A Spy Among Friends

A Spy Among Friends

Ben MacIntyre 2014

Recommendation: previous books

Reading "Double Cross" Link and hearing about the Enigma code-breaking made you feel a degree of Nationalistic pride; reading this makes you cringe with embarrassment at the naivety of our "Intelligence Services" during World War II and the Cold War.

Their reliance on the "Old Boy Network" for recruitment, on the basis that if your father was trustworthy and you went to the right school, you were bound to be "all right", and an almost complete absence of other background checks seems completely pathetic with hindsight.

However, in their favour, Kim Philby's personality was extremely unusual as well as being malign. The average observer would simply not expect someone with Philby's lifestyle - flamboyant and gregarious, to be so completely committed to the communist cause, even to the extent of considering the atrocities committed by Stalin to be a minor blip in the overall scheme of things.

It makes for a good story (and some aspects were indeed used by John le Carre in his spy novels), but your heart goes out to Nicholas Elliott who received betrayal in return for friendship.

Excellent & Recommended.

September 2018

Janet July 15 2019 56 reads 0 comments 0 ratings Print

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