The Secret State

The Secret State

Preparing For The Worst 1945 - 2010


Peter Hennessy's The Secret State: Preparing for the Worst 1945-2010 is the story of secret government plans for combatting attacks on Britain, from the Cold War to modern counter-terrorism.

Now completely revised and updated, Peter Hennessy's acclaimed account of the secret state includes material from a host of recently declassified documents, to give an up-to-date picture of Whitehall's efforts to defend the safety of the realm.

What were the secret plans for Britain if World War Three had erupted and 'breakdown' had occurred? When would the Queen have been informed and where would she have gone? How does the contingency planning for a national emergency work today? By what procedures would the Prime Minister authorise a nuclear strike and how would those orders be carried out? This book now gives the most detailed and authoritative answers to all these questions.

'Riveting, path-breaking and wonderfully readable'
  Christopher Andrew, The Times

'Effective and vivid ... One of the fascinations of this book is the bureaucratic aridity to which Whitehall reduced concepts of bloodcurdling awfulness'
  Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph

'An insider's insider, if ever there was one'
  Anthony Howard, New Statesman

'One of those rare books that reflects credit not only on the author but on its subjects too'
  John Crace, Guardian

Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of History at Queen Mary College, London, and the Director of the Mile End Institute of Contemporary British Government, Intelligence and Society. He is the author of Never Again: Britain 1945-51 (winner of the NCR and Duff Cooper Prizes); the bestselling The Prime Minister and The Secret State.

About the author

Peter Hennessy

Peter Hennessy, one of Britain's best-known historians, is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of the classic 'post-war trilogy', Never Again: Britain 1945-1951 (winner of the NCR and Duff Cooper Prizes), Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties (winner of the Orwell Prize) and Winds of Change: Britain in the Early Sixties, the bestselling The Prime Minister and The Secret State: Preparing For The Worst 1945-2010. He was made an independent crossbench life Peer in 2010.
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