Zheliazko Stoyanov (1999).
A HISTORY OF ESPIONAGE
Albatros Publishers. pp. 264.
author of this book is a professor at the Faculty of History,
Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and a
senior lecturer at the Higher Institute for Training of
Cadres of the Ministry of the Interior. He is the author
of several monographs ("History and Society";
"Notions on History"; "Clio - Known and Unknown";
"History and Art"), and dozens of studies and
papers. For several years he has lectured on the history
of intelligence and secret services at the Free University
"History of Espionage" was designed and realized
by Dr. Stoyanov as a reference book; this approach determined
to a great extent both its chronological scope and the manner
in which the material was presented and delivered.
author sets himself several tasks. The narrative follows
a chronological principle, which is logical for an historical
reading. The object is to provide answers to several questions:
When and why did the need arise for the social activity
of intelligence? When and how were its highest achievements
realized thus far in world history? This gave Dr. Stoyanov
the basis needed to begin his book with a paragraph on espionage,
"the stuff of legends", envisaging the history
of intelligence from the most ancient times, and ending
the book with a passage dedicated to the "mole"
Aldrich Ames, and the CIA's troubles in the 1990s.
a cursory look at the individual chapters and sections of
this work shows that the author's attention was drawn first
of all to the European history of intelligence and secret
services, but also to the development of the US secret services
during the 19th and 20th centuries. Such an undisguised
"Eurocentrism" (the author relates mainly the
history of intelligence in England, France, and Russia)
can be justified in several ways: first, Dr. Stoyanov is
obviously better acquainted with the history of the European
intelligence and secret services. This explains to a considerable
extent the fact that this section of the secret services'
history has been best elucidated in regard to source-criticism
and historiography. Second, an overall history of espionage
(as its global history) is not possible, due to the lack
of knowledge about these activities - which can be attributed
to its cognitive intricacy - and to its fairly specific
groundings in terms of source-criticism and factography.
out by the author, the approach he uses does not allow an
overview of the complete historical wealth of intelligence
and secret services, but provides a possibility for revealing
those assets that have been and will be of great significance
for their further development. Such circumstances justify
the approach implemented by Dr. Stoyanov; nevertheless,
in his book there is a clear omission: it lacks special
sections on the Bulgarian intelligence and secret services.
The author himself addresses this evident omission with
the promise to prepare and publish "a special study
on this important and extremely intriguing topic".
important to mention that this author has endeavored to
show, and when possible to reveal, the close commitment
of intelligence to the political objectives and actions
of the respective states and statesmen. This aspect becomes
quite clear in the sections dealing with the development
of the English (Wallsingham) and the French (Richelieu and
Mazzarini) secret services in the 16th and the 17th century.
A similar approach is demonstrated in some of the "games"
between the CIA and the KGB, a part of which is an important
component of the establishment and development of a number
of particular political situations during the second half
of the 20th century, some of them assuming global political
recently there was a shortage of such books on the Bulgarian
book market. In this case, it is to Dr. Stoyanov's credit
that he has included in his book several undisputed events
in the world's intelligence and secret services history.
It should also be mentioned that the language and style
of his historical descriptions make the book extremely "reader-friendly".
Nevertheless, on some occasions the author goes too far
in providing certain "spicier" moments of intelligence
history, which freshens the text but creates the danger
of a superficial treatment of the subject matter.
occasion of this book's presentation to the world intelligence
community, I would like to take the liberty of addressing
a few requests to Dr. Stoyanov and to the other authors
of such books. First, we need to consistently and systematically
explain not only the European but also the non-European
history of intelligence and secret services. Second, efforts
must be undertaken to achieve a more successful transition
from the strictly chronological (linear historical) approach
used in the "History of Espionage" by Dr. Stoyanov,
to the chronological-of-principle approach, which strengthens
the presence also of theoretical/analytical aspects in such
readings. In the third place, every author should address
in similar studies the history and the practical experience
of the respective national services.