs it too.'
M.R.D. Foot, The Spectator
'Regarded by historians as the most important military intelligence documents from the whole of the Second World War.'
'[A] unique insight into the espionage secrets of the Second World War. Its historical importance is enhanced by the editing of Nigel West who, apart from decoding several obscure references to the secret war, persuaded the Security Service to break their rule of maintaining an agent's anonymity.'
BBC History Magazine
WALLFLOWERS is the codename given to one of the Security Service's most treasured possessions, the daily journal dictated from August 1939 to June 1945 by MI5's Director of Counter Espionage, Guy Liddell, to his secretary, Margo Huggins. The document was considered so highly classified that it was retained in the safe of successive Directors General, and special permission was required to read it.
No other member of the Security Service is known to have maintained a diary and the twelve volumes of this journal represent a unique record of the events and personalities of the period, a veritable tour d'horizon of the entire subject. As Director, B Division, Liddell supervised all the major pre-war and wartime espionage investigations, maintained a watch on suspected pro-Nazis and laid the foundations of the famous 'double cross system' of enemy double agents. He was unquestionably one of the most reclusive and remarkable men of his generation, and a legend within his own organization.
'This book is a goldmine of once highly secret intelligence material … no intelligence buff can be without this volume and anyone interested in British twentieth century history needs it too.' - The Spectator
'Regarded by historians as the most important military intelligence documents from the whole of the second world war.' - Irish Independent
'[A] unique insight into the espionage secrets of the Second World War. Its historical importance is enhanced by the editing of Nigel West who, apart from decoding several obscure references to the secret war, persuaded the Security Service to break their rule of maintaining an agent's anonymity.' - BBC History Magazine
'It is a major contribution to the Intelligence history of that war.' - Sunday Telegraph
‘The Liddell diaries are a superb addition of primary sources to the literature of intelligence.’ - Professor Hayden Peake
‘Definitely one of the most important Second World War intelligence documents to have been declassified in recent years.’ - Andrew Roberts
‘These staggering revelations about wartime intelligence will decisively change historians’ perceptions of MI5 and the conduct of the Second World War.’ - Tom Bower
‘His information is so precise that many people believe he is the unofficial historian of the secret services. West’s sources are undoubtedly excellent.’ - The Sunday Times
‘For pure textbook detail, the best is Nigel West’ - The Observer
‘A prolific writer on pre- and post-WWII espionage’ - Publisher’s Weekly
‘Leading historian of the British security services’ - Vanity Fair
‘An innermost corner of the secret war against Hitler, recorded night by night by the man who ran it: as an authentic source, beyond price.’ - M.R.D. Foot
Selected Contents:Introduction Part 1: 1939 Part 2: 1941 Part 3: 1942
Nigel West is a military historian specialising in security and intelligence topics. He lectures at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies in Washington DC and is the European editor of the World Intelligence Review. In 1989 he was elected 'The Experts' Expert' by the Observer and in 2003 he was the recipient of the US Association of Former Intelligence Officers' Lifetime Literature Achievement Award.