A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

A Spy Among Friends Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal Master storyteller Ben Macintyre s most ambitious work to date brings to life the twentieth century s greatest spy story Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history a brilliant and charming man who ro

  • Title: A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
  • Author: Ben Macintyre John le Carré
  • ISBN: 9780804136631
  • Page: 202
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Master storyteller Ben Macintyre s most ambitious work to date brings to life the twentieth century s greatest spy story.Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War while he was secretly working for the enemy And nobody thought he knew PhiMaster storyteller Ben Macintyre s most ambitious work to date brings to life the twentieth century s greatest spy story.Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War while he was secretly working for the enemy And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby s best friend and fellow officer in MI6 The two men had gone to the same schools, belonged to the same exclusive clubs, grown close through the crucible of wartime intelligence work and long nights of drink and revelry It was madness for one to think the other might be a communist spy, bent on subverting Western values and the power of the free world.But Philby was secretly betraying his friend Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow and not just Elliott s words, for in America, Philby had made another powerful friend James Jesus Angleton, the crafty, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence Angleton s and Elliott s unwitting disclosures helped Philby sink almost every important Anglo American spy operation for twenty years, leading countless operatives to their doom Even as the web of suspicion closed around him, and Philby was driven to greater lies to protect his cover, his two friends never abandoned him until it was too late The stunning truth of his betrayal would have devastating consequences on the two men who thought they knew him best, and on the intelligence services he left crippled in his wake.Told with heart pounding suspense and keen psychological insight, and based on personal papers and never before seen British intelligence files, A Spy Among Friends is Ben Macintyre s best book yet, a high water mark in Cold War history telling.

    One thought on “A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal”

    1. Like so many students, Philby confused communism with a great levelling, an equality among men. So when recruited at 18 by MI6, he sees it as his opportunity to give Russia a helping hand. To be a spy in Britain at that time, you had to be from a certain background, with the essential confidence of being at the top of the social tree. This is what enabled him to get away with, quite literally, murder, for years. One doesn't question one's friends does one? They are all such decent chaps! Like fu [...]

    2. Deceit, disinformation, dissembling, deaths, doubts, dismay, discovery, debriefing, defection, disbelief.Definitely dazzling

    3. What a fascinating subject! This was the first book I've read about a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring, and it was so interesting I plan to read more. Kim Philby worked for British intelligence, but he was secretly sending information to Russia. He defected to the Soviet Union in 1963. (Fun fact: Philby's betrayal inspired some of the novels by John Le Carré.)In this book, Macintyre focuses on Philby's longtime friendship with another British intelligence officer, Nicholas Elliott. We lear [...]

    4. How amused and flattered the infamous British traitor Kim Philby would be to discover he is again the subject of fascinated scrutiny in his home country and in America fifty years after his defection to Moscow. Ben MacIntyre has managed to reignite interest in Philby by presenting the most rounded and detailed picture yet of this uniquely talented and duplicitous man with the use of newly declassified material from MI6 files. Kim Philby rose within the ranks of British Intelligence and gave secr [...]

    5. I wasn't even half-way into this book when I knew it was going to be a 5 star read. The author's fluid writing style could make a book about house cleaning compelling! The story of the Cambridge "old school ties" group of brilliant and charming young men who were the shining lights of British Intelligence during the Cold War is in a word.fantastic. They were led by Kim Philby who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union when in fact he and they were deeply imbedded age [...]

    6. For Americans, the name "Benedict Arnold" is synonymous with traitor. (Arnold was an officer in the Continental Army with a distinguished combat record during the American War of Independence who later changed sides and fought with the British.) Taken in the larger context of the Cold War, the same can be said for Harold Adrian Russell Philby - aka Kim Philby. Philby was one of those men of Britain's interwar generation hailing from a privileged class who, upon graduating from Oxford or Cambridg [...]

    7. (for a more in-depth look at what I think about this book, feel free to journey on over to the nonfiction section of my online reading journal). I'll post my review of this book here because LibraryThing and the publishers sent me this edition, but I have to make a sort of embarrassing confession: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher, but couldn't get started on it right away so I set it aside to be picked up later. When I was ready to read it, which was like 2 wee [...]

    8. I read A Spy Amongst Friends by Ben Macintyre all the way through to the last page of the bibliography. Actually, I read the two pages after that. It's what you do when you can't bear for the story to end. And I already knew the end of this story, but I knew just enough to not know much at all. Really excellent book. Writing non-fiction which has more dazzle and suspense than any novel is a gift. To do it over and over as Mr. Macintyre has done is just pure talent. I researched James Jesus Angle [...]

    9. I was thoroughly engrossed in this book, beginning to end. It provided insight into the behind-the- scenes working of those we entrust with our most important political and military secrets. Harold “Kim” Philby (1912-1988) during the 1940’s and 50’s was an officer in the U.K. secret intelligence service (MI6). All the time he was spying for the Soviet Union remitting many damaging Anglo-American secrets to Moscow. Hundreds died because of his treachery.Ben Macintyre tells the story of Ki [...]

    10. I have read several of Ben Macintyre's books recently and have become convinced he is the go to author on all things related to the history of British Intelligence and Special Operations. In this narrative he tells the story of one of if not the highest Soviet double agent in MI6's history, Kim Philby.The author traces Philby's career from his initial political dissatisfaction of the British upper crust life while a student at Cambridge University through to his defection in 1963. He along with [...]

    11. Alternately gripping and hilarious. Reads like Le Carre and Wodehouse by turns. Astonishing story fluently told by McIntyre. A treat

    12. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!How’s this for knowing how to organise your material? Ben McIntyre’s book opens with the confrontation between Kim Philby, MI6 agent and of course Soviet spy, and Nicholas Elliot, one of Philby’s closest friends and now the man sent to Beirut to break him. Ten years earlier, when suspicions of spying had first attached themselves to Philby, it was Elliot who was his strongest defender. As the decade went on, Elliot remained Philby’s champion and staunchest [...]

    13. Review originally posted on BookLikes: brokentuneoklikes/post/‘I have always operated on two levels, a personal level and a political one. When the two have come into conflict I have had to put politics first.’ – Kim PhilbyAt what cost to others, though? And to what end?Ben Macintyre has gone into a great level of detail to describe Kim Philby's life and provide a background to the circumstances of his defection. However, it is still impossible to know what reasons Philby had for leaking s [...]

    14. How on earth did he get away with it for so long?!Ben Macintyre's latest book answers this question and more in an accessible, enjoyable and informative way.Philby's deceit of MI6 is well known, but the book details more the deceit of his friends and particularly his friend and colleague in SIS, Nicholas Elliot. I find the The Philby case and indeed the whole of the Cambridge 5 fascinating in that the "old boy network" of MI6 just couldn't comprehend that that one of their own (i.e of their clas [...]

    15. One lasting benefit of not paying attention in school history lessons is that I can read books like this without already knowing the ending. And this is a really good one: Kim Philby and Nicholas Elliott are fascinating characters, and their story reads like a fictional spy thriller - although 38 pages of notes and bibliography say otherwise. This is my kind of history book - educational, entertaining, and effortless.

    16. This is labelled as a bestseller but I struggled to really get into it. The first half of the book is so full of names and details about each person mentioned that it was hard to keep track of what was going on. It felt disjointed and it wasn't easy to see how all the facts and people hung together. There was too much information about some seemingly irrelevant figures that confused the main story. In short, it wasn't especially readable and I nearly gave up.I'm glad I finished it as the second [...]

    17. This reads like a novel. Yes, there are some factual errors. Yes, some of the dialog must have been invented. But, it's stunningly good.

    18. Incredible true story about a master spy who had a tremendous impact on operations in British, American, and Soviet intelligence. Graham Greene, John Le Carre, and Ian Fleming all knew him personally, and surely he inspired something in their future spy novels. This is a story that's been told before, this man is a legend, but the author is able to dig deeper into declassified documents and notes Le Carre took from Eliot decades earlier.I listened to the audio read by John Lee who has such an ol [...]

    19. Ben Macintyre is a great writer and, in this latest book, he has turned his attention to Kim Philby – one of the Cambridge Spies. Historically, this book may not offer much that is new, but it does tell the story from a different viewpoint ; that of his friendships, most notably with Nicholas Elliott. In other words, this is not really a straight-forward biography of Philby, but focuses on his personality and on the Old Boy network that enabled him to evade detection for so long. The book begi [...]

    20. Philby is probably one of the best known and notorious spies in history. For decade he kept his ideological master in Moscow fed with top secret intelligence, from his reporting in the Spanish Civil war and form the moment that he gained access to the most exclusive club in England, MI6.Philby was a charmer. He made friends easily, was well connected and had what seemed to be almost limitless confidence. His entry into MI6 was effortless, the vetting process comprising of the deputy head of MI6 [...]

    21. This book is hard to classify: it is a biography of perhaps the most famous traitor of the modern era, but is written as a series of anecdotes compiled by author Ben Macintyre. To a large extent, the book portrays Kim Philby as a suave, gregarious member of the Old Boy network, taking advantage of his closest friends, especially Nicholas Elliot and James Angleton. In my opinion, there were too many characters, perhaps a tool to deflect attention from the lack of verifiable facts and conversation [...]

    22. Just fascinating!I listened to the audiobook and was completely hooked from start to finish. How Kim Philby was able to fool all his friends, family, MI6, and the CIA is amazingly depicted in this nonfiction account. His betrayal for many years as a double agent for the KGB took everyone by shocking surprise. Wonderfully told was the intricately weaved story of the Cambridge 5. A spy ring of British upper class students graduating to MI6 and then turning to the KGB under the misunderstood ideali [...]

    23. Still as riveting as everything else Macintyre writes, but this book is definitely less fun than ZigZag or Double Cross. In fact, it's downright depressing. And how could it be otherwise? At its heart, this book is about a terrible, immeasurably costly betrayal. While the book describes the life of Kim Philby, the infamous Russian double-agent who actually headed counterintelligence the USSR, it doesn't ever really explain the man himself, possibly because with Philby, it's not really possible t [...]

    24. Crossposted at Booklikes.Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley. Perhaps one of the most famous spy rings in history is the Cambridge Five. They have a nice little bit in the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C and there are countless books and films either about the members or inspired by the members. So why read this one? Because it is a different perspective on the whole Kim Philby story. It’s the story that everyone in the public wonders. How did he get away with it for so long? Macinty [...]

    25. Ben Macintyre, has written an amazing account of Kim Philby, who deceived family friends and country because of his ideology and faith in communism. He believed that communism was the way to bring world peace. He set out to do everything he could to further his cause in the 1930's during and after his days at Cambridge. He was recruited by the KGB and was sent to Spain as a journalist to gather intel on what the fascists were doing. The KGB encouraged him join the British Intelligence Service wh [...]

    26. I received an uncorrected proof from Crown Publishers as part of a Giveaway. Available in the USA in July 2014.Ben Macintyre's A Spy Among Friends is exactly what you'd expect if you've ever read any of his other books. It's a meticulously researched and skillfully written account of Kim Philby, the ultimate deceiver who spied for the Soviet Union during World War II and the Cold War. Philby was a master actor who managed to hide his true motives, and Macintyre does a great job of showing the d [...]

    27. Beware the old boy network, not just the spies and crooks who connive themselves into top positions, but their unwitting enablers who accept them for merely being, on the exterior “like” them. Author Ben MacIntyre shows how this network’s values of trust and loyalty made it incapable of policing itself.Kim Philby may be the most successful counter-agent ever. He fooled the top spies in Britain and the US. He believed in communism as a youth and through Stalin's purges (inclusive of his han [...]

    28. It was an interesting book, but as the author pointed out some of the official files are still undisclosed, so we can't get full picture of the events.❋ [] a Latvian named Ozolin-Haskins[]There is such surname as Ozoliņš not Ozolin. Haskins is not Latvian name/surname.[]Latvian seaman called Villi Maris[]Villi- is not a Latvian name (but there is Vilis) however there is no such surname as Maris. Māris is a given name not a surname. ❋ I didn't count how often Guy Burgess was mentioned but [...]

    29. Once again, Ben Macintyre draws you in so that you feel as though you have met this extraordinary man - a fascinating yet chilling true story.If there was a spy who could be called a star it would be Kim Philby. Fooling friends, family and fellow spies (the latter not only in MI6 and MI5 but globally), Philby was the supreme artist in this field. Charming, witty, outrageous and mischievous, he escaped detection of his dark deception for decades. It is Nicholas Elliott in particular who captures [...]

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