Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures

Title:                      Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures

Author:                 Bob de Graaff

De Graaff, Bob (2016) and James M. Nyce with Chelsea Locke, editors. Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, A division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

LCCN:    2016013287

JF1525.I6 G72 2016


Date Updated:  October 13, 2017

Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[1]

Knowledge of a nation’s government and intelligence community has become a basic requirement for those concerned with world politics and commerce. But until recently, as noted by editors Bob de Graaff and James Nyce, nations studied in the literature axe limited in number, and authors tend to presume a “hierarchy that equates a nation’s size and/or economic value with the quality of its intelligence service.” (p. xxx) Thus with just a few exceptions, “in spite of the growing number of intelligence studies, academic and public knowledge seems to begin and end with America, the United Kingdom, and Russia.” (p. xxxii)

The Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures is intended to remedy that problem. It presents papers about the intelligence communities and services of 32 European nations that have received varying amounts of attention in Western/English intelligence literature: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Including the UK makes possible a useful comparison and updates recent British studies. The 40 contributors are academics who have written extensively about intelligence. At least eight have intelligence service experience.

In the very informative introduction, the editors review the intelligence literature and discuss the guidance provided to the contributors—parameters intended to establish a basis for comparing intelligence communities and services in the 32 countries. Each article describes an intelligence service and that service’s interaction with its social and political environment. The former Soviet Bloc nations are of particular interest since so little has been published about them in English.

The original papers in The Handbook of European Intelligence Cultures (perhaps the word Sourcebook would be a better descriptor) are a major contribution to the intelligence literature.

[1] Peake, Hayden in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (23, 1 Summer 2017, p. 135). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, Other reviews and articles may be found online at http://www.cia.gov


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