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.