Chapter IV – goodbye to wildlife?

In this heartfelt chapter of The Frightened Face of Nature, Maxwell Knight drops his guard and invites the reader to consider the unthinkable - "the virtual disappearance of nature". "Does such a question as that heading this chapter stem from the neurotic imaginings of a fanatic," he asks, "or is it one that can reasonably be [...]

Maxwell Knight – the spy-runner who loved nature

Maxwell Knight was the original “M”, a spy-runner who, with the help of young case officers, was responsible for counter-subversion and managed successfully to penetrate the British fascist movement. He was undeniably MI5’s most gifted agent-runner, and his sixth sense for enlisting would-be talented agents lead to him recruiting Joan Miller from within MI5 to [...]

BIRD GARDENING – HOW DID IT START?

Knight the pioneer: How did 'bird gardening' become established in British life? Simon King reveals its origins in the ideas and writing of the famous WW2 spy catcher - none other than Maxwell Knight. The practice of putting out food for birds in gardens is more popular now than ever before, with more than half [...]

How did ‘bird gardening’ become established in British life?

Simon King and Margaret Cooper reveal its origins in the ideas and writing of the famous WW2 spy catcher – none other than Maxwell Knight. Available in this week's Cage & Aviary Birds Magazine

Maxwell Knight and The Frightened Face of Nature

M’s (Maxwell Knight) Spectre: The Frightened Face of Nature

During the 1960s Maxwell Knight - the real-life "M" - was working on a manuscript entitled The Frightened Face of Nature, snatching brief moments to record his thoughts on how man had treated nature so unfairly for the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The manuscript documented Knight's greatest fears that, time was running out for nature and that its greatest threat was man's destructive revolution and the reverse of evolution. “By all means let man use his great powers to invent new devices; let him give of his best to see that all shall benefit from his genius in curing, healing, and housing those in want. But do not suggest that this can only be done by destroying what is fine to look at or listen to, whether in the arts or nature. If human brains can find means of defying space, improving means of communication and bouncing pictures off satellites, surely he can also discover ways in which these things can be done without destruction – for destruction first is the cry of mad revolution and is the reverse of evolution.” - Maxwell Knight The manuscript was kept under lock and key and it remained a secret until 2015 when the (hitherto unpublished) manuscript was discovered inside M's personal filing cabinet... Copyright: see acknowledgements