Kim Philby, the so-called Third Man in the Cambridge spy ring, was the Cold War's most infamous traitor, a Soviet spy at the heart of British intelligence. Philby joined Britain's secret service MI6 during the war and went on to head the section tasked with rooting out Russian spies before becoming the service's chief liaison officer with the CIA. He betrayed hundreds of British and US agents to the Russians and compromised numerous operations inside the Soviet Union.
Tim Milne was Philby's closest and oldest friend. They studied at Westminster School together and when Philby joined MI6 he immediately recruited Milne as his deputy. Philby's treachery was a huge blow to Milne and, after he retired, he wrote a highly revealing description of Philby's time in the secret service.
Publication of the memoirs was banned by MI6 but, after Milne's death in 2010, his family were determined that this insider's account of the Philby affair be published. Edited to include newly released top-secret documents showing how the KGB's master spy managed to fool MI6 even after he defected to Moscow, this is the final word on one of the world's most notorious spies by the MI6 colleague who knew him best, the insider account of the Philby affair that Britain's spy chiefs did not want you to hear.
©2014 Oakhill Publishing (P)2014 Tim Milne
"Elegant and rich in detail, it provides intriguing glimpses of the man who would become the 20th century's most notorious British spy and traitor." (Mail on Sunday)
"An often intimate portrait of the Third Man, candid in its assessments." (The Telegraph)
"[Milne] explains one of the most enduring mysteries surrounding the notorious Soviet spy." (The Guardian)
I love history, crime and thrillers, biographies and almost anything by the BBC.
After reading this personal account by Tim Milne and his relationship to Kim Philby I am not much the wiser about the ins and outs of the actual spying charges or the misdeeds of Philby. This did not distract from my enjoyment of the book as in some ways the author's description of his upper class education at a certain time in Great Britain and his subsequent service in the War Office and then the Secret Services offers an interesting view of the social history of Britain and of the people who were influential in its development.
The author was often suspected of not telling the truth when he declared he was totally unaware of Philby's 'secret life but I think the whole point of being a spy is to be able to separate oneself from one's normal social life and one's secret life. On a lesser scale there have been men who had two wives and families without ever betraying themselves until being found out by authorities. It has definitely aroused my interest and as soon as other books dealing with the actual spying and geopolitics are in audible versions I will be one of the first to order them.
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