> Skip to content
  • Published: 14 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847925282
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $43.99

Stars and Spies

The story of Intelligence Operations.




A hugely enjoyable and original history of the interplay between spying and showbiz from Shakespeare to James Bond

A vastly entertaining and unique history of the interaction between spying and showbiz, from the Elizabethan age to the Cold War and beyond.

Throughout history, there has been a consistent crossover between show business and espionage, often producing some of the most extraordinary undercover agents, and occasionallyleading to disastrous and dangerous failures. The fact that one relies on publicity and the other on secrecy might seem to rule out a successful symbiosis; but as both require high levels of creative thinking, improvisation, disguise and role-play, they inevitably attract some remarkably similar personalities.

Stars and Spies is the first history of the interplay between the two worlds. We travel back to the golden age of theatre and intelligence in the reign of Elizabeth I, where we meet the playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe. In the Restoration we encounter in Aphra Behn the first professional female playwright and the first female spy to work for the British government. We visit Civil War America, Tsarist Russia and fin de siècle Paris where some writers, actors and entertainers become efficient and vital agents, while others are put under surveillance by the burgeoning intelligence services.


And as the story moves through the twentieth century and beyond, and the role of spying in word affairs becomes more central, showbiz provides essential cover for agents to gather information while hiding in plain sight. The astonishing array of those who were drafted into the intelligence services includes Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Noel Coward and Alexander Korda. At the same time, spying enters mainstream popular culture, from the adventures of James Bond to the thrillers of John le Carré and long-running TV series such as The Americans.

Written by two experts in their fields - Christopher Andrew, arguably the world's leading intelligence historian, and theatre producer and entertainment historian Julius Green - Stars and Spies is a unique and highly entertaining examination of the fascinating links between the intelligence services and show business.

  • Published: 14 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847925282
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $43.99

About the authors

Chris Andrew

Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Cambridge University, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, in-house historian for MI5, former Visiting Professor of National Security at Harvard University, and guest lecturer at numerous universities. With Oleg Gordievsky, he published KGB – The Inside Story, the book that revealed the identity of the fifth man. He is also the author of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized Official History of MI5. Professor Andrew is also a frequent presenter of BBC TV and radio programmes on history and world affairs.

Julius Green

Julius Green received an MA in history from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he studied under Professor Christopher Andrew. He went on to become one of the UK’s most prolific theatre producers, and has served on the Board of Management of the Society of London Theatre and the Board of Directors of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. He is a Fellow of the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, University of London, and has taught on MA Courses in producing at Birkbeck, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Film and Television School. He is the author of two books, How to Produce a West End Show and Agatha Christie; A Life in Theatre.

Related titles