Sunday, November 15

A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

Kim Philby is one of history’s greatest spies. During the cold war he rose the ranks of Britain’s counterintelligence. What none of his colleagues, especially his friend Nicholas Elliott, knew was that Philby was secretly sending intelligence to Moscow. In A Spy Among Friends Ben Macintyre recounts the story of Philby, paying specific attention to the relationship between Philby and Nicolas Elliott.

From the beginning, Macintyre is careful to note that this is not a biography of Kim Philby. Rather, seeks to show the friendship between Philby and Elliott. Furthermore, much of the story is shrouded in mystery since so many files from the MI6, CIA, and KGB are locked. As such, Macintyre attempts to do the best he can from secondary sources. With those caveats, he manages to put together quite a thorough sounding story.

Unfortunately, despite the intriguing premise, I ended up having a hard time getting into this book. I found Macintyre’s writing to be dry and many times he spends a lot of time describing different sections of the story that didn’t feel like they need told it as much detail.  There were certainly a few thrilling and tense moments, however they were few and far between.

Fans of other books by Macintyre will likely enjoy this one. However, between the dry writing and filler information that I didn’t find interesting, I found it difficult to get through.

2/5 Stars
I received this book free from Random House as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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