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Under Every Leaf: How Britain Played the Greater Game from Afghanistan to Africa

491 pages11 hours


Delving into an encyclopaedic array of little-known primary sources, William Beaver uncovers a vigorous intelligence function at the heart of Victoria’s Empire. A cadre of exceptionally able and dedicated officers, they formed the War Office Intelligence Division, which gave Britain’s foreign policy its backbone in the heyday of imperial acquisition.

Under Every Leaf is the first major study to examine the seminal role of intelligence gathering and analysis in ‘England’s era’. So well did Great Britain play her hand, it seemed to all the world that, as the Farsi expression goes, ‘Anywhere a leaf moves, underneath you will find an Englishman.’

The historian William Beaver is also a soldier, corporate communicator, arts editor and Anglican priest.

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