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During her time as DG she pursued a policy of greater openness for MI5, giving the 1994 Dimbleby Lecture on BBC TV and several other public lectures and publishing a booklet about the Service. She was made a Dame Commander of the Bath (DCB) in 1995 and has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the Universities of Nottingham and Exeter. Following her retirement from MI5 in 1996, she has become a Non-Executive Director of Marks & Spencer, BG Group plc and Whitehead Mann GKR. She is Chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research and a member of the Board of the Royal Marsden NHS Trust. She has two daughters and a granddaughter.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099436720
ISBN-10: 0099436728
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 21mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 5-Sep-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » This is the book Whitehall did not want anyone to read, and as a former Director-General of the Security Service, with twenty-seven years' experience of the organisation, one can understand the government's reluctance to encourage insiders to make indiscreet disclosures. However, Dame Stella is the most unlikely person to compromise national security, and she has revealed that the only passage deleted from her manuscript concerned MI5's role in the failed attack by the Provisional IRA on Gibraltar in 1988. On that occasion three well-known Irish republican terrorists, under constant surveillance by MI5 watchers, were shot dead by SAS soldiers before they could detonate their bomb, but Rimington's account does not even acknowledge that MI5 played any role at all in the incident. Packed with mildly amusing anecdotes, usually barbed to take long-delayed swipe at some unfortunate contemporary. This is not a 'hit-and-tell', but more a catalogue of complaints about how her necessarily covert career affected her family, and how her impressive rise in a male-dominated environment supposedly was handicapped by glass ceilings. Her colleagues, unsurprisingly, are dismayed at her hypocrisy, having advised so many retirees to hold their tongues under threat of losing their pensions, and amazed at the number of grievances she has nurtured silently for so long. The impression is of a rather na ve, self-absorbed, competent, chippy bureaucrat who failed to find the confidence that others took for granted, and who appears to have been unable to exercise the power commonly associated with her status and her quite unique responsibility. Has Dame Stella acted 'To Defend the Realm', as MI5's motto requires? Certainly she has presented a remarkable account of her many frustrations, but she will have won no friends in so doing. Review by: Nigel West (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Stella Rimington

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