the-history-of-thieves-coverThe History Thieves by Ian Cobain (Portobello, £20)

In his new book The History Thieves, investigative reporter Ian Cobain argues that the British government’s “culture of secrecy” has existed for 200 years. During this time, huge amounts of sensitive information have been concealed, concerning everything from the existence of wartime code-cracking centre Bletchley Park to secret wars in Indonesia in the 1960s. There is often secrecy about secrecy, which makes it harder to prevent.

The first Official Secrets Act, which concerned “disclosure of information” and “breach of official trust,” was passed in…

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