Paul Cantor on the Elizabethan Surveillance State


Well before the 20th century, many states were doing all they could to monitor their citizens' activities as closely and comprehensively as possible. England in particular has a long history of spying on its own people. Under such spymasters as Lord Burghley and Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's court pioneered many of the techniques and practices we associate with international espionage to this day, including code-breaking and the use of double and even triple agents. A fascinating book could be written on the surveillance state in Elizabethan England. Unfortunately, Paul Cantor reports, Stephen Alford's The Watchers is not it.