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Under Every Leaf: How Britain Played the Greater Game from Afghanistan to Africa

544 pages7 hours


‘Anywhere in the world, where a leaf moves, underneath you will find an Englishman.’ – Farsi proverb

Much has been written about espionage, secret agents and MI6 missions abroad – but what of the origins of British Intelligence as we know it today? This is the story of intelligence at the height of the British Empire and the characters that shaped its narrative.

William Beaver delves into the mysterious Intelligence Division of the War Office, whose shrewd observations and analysis of international events provided the basis for modern military espionage and changed the landscape of the British Empire from India to South Africa. Focusing on the years between the Crimean War and the formation of MI5 and MI6 at the start of the twentieth century, Beaver charts the Intelligence Division’s course from a misunderstood army unit to an elite body central to the British military.

Under Every Leaf is a rollicking adventure into the minds behind the muscle of the British Army – their successes, sacrifices and expertise in weaving a global net of information.

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