This was an undercover operation so secret that some of our most senior police officers had no idea it existed. The job of the clandestine unit was to monitor British 'subversives' - environmental activists, anti-racist groups, animal rights campaigners.
They used sex, intimate relationships and drugs to build their credibility. They betrayed friends, deceived lovers, even fathered children. And their operations continue today.
Undercover reveals the truth about secret police operations - the emotional turmoil, the psychological challenges and the human cost of a lifetime of deception - and asks whether such tactics can ever be justified.
'Undercover lays bare the deceit, betrayal and cold-blooded violation, practised again and again by undercover officers - troubling, timely and brilliantly executed.' (Henry Porter)
'Overexcitable publishers like to bandy around words such as "explosive" and "shocking" when trying to flog their books, even though generally you could substitute them for ones such as "mildly interesting". Not with Undercover, though ... doggedly written and researched by Guardian journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, the revelations in its pages are genuinely explosive ... it's the steady accumulation of detail that's so compelling. The testimony of person after person who was taken in, deceived, gulled, who knew the officers for years - who thought of them as best friends, or lovers, or life partners, or the father of their children, who had no inkling that they were part of an elaborate state-sponsored spy-ring that intruded on the most intimate parts of their lives.' (Carole Cadwalladr, Observer)
'Undercover is not just a book; it's a sensation ... it's terrific and important journalism.' (Jenni Russell, Sunday Times)
'Were these stories not real, they would read like an airport thriller ... Undercover compels the reader throughout, which is a testament to the investigative and writing skills of Evans and Lewis ... The work of these authors is one of the best arguments in favour of a free press you'll ever read.' (Alan White, New Statesman)
'What makes this book so utterly absorbing is not the politics or policing, but the people.' (David Aaronovitch, The Times)
'With luck, the grotesqueries revealed in this powerful book will fire some of the old free and radical British spirit again.' (Bernard Porter, Guardian)
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About this author
Paul Lewis, the Guardian's Special Projects Editor, is the journalist behind revelations about police involvement in the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests. He is the winner of the Bevins Prize for Outstanding Investigative Journalism and was voted Journalist of the Year and the British Press Awards 2010. Rob Evans, a Guardian reporter since 1999, has won awards for exposing corruption such as BAE's corrupt payments and for his freedom of information work. He is the author of Gassed, a book published in 2000 revealing British chemical warfare experiments on soldiers.