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Spies in the spotlight

Max Hastings’s Secret War concludes that most secret agents aren’t effective; but Paddy Hayes finds a fantastic heroine in Daphne Park, Queen of Spies

7 November 2015

9:00 AM

7 November 2015

9:00 AM

The Secret War Max Hastings

Collins, pp.558, £30, ISBN: 9780007503742

Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master Paddy Hayes

Duckworth, pp.285, £20, ISBN: 9780715650431

Spying is a branch of philosophy, although you would never guess it from that expression on Daniel Craig’s face. Its adepts interrogate the surface of reality — people, landscapes, texts — knowing that they will discover extraordinary hermetic meanings. They study fragments of documents, whispers of messages, and from these, they summon entire worlds.

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'The Secret War', £30 and 'Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master', £20 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033. Sinclair McKay is the author of The Lost World of Bletchley Park and The Secret Listeners.

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