Operation Chiffon: The Secret Story of MI5 and MI6 and the Road to Peace in Ireland (Paperback)
  • Operation Chiffon: The Secret Story of MI5 and MI6 and the Road to Peace in Ireland (Paperback)
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Operation Chiffon: The Secret Story of MI5 and MI6 and the Road to Peace in Ireland (Paperback)

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Paperback 400 Pages
Published: 28/03/2024
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Waterstones Says

The jaw-dropping and inspirational account of the eponymous intelligence operation that worked for decades to bring about peace in Northern Ireland, Taylor's volume spotlights vital work that has hitherto been hidden from public view.

On the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, Peter Taylor tells for the first time the gripping story of Operation Chiffon, the top-secret intelligence operation that helped bring peace to Ireland.

April 1998: the Good Friday Agreement is signed, ending decades of violence and bloodshed in Northern Ireland. The process of getting the IRA to end its so-called ‘armed struggle’ was always the prerequisite of the search for peace. It was Operation Chiffon that finally helped make it possible.

Operation Chiffon takes us inside the top-secret intelligence operation whose roots go back to the bloodiest years of the conflict in the early 1970s, involving officers from MI6 and, later in the 1990s, MI5. The remarkable story, which has remained hidden for forty years, is now revealed by legendary BBC journalist Peter Taylor with unique access to the officers involved. Drawing on exclusive interviews and Taylor’s fifty years of covering the conflict, the book narrates in first-hand detail how those involved risked their careers – and their lives – to help secure the fragile peace that exists today.

Taylor vividly brings this covert operation to life and in the process chronicles the history of Sinn Féin, rising from obscurity in the early days of the Troubles to becoming the largest political party in Ireland today. It is a story fraught with uncertainty and danger that, as Brexit risks destabilising what was achieved in the Good Friday Agreement twenty-five years ago, is more important than ever to remember.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781526659644
Number of pages: 400
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A gripping exploration of how MI5 and MI6 worked for a ceasefire with the IRA – and how one meeting changed everything - Christopher Andrew, Telegraph

Operation Chiffon is a compelling, exhilarating historical account. A significant journalistic “scoop” for the author, it is also an authoritative, scholarly, insightful and balanced treatment of one of the most extraordinary intelligence cases of modern times … Taylor is a master at juxtaposing scenes … It is these small but significant details that not only draw in Taylor’s audience but ultimately bring to life his magnum opus - Dr Paul Winter, Critic

Peter Taylor spent nearly four decades tracking down Robert to piece together the final details of his secret 1993 meeting with the IRA’s chief of staff, Martin McGuinness. Last week, Mr Taylor finally broadcast an extraordinary interview with Robert … which laid bare the clandestine encounter and its far-reaching implications … It may generally be economic, political, and social forces that shape our history. But sometimes it takes the actions of an individual to channel the forces of their age to produce change - Church Times

Absorbing … timely … The secretive, delicate, and complex machinations of [Operation Chiffon] are skilfully woven through a comprehensive retelling of the Troubles by Taylor … The author expertly captures that story here, of a collective effort by many resolute individuals, so that they will never be forgotten in what they did - Irish Independent

The BBC correspondent Peter Taylor, who has reported on Northern Ireland for 50 years and earned the trust of all sides, tells the extraordinary story of Operation Chiffon in his latest book . . . The book is also the story of three unsung heroes of the peace process . . . The third man Taylor profiles, named only as Robert, was the MI5 officer who took over management of the back channel in the 1990s. Robert’s is a true tale of espionage, a mixture of the dangerous and the humdrum . . . While some peacemakers received the Nobel prize and presidents attended the funerals of others, Taylor draws our attention to those whose crucial behind-the-scenes contributions went unnoticed - Sean O'Neill, The Times

In this compelling account, the author and documentary-maker describes how decades of covert communications between the British government and the IRA eased the path to the Good Friday agreement – helped by an unlikely hero . . . A deeply researched and highly readable book - Ian Cobain, Observer

PRAISE FOR PETER TAYLOR: What an extraordinary asset Peter Taylor is for the BBC and for British journalism - Jonathan Freedland, bestselling author of 'The Escape Artist'

Only a journalist of Taylor's standing could have persuaded people from all sides in the conflict to cooperate in such a manner. The result was a first-rate piece of journalism. It was also first-rate history - Guardian on 'Provos', 'Loyalists' and 'Brits'

If you long for honesty, reason and reflection amongst the firestorm of today’s news, you will find it here. Taylor walks in the steps of Richard Dimbleby, Frank Gillard, Rene Cutforth and James Cameron, a reporter who can face human horror and help us comprehend it - Gillian Reynolds on Peter Taylor

If you were drawing up a list of TV grandees, you might scrawl down David Attenborough's name alongside that of Trevor McDonald . . . There's also an argument to place in their company Peter Taylor . . . To report on the region since 1972 and have all sides still talking to you with trust and respect – be they Green, Orange or even shadowy MI6 men – is quite an achievement. As perhaps is the fact he is still breathing - The Times on Peter Taylor

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