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The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  8 reviews
As British liaison officer to the CIA & FBI in 1949, Kim Philby held a position at the heart of the Western intelligence war against the Soviets. The quintessential Englishman, Philby was also an officer in the KGB. Here is the story that Philby revealed to the only Western journalist he trusted. 16 pages of photos.
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published March 25th 1989 by Alfred A. Knopf (NY) (first published 1988)
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Erik Graff
Jul 05, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: espionage fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
This is a sympathetic biography of 'Kim' Philby, a KGB agent since the thirties and the most successful of the Cambridge spies who penetrated the British Foreign Office, MI5, MI6 and, through them, the American CIA and FBI through World War II and well into the Cold War. So successful were they in relaying secrets to the Soviets that it may have been better had the UK and USA not bothered withholding information from them during the war years.

In addition to portraying such a traitor as Philby wi
...more
Heidi
Bought this at a second-hand bookshop in Brisbane, because Philby was one of the Cambridge Four, and I loved the TV Show Cambridge Spies. The real story of Philby as presented in this book is even more thrilling than the TV (although the "Four" were far less connected in real life, which spoils the story a little). And of course, the focus is on Philby, rather than split between them, although Burgess, MacLean and Blunt all get their moments (less Blunt than I would have liked, but that's just t ...more
Ann
With the renewed interest in Kim Philby triggered by the hugely successful "A Spy Among Friends", I thought it would be interesting to read this book, as it is often quoted in ASAF. It was written by a British journalist who not only corresponded with Philby, but actually got to meet him and interview him extensively in Moskow in the 1980s. This was also the period when many secret documents were first being released, and so the story was being gradually pieced together. Similarly, there were st ...more
FiveBooks
Veteran foreign correspondent Richard Beeston has chosen to discuss Phillip Knightley's The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby on FiveBooks on his list of five books on Spies, Lies and Foreign correspondents, saying that:

"Knightley says he’s the only Western journalist to interview Philby in depth after his defection to the Soviet Union in 1963. The book describes Philby as ‘an establishment figure who betrayed the West, who decided to go against his class and his upbringing for what he belie
...more
Alex
Great read. Author does a good job telling the story of Philby's life, alternating back and forth from the story of Philby's early life and his final interview in Moscow years after he had defected to the USSR. This enables Knightley to not only tell the narrative story, but allows Philby to comment on his motivations at key moments in his own life story. Really enjoyed this read.
Jake
Fascinating.
Mister Responsible
The amazing story of Kim Philby -- who was in charge of an important section of the British secret service, and who was also a spy for the Soviets. I didn't know anything about Kim Philby before reading some British cold war history recently, and I was amazed that I had never heard about him, either in popular culture or in school. (I grew up in the 1980's, when the Soviet Union was still around and people were still afraid of its influence in the world.)

Carlos Santos
The books get's off to a slow start just like a tank but by the time you get rolling it's unstoppable. Such a remarkable real life story about a remarkable individual. I can't get enough recounts of this time period, so exciting in many ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
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Phillip Knightley was a special correspondent for The Sunday Times for 20 years (1965-85) and one of the leaders of its Insight investigative team. He was twice named Journalist of the Year (1980 and 1988) in the British Press Awards. He and John Pilger are the only journalists ever to have won it twice.

He was also Granada Reporter of the Year (1980), Colour Magazine Writer of the Year (1982), hol
...more
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