Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal


A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great BetrayalA Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, was this book GOOD! Humans are so hard to figure out, and Kim Philby--"the greatest spy in history"--was no exception. He was loved and idolized by friends and colleagues in Britain's counterintelligence unit during a career that spanned 30 years. From the time he began working at M16, he led a double life as a spy for the Soviet Union. Philby was a man who seemed perfectly comfortable with the wealth and position he inherited. Yet while at Cambridge University, he became a communist. He was never, it seems, a true believer. So why did he risk losing friends, family, country for a cause he scarcely believed in?  The author confesses that he does not know, but he suggests, among other reasons, that Philby was addicted to the game of espionage. One of the more entertaining chapters in this page-turner is Chapter Four, "Boo, Boo, Baby, I'm a Spy," in which Macintyre describes what it was like to be a spy in wild and wacky Istanbul during WW II. Whatever you do, don't miss Chapter Four.


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