Friday, May 2, 2014

starting off the month with an incredible book: A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal, by Ben Macintyre

Crown, 2014 (July)
384 pp


My very grateful thanks to Crown and to LibraryThing's early reviewers program for my copy of this book.

I have been a huge fan of Ben Macintyre since I read his Operation Mincemeat; I've devoured every book he's written since and have never been disappointed. And once again he delivers with his newest book, A Spy Among Friends, which is, in his words, "not another biography of Kim Philby," ... "less about politics, ideology and accountability than personality, character, and a very British relationship that has never been explored before." Macintyre notes also that the "book does not purport to be the last word on Kim Philby," but rather "it seeks to tell his story in a different way, through the prism of personal friendship..." and his work succeeds on every possible level: impeccable research, the very-well developed investigation of Kim Philby's dual character, and frankly, despite the fact that it's nonfiction, it reads like a highly-polished, top-tier espionage novel,, making it reader-friendly  for anyone at all interested in the subject.   This book is, in fact, one of the best I've read this year. 

If you'd like to learn more about it, I've written about it on the nonfiction page of this reading journal -- just click here to get there. It is, in one word, stellar.


  1. This sounds intriguing, and I've been remotely interested in Kim Philby, as I remember my father reading books about him.

    But I don't have the time with lots of books insisting on being read, and my TBR lists and stacks growing like weeds.

    1. I hear you -- I love reading what's new, but then I leave what's older sitting on the shelves, and I have been bypassing some pretty good books. But I have this thing for real-life spies (and fictional ones too) -- and this author always delivers.

  2. Yes, my father was fascinated by spies during the Cold War, and he also liked John Le Carre's books.

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