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  • A Spy Among Friends

  • Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
  • By: Ben Macintyre
  • Narrated by: Michael Tudor Barnes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (143 ratings)

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A Spy Among Friends

By: Ben Macintyre
Narrated by: Michael Tudor Barnes
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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre, read by Michael Tudor Barnes.

The Sunday Times number-one best-selling story of Kim Philby, history’s most famous traitor, featuring an afterword by John le Carré.

Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.

Philby’s two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity, of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience, of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and well-made suits in the comfortable clubs and restaurants of London and Washington, of male friendships forged and then systematically betrayed.

With access to newly released MI5 files and previously unseen family papers, and with the cooperation of former officers of MI6 and the CIA, this definitive biography unlocks what is perhaps the last great secret of the Cold War.

©2014 Ben Macintyre. Afterword copyright © David Cornwell 2014. (P)2021 Soundings Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"An engaging book on a tantalising and ultimately tragic subject, If it starts as a study of friendship, it ends as an indictment." (Philip Hensher, Spectator)

"No one writes about deceit and subterfuge so dramatically, authoritatively or perceptively. To read A Spy Among Friends is a bit like climbing aboard a runaway train in terms of speed and excitement - except that Macintyre knows exactly where he is going and is in total control of his material." (Daily Mail, Books of the Week)

"It reads like fiction, which is testament to the extraordinary power of the story itself but also to the skills of the storyteller...at least as compelling as any of the great fictionalised accounts of Britain's greatest traitor and one of the best real-life spy stories one is ever likely to read." (Daily Express)

What listeners say about A Spy Among Friends

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incompetence at the highest level

My God, how did the West even survive. institutionalised incompetence and extraordinary entrenched class bias. I had no idea of the slap dash organisation structure of British Intelligence. l highly recommend this book. well read it never gets boring

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Riveting

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author gives us an insight into the workings of the covert world of spying and explains how the class system impacted the British services. The personalities of the characters are well drawn and thoroughly engaging.

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Great story. Amazing storytelling!

I like stories that have base in reality and yet mesmerise you to the very end. This is one such book.

If you're unfamiliar with who Philby was, this book will feel especially fun. My only criticism is the author refrains from praising Philby for the way he played the system.

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Incredible story of an amazing Spy

Well documented account of a most important spy figure in the past 100 years. It follows the life of Kym Philby and his closest colleagues and friends with great detail

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Great story proving that truth is stranger than fiction

Well written story and brilliantly read. Engaged from start and could not stop listening. Will be catching up with author again.

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Excellent

I really enjoyed this book, and the narrator, opened my eyes to a whole new world!

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Utterly brilliant

A superb recounting of an enigma who intrigued me for many years- I highly recommend this.

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Totally captivating!

A brilliant & enthralling page turner that I listened to with hardly a break. it was so much like a spy fiction that I had to pinch myself and say ' this actually happened'.

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Even better and better.

I realise that this book was written some years ago but I think that is probably the best and the narration is just excellent. How mortified Elliott must have been when he found out that he had been deceived for more than 30 years. That said none of the three spies ended up being stuck in Moscow for the duration of their lives. The thought of Philby carefully ironing his two week copy of the Times and analysing the cricket scores is too tragic to imagine. However, Philby was responsible for many hundreds of deaths is a just desert for such a monster obedient to the Marxist cause. Incredible story and what a wonderful narrative historian McIntyre is. I look forward to reading and listening to Colditz.

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Brings it to life!

Superb unpacking of the story that’s been told before but not like this. Don’t miss John LeCarre’s notes at the end!

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