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Active Measures by Thomas Rid

The subtitle to this book is ‘The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare’, which deftly explains its contents. Rid spills out the guts of what the Russian spies were up to, as well as the Americans, although by Rid’s account, the Russians were fare more active in spreading disinformation against the West, and more dastardly. Covering the period from 1921 to 2017 in six sections, he spells out the tactics demanded by changing technology and geopolitical winds. It is fascinating material and particularly relevant to understanding the current tricks of touting ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’. Unfortunately, what could be scintillating subject matter is written in a style so dull it resembles a textbook. It is a mine of information and insight but requires dedication and commitment.