The Rise and Fall of Intelligence: An International Security History, Michael Warner

Reviewed by James J. Wirtz



Although the art of espionage is timeless, the practice of “intelligence” is a relatively recent phenomenon. By the middle of the nineteenth century, spies had begun undertaking new police and surveillance missions while also adopting new analytic techniques that produced reports containing more than just stolen secrets. By the early twentieth century, these developments had coalesced to form professionalized, government organizations that engaged in many of the functions—code making and breaking, scientific and social analysis, data “fusion,” surveillance, and counterintelligence—that we associate with modern intelligence institutions. Today, individuals use information technologies to undertake activities that were once limited to the great powers. State domination of intelligence might in fact be waning as various nonstate actors, virtual organizations, and individuals play an ever more active role in an emerging digital age of surveillance.

In this lively history, Michael Warner describes how modern intelligence organizations emerged from the social, political, economic, and technological developments that occurred during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and how these same organizations have, in turn, shaped these very same developments. Warner is not particularly interested in providing the details of famous,

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons, Herbert Lin Reviewed by James J. Wirtz

Assessing Futures Intelligence: Looking Back on Global Trends 2025, James J. Wirtz and ROGER Z. GEORGE

From Quills to Tweets: How America Communicates about War and Revolution, Andrea J. Dew, Marc A. Genest and S.C.M. Paine Reviewed by James J. Wirtz

The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy: Why Strategic Superiority Matters, Matthew Kroenig Reviewed by James J. Wirtz

The Politics of Weapons Inspections: Assessing WMD Monitoring and Verification Regimes, Nathan E. Busch and Joseph F. Pilat Reviewed by James J. Wirtz

more by this author

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


A Purple Agenda For The Next Four Years
June 20, 2024
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. ET


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS