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Portrait of a Secret Agent who Knew Kim Philby

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The biography of a British intelligence agent, Brian Giffey (1887-1967) is also a fascinating love story. 2nd Lt Giffey married a German girl at the start of WWI, divorced her in 1937, having met an Estonian girl half his age. When he, now Major Giffey, married the Estonian girl, Anni, he insisted that she should befriend his first wife, and she acquiesced.
Brian Giffey
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Paperback, 251 pages
Published October 4th 2014 by Thousand Eyes Publishing
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Ann Andrews
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Finding the happy medium between inserting all the detailed information you can while still maintaining an interesting and easy to read biography is a delicate thing.

Tina Tamman pulls it off well with Portrait of a Secret Agent who Knew Kim Philby. Every chapter contained interesting information that flowed well and kept me highly intrigued.

This is an extremely well written book and I strongly recommend it for anyone who
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David Boyd
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
The quality of the author's research is impeccable and the results are as close as possible to comprehending who Brian Giffey was. The scrupulous attention to time and place provides a sound base upon which the author is able to bring her protagonist to life. Giffey's own poetry and prose, as well as the photographs provided, make for an enriching experience. The title intimates that the notorious Kim Philby plays a larger role than he actually does, but it is true that Philby provides a key ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Portrait of a Secret Agent who Knew Kim Philby, Tina Tamman
Pamela King
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I love reading interesting, historical non-fiction and Portrait of a Secret Agent spans years of particular interest to me. While I have read extensively about WWI, it includes history I was not familiar with which made it more interesting.

It is basically a biographical story about a British spy and a delightful love story on an interesting historical background. The wonderful part about the biography is that it is a true story. The full synopsis is at the
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M.A. Lossl
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recent-reads
This well written book is a delight. The reference to Kim Philby in the title helps to reference the era the story covers. Tamman has deduced a history of an incredible man, Brian Giffey. The poems and letters, reveal a charming love story between Brian and his wife Anni. Brian was a hero, womanizer, spy: his life would make a fascinating film-- the real James Bond. Portrait of a Secret Agent gives a unique insight into the era and I can recommend it for research reference as well as a darn good ...more
Allyson Abbott
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-pleasure
Although a non fiction book, the author made the tale of Brian Giffy, extremely interesting and easy to folIow. I became fascinated with his comings and goings and that of his wife Anni. I am not a history buff, nor particularly do I have an interest in the secret service, but Tina Tamman is an extremely talented writer and fills each chapter with facts about his services, interlaced with his womanising ways and fanciful ambitions.
He worked for many years doing his duty to his country and has
...more
Aly
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I saw the name of this book, I thought 007. lol This book is nothing like that but it was interesting to read. I don't read many book about just one person was I wasn't quite sure what I would think. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. You see read it for yourself and decide. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Helen
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brian Giffey was indeed a secret agent, but he was much more, too. This biography is definitely a labour of love, meticulously researched and carefully written by an author who is clearly fascinated by the subject matter. The huge amount of factual content is presented in an organised and logical fashion and it is also an enjoyable and interesting read.
Due to the nature of the source material, there is much focus on Giffey’s second wife, Anni. This is wholly appropriate, though, as their
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Gianna
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Towards the end of her book, the author states, "History...is all about human beings." I personally cannot think of a better way to truly understand events in a historical context than through the recollections of someone who lived through them. And Brian Giffey, who worked as a covert government agent at a particularly volatile time in history, certainly lived an extraordinary life.

The author does an excellent job of piecing together personal, and sometimes fragmented, information to weave a
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Kevin
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
As impressive as this book is I realised when I finished it that I felt I'd read something different to what I expected. I was expecting "Portrait of a Brian Giffey - Secret Agent", but in truth the book is "Portrait of Brian Giffey, who happened to be a Secret Agent". The addition in the listing here of "who knew Kim Philby" to the title on the cover is actually disappointing because I came away from the book thinking how it was a shame that there wasn't more about the interactions and ...more
Harmony Kent
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed on behalf of The Review Board by Harmony Kent.

I received a mobi copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

This book is written well, and it is clear that the author has undertaken meticulous research. The life of Brian Giffey is chronicled in its entirety, including his service in the British forces, his becoming an agent for MI6, his many affairs and eventual falling head over heels in love with a young Estonian girl. Kim Philby used to be a British Secret Service agent, who
...more
Annette
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Portrait of a Secret Agent by Tina Tamman was a Goodreads first reads win

A great deal of research has gone into this book, about the life of Brian Giffey, and how he fitted in with the countries he worked in – first in the military, and then as an agent.

There was so much information, I found my mind glazed over and it was difficult to follow. I found the first section, about his early life and the last section about the end of his life were the easiest to follow and relate to.

I was especially
...more
Barbara White
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Portrait of a Secret Agent Who Knew Kim Philby is a fascinating biography of secret agent Brian Giffey. This book has great secondary sources for the history buff. Not only does the reader learn about Giffey's life, the reader learns about other spy organizations around the world. Photographs keep your mind in check as they bring realism to your imagination. I would definitely recommend this book. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of this book.
Vanessa Hill
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway and am really glad I did.
I love history, and the lives of spies has always intriqued me, this book was well written, giving one a sense of what it was like during the cold war in different countries.
I can highly recommend this book to lovers of factual history.
I have passed it on to my sister, who is also enjoying it.
Steve Lee
Dec 18, 2015 rated it liked it
*Received free via Goodreads giveaway*

Really quite intriguing.
Steve Orton
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was received for free through a Goodreads giveaway.

Very well researched and wonderfully written.
Erika_kartmann
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thanks for the free book.
It was an easy and interesting read.
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I was 26 when I came to the UK from what was then Soviet Estonia, not knowing much about Britain at all. Everything was new and interesting for quite a long time. For five years I worked in the wine trade and was awarded a certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, but then realised I was not really a salesperson. Working for the BBC by contrast was very rewarding. It was at Monitoring ...more