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    A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal (Hardback) By (author) Ben Macintyre

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    DescriptionKim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War. Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and well-made suits in the comfortable clubs and restaurants of London and Washington; of male friendships forged, and then systematically betrayed. With access to newly released MI5 files and previously unseen family papers, and with the cooperation of former officers of MI6 and the CIA, this definitive biography unlocks what is perhaps the last great secret of the Cold War.


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  • Serving two Masters5

    thomas koetzsch Hundreds of books have been written about the Kim Philby affair and I haven’t read a single one of them. Ben Macintyre’s book is the first one I picked up on this issue. The story is fairly simple but I won’t repeat it here, it is all in the book anyway. What struck me is how well one advances in these circles with the ‘one of us’ pedigree and upbringing. I also seem to recall that it was quite fashionable in the 1930s to flirt with communism. In that respect Philby isn’t terribly unusual. Since he was one of us (well one of them would be the proper expression here) he probably could have lived openly as a communist and still have advanced quite far.

    As I read the book it was fairly obvious to me that Philby was encouraged to make ‘run for it’ in Beirut. From an SIS point of view this must have appeared as a far better solution than bringing 30-years of dirty laundry into the open. The only other solution I could see would have been to have him met with an unfortunate accident.

    The afterword by John Le Carre I found quite good. Towards the end, he mentions that during a trip to Moscow in 1987 he was invited to meet Philby and (presumably) help him write his memoirs. Those memoirs were written by Genrikh Borovik and published as The Philby Files, claiming that it reveals all KGB archives on the subject. In the next volume, the KGB (or its successor) will no doubt allow their files to be read onsite.

    All told, I liked Ben Macintyre;s book. by thomas koetzsch

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