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“The policemen agreed they were living with a most peculiar fellow. One moment he was reading classical literature in the original French and quoting Tennyson, and the next he would be discussing the best way to blow up a train.”
Ben MacIntyre, Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
tags: funny
“Eccentricity is one of those English traits that look like frailty but mask a concealed strength; individuality disguised as oddity.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“What is the use of living if you cannot eat cheese and pickles?”
Ben MacIntyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
“War is too messy to produce easy heroes and villains; there are always brave people on the wrong side, and evil men among the victors, and a mass of perfectly ordinary people struggling to survive and understand in between. Away from the battlefields, war forces individuals to make impossible choices in circumstances they did not create, and could never have expected. Most accommodate, some collaborate, and a very few find an internal compass they never knew they had, pointing to the right path.”
Ben Macintyre, Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
“The fatal conceit of most spies is to believe they are loved, in a relationship between equals, and not merely manipulated.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“Deception is a sort of seduction. In love and war, adultery and espionage, deceit can only succeed if the deceived party is willing, in some way, to be deceived.”
Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
“Sam Brewer enjoyed discussing Middle Eastern politics with Philby; Philby enjoyed sleeping with his wife.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“Here, then, was a truly bizarre situation: Philby was telling Moscow the truth, but was disbelieved, and allowed to go on thinking he was believed; he was deceiving the British in order to aid the Soviets, who suspected a deception, and were in turn deceiving him.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“The trickiest aspect of lying is maintaining the lie. Telling an untruth is easy, but continuing and reinforcing a lie is far harder. The natural human tendency is to deploy another lie to bolster the initial mendacity. Deceptions—in the war room, boardroom, and bedroom—usually unravel because the deceiver lets down his guard and makes the simple mistake of telling, or revealing, the truth.”
Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
“The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.”
Ben Macintyre, Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche
“Britain might be in the grip of rationing, but buying the materials for a homemade bomb was a piece of cake. (In fact, obtaining the ingredients for a decent cake would have been rather harder.)”
Ben Macintyre, Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
“Well you stick the dynamite in the keyhole and you don't damage the safe, only sometimes you put a little too much in and blow the safe door up, but other times you're lucky and the safe just comes open.
Thus the scion of a great banking dynasty learned how to rob a bank.”
Ben MacIntyre, Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
“For the D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled. They included a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a mercurial Frenchwoman, a Serbian seducer, and a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming.”
Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
“The word most consistently used to describe Kim Philby was "charm", that intoxicating, beguiling and occasionally lethal English quality.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“In a brilliant lecture written in 1944, C. S. Lewis described the fatal British obsession with the ‘inner ring’, the belief that somewhere, just beyond reach, is an exclusive group holding real power and influence, which a certain sort of Englishman constantly aspires to find and join.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“Like all truly selfish people, Kliemann believed the minutiae of his life must be fascinating to all.”
Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
“The defining feature of this spy would be his falsity. He was a pure figment of imagination, a weapon in war far removed from the traditional battle of bombs and bullets.”
Ben Macintyre
“Philby now went in for the kill. Elliott had tipped him off that he would be cleared by Macmillan, but mere exoneration was not enough: he needed Lipton to retract his allegations, publicly, humiliatingly, and quickly. After a telephone consultation with Elliott, he instructed his mother to inform all callers that he would be holding a press conference in Dora’s Drayton Gardens flat the next morning. When Philby opened the door a few minutes before 11:00 a.m. on November 8, he was greeted with gratifying proof of his new celebrity. The stairwell was packed with journalists from the world’s press. “Jesus Christ!” he said. “Do come in.” Philby had prepared carefully. Freshly shaved and neatly barbered, he wore a well-cut pinstriped suit, a sober and authoritative tie, and his most charming smile. The journalists trooped into his mother’s sitting room, where they packed themselves around the walls. Camera flashes popped. In a conspicuous (and calculated) act of old-world gallantry, Philby asked a journalist sitting in an armchair if he would mind giving up his seat to a lady journalist forced to stand in the doorway. The man leaped to his feet. The television cameras rolled. What followed was a dramatic tour de force, a display of cool public dishonesty that few politicians or lawyers could match. There was no trace of a stammer, no hint of nerves or embarrassment. Philby looked the world in the eye with a steady gaze and lied his head off. Footage of Philby’s famous press conference is still used as a training tool by MI6, a master class in mendacity.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“As the real army plowed through the waves toward Normandy, two more fake convoys were scientifically simulated heading for the Seine and Boulogne by dropping from planes a blizzard of tinfoil, code-named “Window,” which would show up on German radar as two huge flotillas approaching the French coast.”
Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
“As the Battle of Normandy raged, the Germans held fast to the illusion, so carefully planted and now so meticulously sustained, that a great American army under Patton was preparing to pounce and the German forces in the Pas de Calais must remain in place to repel it.”
Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
“Britain's counterespionage officers saw signs of treachery in everything Ivor Montagu did: they saw it in his friends, his appearance, his opinions, and his behavior. But above all, they saw it in his passionate, and dubious, love of table tennis.”
Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
“Secrets are the currency of intelligence work, and among professional spies a little calculated indiscretion raises the exchange rate.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“Of all the strands in Operation Fortitude, none was quite so bizarre, so wholly unlikely, as the great pigeon double cross, the first and only avian deception scheme ever attempted.”
Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
“In this, they echoed the views of a generation brought up to think of Britain as Great, but now doomed in peacetime to watch the American ascendancy, decolonisation, queues, bureaucracy, socialism and other perceived indignities as the Empire declined.”
Ben Macintyre, For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond
“Professor J. B. S. Haldane was one of the most celebrated scientists in Britain. A pioneering and broad-ranging thinker, he developed a mathematical theory of population genetics, predicted that hydrogen-producing windmills would replace fossil fuel, explained nuclear fission, and suffered a perforated eardrum while testing a homemade decompression chamber: “Although one is somewhat deaf,” he wrote, “one can blow tobacco smoke out of the ear in question, which is a social accomplishment.”
Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory
“Elliott and Philby existed within the inner circle of Britain’s ruling class, where mutual trust was so absolute and unquestioned that there was no need for elaborate security precautions. They were all part of the same family.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“Philby would later frame his decision as one of ideological purity, consistent with the ‘total commitment to the Soviet Union’ he had made at the age of twenty-one. He did what he did, in his own estimation, out of pure political conviction, the guiding principle of his life. He looked with disdain on others who had seen the horrors of Stalinism and abandoned ship. ‘I stayed the course,’ he wrote, ‘in the confident faith that the principles of the Revolution would outlive the aberration of individuals.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
“He was a man who regarded his opinions, however briefly adopted, as revealed truth: he never backed down, or listened, or compromised. He was equally swift to give and take offense and ferociously critical of everyone except himself.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
“wore the same well-tailored clothes, and married women of their own tribe. But all that time, Philby had one secret he never shared: he was covertly working for Moscow, taking everything he was told by Elliott and passing it on to his Soviet spymasters. Elliott has come to Beirut to extract a confession. He has wired up the apartment and set watchers on the doors and street. He wants to know how many have died through Philby’s betrayal of their friendship. He wants to know when he became a fool.”
Ben Macintyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

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Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory Operation Mincemeat
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Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal Agent Zigzag
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A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal A Spy Among Friends
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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies Double Cross
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