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Kim Philby: The Unknown Story of the KGB's Master Spy Hardcover – September 2, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The demons which drove the proudly English Kim Philby to betray his country, its people and especially his MI6 colleagues have never before been so intimately examined and explained. A fascinating look into the mind of a tragic figure by his oldest and closest friend." Chapman Pincher, author of Their Trade is Treachery and Dangerous To Know "A fascinating, very personal account of Philby's treachery from his SIS colleague, teenage travelling companion and schoolboy friend who was left utterly betrayed. This is a unique insight from an insider." Nigel West, author of The Crown Jewels and Operation Garbo "[Milne] explains one of the most enduring mysteries surrounding the notorious Soviet spy." The Guardian "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 "There are some good anecdotes here - the cricketing recollections are Milne's - and some interesting suggestions that Philby wasn't such a big boozer as he's usually cracked up to be. Was this a pretence too? Yet what stands out above all is just how little bitterness Milne felt. Philby, he wrote, 'enriched my world for many years', and Milne clearly didn't want anything, not even treachery, to soil the memory of that: 'I do not feel bitterness towards him, only sadness.'" John Preston, The Daily Mail " "Tim Milne's finely written and refreshingly unhysterical book... Milne gives fascinating and revealing accounts of his friend's behaviour and attitudes. It might seem that by now Philby as a subject had been done to death, but as these two books amply illustrate, he is still a source of fascination and wonderment." John Banville, The Guardian "The book offers a fascinating glimpse of the charismatic Philby." William Chislett, El Imparcial "A workmanlike, honest account that unpeels a lifetime's friendship with the man whose treachery cost thousands of lives."Ben Felsenburg, Metro

About the Author

Tim Milne OBE was the nephew of Winnie the Pooh writer AA Milne, retired from SIS in October 1968 and never spoke publicly of his friendship with Kim Philby. He later wrote a full and frank account of his association which was accepted for publication. When he submitted it to MI6 for approval, he was told that not a word of this account of the truth about Philby was ever to be published. Following Milne’s death in 2010 his family decided to finally release it.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing; First Edition edition (September 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849546991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849546997
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard Frost on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the only first-hand account I have ever read of Philby by a close friend, professional colleague and career intelligence officer and is excellently written. The account of Philby's time at Westminster and their travels together through central Europe during university holidays to me is absolutely fascinating as are the lengthy chapters on work and life in Section V of the SIS. While Milne does not excuse Philby's actions, he comes closer to providing reasons than anything else I've seen in print. Clearly, Philby was a person who inspired great loyalty and even admiration among his friends and colleagues in the British service, the writer Graham Greene being just one of these. For anyone interested in understanding Philby this is a great read as it's a true account; the other book I read recently is Ben Macintyre's book about Kim Philby's supposedly close friendship with Nicholas Elliott which I found full of factual errors and distortions. Elliott knew Philby for just over 20 years since they first met, according to Elliott's own autobiography, when the latter joined the SIS in late 1941 and indeed the first time they actually worked together was in Beirut when Elliott was meant to be running Philby as an Agent. Milne on the other hand knew Philby for nearly forty years and his book is the real thing
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ernest v. montford on April 30, 2014
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This book is well written but doesn't really offer much in additional information on Britain's most infamous spy. If you know nothing of H. A. R. Philby it will mean little to you, if you do it offers modest entertainment. The author was the famous A. A. Milne's nephew and a career foreign service official. He knew Philby from school days at Westminster in London but they went to different universities.

The author strives for fairness while acknowledging Philby was a long time friend. It seems Milne never suspected the spy of working for the Russians but he had a large amount of company in that. One thing did puzzle me was MI6s forbidding the publication of the book in 1970. It was finally published posthumously by Milne's daughter and I cant see anything that would have harmed Great Britain's interests. I suspect the Secrets Act covers a lot of sins in that fine country.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary M. Read on July 5, 2014
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Tim Milne knew Kim Philby better than most people, he remained a friend throughout their careers in the British Security Service. He takes us into the world of documenting, evaluating, assessing scraps of information gleaned by clandestine means from enemy sources. At this time this was the domain of intelligent "top people". This to outsiders was quaintly British, its members came from the best Public (USA private) schools, good colleges and well known families. This was the best "vetting" system. From childhood all were known and could be entrusted with top secrets. These people were tasked with discovering the plans and thoughts of the enemy by every means possible and to outwit and defeat them. Their work was an outstanding success but Britain has a long history of spying, going back hundreds of years. Kim Philby was accepted by the Security Service because he belonged, he was part of the club, he had all the credentials. Good family,well known Public School and Cambridge University. His other resume more ominous. He was also employed by Soviet Intelligence. . He was popular, to his friends constant and had a remarkable aptitude for his work for British Intelligence while maintaining his contacts with his other masters. In spite of the many books written about Philby the mystery remains. What attracted him to the Communist cause? He was at ease among his Establishment friends among whom were writers, journalists, politicians and he had an interesting social life. He did not appear to have an interest in what may be considered the social injustices of the period. He chose a double life of immense stress culminating in exile. Tim Milne charts their lives and when the treachery is finally unveiled there appears more sorrow than anger at the denouement.
This book is interesting as it illustrates the lesser known human side of Kim Philby The early days of trips to Europe. His domestic life and the life-long friendship with the author.
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Excellent story and an easy read. I had no idea who Kim Philby was but after reading this book I read several additional books and Milne ' s was the most detailed and intriguing.
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By A. E. Hutchison on April 24, 2015
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A great read, even for someone like me who as only a little knowledge of espionage.
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