‘Be a Nature Detective’ by Maxwell Knight (1968) – natural history tradecraft from Britain’s greatest spymaster and the original ‘Nature Detective’ courtesy of the BBC

It certainly wasn't appropriate for Maxwell Knight to share his spy training during his Sunday afternoon BBC broadcasts, or was it? Surely not? Perish the thought. But, what if his broadcasts and books contained the same basic training (the same 'tradecraft') he was giving MI5 recruits? As far as Knight was concerned, the two were [...]

Why can’t we all become amateur naturalists?

It is nigh impossible to change the culture of a business let alone change the culture of a planet; however, it is possible - but everything's against us. Which is why we all need to start today. Take, for example, the food that we eat: how on Earth (literally!) are we going to provide enough [...]

Maxwell Knight and The Frightened Face of Nature manuscript

Nature: friend or foe?

“Many people think that animals of all kinds can be neatly put into groups and labelled Friend, or Foe; or Harmless, or Harmful. Unfortunately, nature does not work like this, and there are very few creatures in this country that can be described as wholly beneficial or equally destructive…  This business of friends and foes [...]

It’s true, Maxwell Knight’s notoriety isn’t without controversy…

His skills were honed as a member of Rotha Lintorn-Orman’s British Fascists who imported the ideology of Fascism. He was the group’s spymaster and managed to assemble a large number of amateur sleuths, who reported regularly on Communist group activity. It was his success during these pre-war Fascist interventions that made him a must-have recruit for [...]