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An engaging and incisive investigation into the shadowy world of secret statecraft and covert action, by a leading expert on the topic.
Today's world is in flux.
Competition between the great powers is back on the agenda and governments around the world are turning to secret statecraft and the hidden hand to navigate these uncertain waters. From poisonings to electoral interference, subversion to cyber sabotage, states increasingly operate in the shadows, while social media has created new avenues for disinformation on a mass scale.
This is covert action: perhaps the most sensitive - and controversial - of all state activity. However, for all its supposed secrecy, it has become surprisingly prominent - and it is something that has the power to affect all of us. In an enthralling and urgent narrative packed with real-world examples, Rory Cormac reveals how such activity is shaping the world and argues that understanding why and how states wield these dark arts has never been more important.
About the Author
Rory Cormac is a Professor of International Relations specializing in Secret Intelligence and Covert Action at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Disrupt and Deny and co-author, with Richard J. Aldrich, of The Black Door and The Secret Royals.
Rich in anecdote and detail... Cormac, you can see, is an engaged teacher, the kind of lecturer who holds his students' attention with illustrative stories of derring-do and dirty tricks. They will like this book, as I do, with its relish of good yarns... A zippy read. - The Times
A compelling history of the dark arts of statecraft - from assassination and sabotage through to disinformation, election interference and cyberattack. Rory Cormac combines the best true-life spy stories with thoughtful analysis of the perils of covert government operations. So full is it of fascinating and astutely examined examples of these murky practices that you wouldn't want his book to fall into the wrong hands. - Jonathan Rugman,journalist
Even as major powers flaunt their military hardware and brazenly trample over borders, their struggles also continue in the shadows. Rory Cormac's raid into this confusing terrain is daring, incisive and exact, an intellectual special operation in itself. In particular, it reveals the hard choices and delicate trade-offs practitioners must consider, between secrecy, control and impact. Much that is written on this subject is overblown and vapid. Cormac's work, by contrast, is a much-needed correction. - Patrick Porter, author of The False Promise of Liberal Order
A dazzling journey through the subterranean world of covert action: from assassination, secret wars, cyberattacks and sabotage, to rigging elections, spreading influence, and subverting democracy. This major new book is stacked full of fascinating examples from around the world, perceptive analysis and careful warnings. A must read for anyone interested in international politics and secret statecraft. - Jamie Gaskarth, author of Secrets and Spies
A delightfully incisive and much needed corrective to the opacity surrounding covert action. He shows that reality is, in fact, far more interesting than fiction... It may sound odd to say, but despite it being about some of the most underhanded behaviors a state can undertake, it is a fun book to read. It is a must read for both practitioners of the dark arts and the curious general public alike. ― Diplomatic Courier
A must read for those interested in intelligence, secret warfare and the hidden hand. ― Intelligence and National Security
A valuable and thought-provoking work, the most thorough treatment of the topic to date. ―Studies in Intelligence