A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal (Paperback)
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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.
- Published: 13 March 2014
- Format: Paperback 368 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781408851739 ISBN 10: 1408851733
- Sales rank: 5,285
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Reviews for A Spy Among Friends
Sad, But Handled Well
Disclaimer: I received this book for free through the First Reads program. So a tip of the hat to Random House.
Note: The edition I received was a 304-page uncorrected proof.
Macintyre did a good job with this one. His writing is accessible. The book moves at a good pace. It is packed with information, and quotes from first-hand sources are frequent. There are humorous anecdotes, as well as accounts of covert field operations. The Afterword, by John Le Carre, is mostly notes he took from a 1986 interview of Nicholas Elliott.
While Macintyre handled the subject well, one can not escape how depressing the subject is. It's essentially 300 pages of horrible stuff happening. Philby might be the main focus, but the underlying theme is the damage caused by English arrogance and incompetence. There's no way to undo what was done. There's no happy ending. by Brendan Hart