Espionage isn’t just limited to the fictional world of James Bond, or even the more real worlds of MI5 or the Pentagon.
Ronald Payne details the world of Private Spies – men and women who sell and buy company secrets.
Just as real and as serious as their more romanticised Government counterparts, Payne details their history, motivations and even resources.
From looking at the earliest known stories of private spying, in the silk and pottery industries of old.
To the stories of individual spies in modern industries, such as arms and even pharmaceutical companies.
Payne shows that far from morally bankrupt, the reasons many private spies “enter” the business, are often more complicated, human and tangible.
Even if of course, their actions are downright unethical, immoral or of course, illegal. And the consequences they wreak are often just as harmful as any leaked state secrets.
Sometimes, they even overlap on an international scale.
But how do you stop such spies who rarely answer to any higher authority?
How can you prevent spies stealing patents and ideas, without enacting Orwellian levels of security?
And what of the private spies that get away? How can measures be improved to curb and indict these spies?
Through his stories, Payne debates these points and more as he unveils a world murkier than any kind of James Bond story could imagine. Though written in the sixties, Payne’s assessment of the world of private spying is still relevant today.
And in some cases, rather prophetic…
Praise for Ronald Payne…
‘Payne was an outstanding authority on every kind of espionage.’ – The Guardian
‘The important things about Robert Payne are his sensitive, astute intelligence, his vast erudition, and his magic power over words.’ – The New York Times
‘Probably no author of this century has produced so many books at such a relatively high level of scholarship’ – The Times
Ronald Payne (1911-1983) was the author of many notable works, including The Rise and Fall of Stalin, The Life and Death of Lenin and The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. Born in England, he was a constant world traveller, a keen observer, but always the biographer, historian, novelist, poet and translator.