Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Rated:  4 

This book kept me listening far into the night. I never did get a feeling for what made this guy tick. I just can't imagine being able to  maintain the kind of facade necessary to pull off a deception on this scale.  What did he think he was doing?  I finally came to the conclusion that he was just hooked on thrill of being able to hoodwink so many people.  He couldn't have given any thought to how many lives he ruined.  I don't think he could have lived with himself if he had.

Publisher's Summary

Master storyteller Ben Macintyre's most ambitious work to date offers a powerful new angle on the 20th 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.
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