By Chris Wright
on 1.23.13
Photo by NPR

Unless you hang around some pretty tough circles, the only MI6 you know comes from Ian Fleming and one Mr. Bond. The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6 ($21) by Gordon Corera delves into the real deal, detailing the subterfuge and sabotage that the British spy agency has engaged in with varied success since its creation in 1909.

Set over the dramatic backdrops of the Cold War, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the September 11th 2001 attacks and the Iraq War, Corera’s behind-the-scenes examination follows the actions of real agents (and double agents) as they carried out missions (few of which were assassination, drably) while trying not to be caught. By focusing on individuals, the author illustrate MI6’s historical path through the decades with a hell of a lot of intrigue; unsurprisingly for this topic, truth is often as amazing as fiction. Still, 007 fans may find themselves disappointed after poring over the index for “Bond, James” and coming up with nada.

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