Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre, 384 pages

Ben Macintyre begins this book by saying lots has already been written about the English Spy Kim Philby, who was recruited by the Soviets while he attended Cambridge University, prior to World War II.

Philby was hired at MI6 during the war and worked there until the early 1950s when he was ousted because of questions of his loyalty.  He finally admitted he was a double agent in the early 1960s and fled England for the Soviet Union.

The book focuses mostly on his relationship with Nicholas Elliott, a fellow MI6 agent, who practically had to be hit over the head with the evidence against Philby before he would believe "the old boy" could possibly be a spy.

The implications of Philby's long spying career rocked not only British, but also American intelligence agencies.  Philby was well liked on both sides of the pond and had cultivated many friends in order to pass on as much information as possible to the Soviets.

Philby spied for ideological reasons, but even faced with the reality of the failures of communism refused to change his mind or his ways.  Quite the interesting read!

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