A Secret Well Kept

Title:                      A Secret Well Kept

Author:                Constance Kell

Kell, Constance (2017). A Secret Well Kept: The Untold Story of Sir Vernon Kell, Founder of MI5. London: Conway

OCLC:                    951227161

UB271.G7 K45 2017


Date Posted:      May 5, 2017

Reviewed in The Intelligencer[1]

MI5 was founded in 1909 by Sir Vernon Kell KBE. Kell (“K” within the agency) not only founded MI5 but was also its Director for 31 years, the longest tenure of any head of a British government department during the twentieth century. Kell was also fluent in six foreign languages, making him arguably the most gifted linguist ever to head a Western intelligence agency. This work, written by Kell’s wife, Lady Constance Kell, in the late 1940s, provides insight into the personal life of this important man, from the one person with whom he was most intimate.

Half of the book is devoted to Kell’s life before MI5, the other half to Kell’s his personal life outside MI5 from 1909-1940. We also learn about the key characters and events during Kell’s career with MI5—particularly the key people he worked with and the big spy cases from 1909-18.

[1] Reviewed in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 3, Winter 2016-17, p. 137).

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