A Spy Among Friends

A Spy Among Friends

Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Book - 2014
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s
segalmi
Jan 27, 2019

Fascinating!

c
Charlietwo
Oct 19, 2017

Required reading for all would-be members of the intelligence community in order to avoid the amateurish conduct of the British and American services in the 40's, 50's and 60's.
An excellent history.

d
Dalex_64
Sep 30, 2017

A testament to the power of personality. He was so likable; he so just "fit" their social/cultural milieu. They just didn't want to believe that he was NOT one of them.

Very intriguing. I will have to go back and read more Le Carre and Fleming in light of this amazing true story of WWII and cold war spying and the failure of the Old Boy's network to weed out some of the sociopaths who became double agents.

multcolib_susannel Mar 14, 2016

Greatest British spy or Greatest Cold War Traitor?

True story.

rb3221 Oct 01, 2015

Well written and a very good and riveting story that feels like a novel rather than non-fiction. Macintyre gives us a fascinating account of Philby's friendship with and eventual betrayal of his best friend, and fellow agent Nicholas Elliot and of Angleton, the head of the CIA. Why did Philby become a spy? In Macintyre's view, it was to change the world since "the only bulwark against fascism was Soviet communism... and capitalism was doomed and crumbling." He was an ideological spy that would prove to be staggeringly successful. Philby thought communism was the answer to injustice, poverty and war. Macintyre puts it, "he was the fox not merely guarding the hen-house but building it, running it, assessing its strengths and frailties, and planning its future construction." Incredible but true. His Soviet handler referred to him as 'probably the best ever.'
Macintyre takes the reader through a complex series of events in lives of Philby and Elliot and the other key characters. At one point Elliot comes to Philby's defense when he was suspected and, astonishingly, managed to engineer Philby's return to MI6 (possibly because of the very strong class bound loyalties and rituals within M16).
The big question was whether Philby defected or was allowed to defect. Macintyre strongly suggests the latter as putting him on trail would have shaken the British establishment to the core and clearly shown the huge damage to British intelligence as well as American intelligence under James Angleton (who was 'destroyed' by the defection).
A very enjoyable book, that I would highly recommend. I especially enjoyed the questioning by Elliot trying to get Philby to confess just days before he finally defected.

w
wac6
Jul 10, 2015

A page turner! Hard to put down.

z
zipread
Mar 19, 2015

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal --- by --- Ben Macintyre. Kim Philby’s career stretched from the years before the Second World War to 1963. He started his career as a handler in Britain’s MI6 and then quickly graduated to double agents, selling secrets to the KGB. A product of Britain’s old-boys class system, no one in the upper class to which he belonged ever believe he could possibly be anything but true and loyal to his class, his club, and his country. And so, in spite of suspicions and charges leveled against him by MI5 more middle-classed operatives, Philby continued his skullduggery until the evidence of his wrong-doing was incontrovertibly overwhelming. Only then did Philby show his true hand and flee to Moscow. This is not and Ian Flemming James Bond spy thriller even though Ian Flemming appears briefly in the book, rather it is true fact. It’s about how one person, perhaps mentally bent, delivered up, literally, hundreds of people to his Russian paymasters in exchange for what, money, or in the belief that what he was doing was for the purpose of bringing about a better world. You won’t read this book in one evening but it is interesting and engaging enough that a few nights should see you through this book.

b
BethHawley
Mar 12, 2015

Well written

b
BlueHippo
Mar 01, 2015

I could hardly put this book down. It's like sitting at a table over coffee while the author tells you the story. What a look into this clandestine world!

w
wmstrach
Feb 02, 2015

Brilliantly written and so compelling I stood in Canadian Tire reading it while waiting for my husband to shop. What a brilliant but despicable person Philby was - how could he rationalize sending so many young men to certain death, not to mention the effects of his betrayal on Allied war efforts.

t
Thecatlady
Jan 28, 2015

Very readable. The story is well known but taken from a different perspective. Thought provoking about the way power works in a society.

j
johnlybg
Jan 25, 2015

Excellent book. Well written. Fascinating guide to cold war and WW2 spying. Recommend it highly. Couldn't put it down.

w
Winnipeg1
Dec 20, 2014

Another one of those 'Truth is Stranger ....' tales. Of course I don't know, but I expect the fallout from The Philby/Cambridge 5 spy ring is still felt today throughout the West. Maybe partly why all these agencies are hypervigilant, or seem to be. Brilliantly written, can't put it down.

mvkramer Nov 02, 2014

An intricate, real-life spy thriller that played out over three decades. The story is exceptionally interesting - personally, I was floored at how breathtakingly naive MI6 was in regards to Philby. Philby himself is despicable - an ideologue who tricked everyone around him and sent hundreds of people to their deaths for one of the most brutal and corrupt regimes in history. A quick and informative read!

ChristchurchLib Sep 03, 2014

The revelation in 1963 that British MI6 agent Kim Philby had betrayed Britain to the Soviets for decades, rocked the Western intelligence community. In A Spy Among Friends, acclaimed journalist Ben Macintyre portrays Philby's extensive career and analyzes both his motives for selling out his country and why his treason went undetected for so long. This fascinating account delves into the gentlemen's club that was MI6 at the time Philby worked there - upper-crust acceptance of a man who was "one of us" protected Philby from exposure. Anyone interested in Cold War history or the annals of spycraft will find Macintyre's account both riveting and chilling. History and Current Events newsletter September 2014.

ChristchurchLib Sep 03, 2014

The revelation in 1963 that British MI6 agent Kim Philby had betrayed Britain to the Soviets for decades, rocked the Western intelligence community. In A Spy Among Friends, acclaimed journalist Ben Macintyre portrays Philby's extensive career and analyzes both his motives for selling out his country and why his treason went undetected for so long. This fascinating account delves into the gentlemen's club that was MI6 at the time Philby worked there - upper-crust acceptance of a man who was "one of us" protected Philby from exposure. Anyone interested in Cold War history or the annals of spycraft will find Macintyre's account both riveting and chilling. History and Current Events newsletter September 2014.

ChristchurchLib Sep 03, 2014

The revelation in 1963 that British MI6 agent Kim Philby had betrayed Britain to the Soviets for decades, rocked the Western intelligence community. In A Spy Among Friends, acclaimed journalist Ben Macintyre portrays Philby's extensive career and analyzes both his motives for selling out his country and why his treason went undetected for so long. This fascinating account delves into the gentlemen's club that was MI6 at the time Philby worked there - upper-crust acceptance of a man who was "one of us" protected Philby from exposure. Anyone interested in Cold War history or the annals of spycraft will find Macintyre's account both riveting and chilling. History and Current Events newsletter September 2014.

k
KBesserman
Sep 02, 2014

Macintyre writes great books about espionage and spies. Highly recommend the book if you do not know a lot about the Philby affair.

d
DougKJohnson
May 03, 2014

An excellent example of how truth can be more amazing than fiction. This is a great read - a real page-turner. My first Philby book but I'm now keen to read more.


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