Spy Cases

Kim Philby

E - M

Elliott, Nicholas.

1. Never Judge a Man by His Umbrella. Salisbury: Michael Russell, 1991. [pb] London: Chatto and Windus, 1992.

According to Surveillant 2.2, Elliott was the "lifelong chum of -- and one of the debriefers of -- Kim Philby."

Defty, I&NS 10.1, remarks that Elliott "manages to recall his life from childhood to the present day without once revealing that he was ever in SIS." His account of his overseas' assignments "reveals more about the social whirl of a British diplomat than it does about the life of an intelligence officer.... Yet ... Elliott offers a balanced and incisive account of Germany's most successful agent operation in Turkey, the case of the German agent Cicero." Elliott's account of his "confrontation with Philby in Beirut ... offers little in the way of new information, and fails to resolve the controversy surrounding" that meeting.

2.. With My Little Eye: Observations Along the Way. Norwich: Michael Russell, 1993.

Surveillant 3.6 says that Elliott "discusses his assessment of the future of intelligence and gives his opinion on the Buster Crabb affair." He says Crabb "had already made one initial dive to examine the Soviet cruiser Ordzhonikidze.... It is his belief that Crabb did not die from any actions from the Soviets ... [but] of respiratory problems ... or from equipment failure." There is also a "section on his interactions (favorable) with James Angleton ... [and some] final reflections on Philby."

Defty, I&NS 10.1, sees nothing in this book "to concern the guardians of official secrecy, and unfortunately very little to interest the academic reader." The first essay "offers a sterling defense of British intelligence, pointing out both the lessons learnt from past failures, and the continued utility of intelligence in the post-Cold War world." According to Gordievsky, The Spectator, 5 Feb. 1994, "Elliott's book is full of short, elegant vignettes, recollections and some very eccentric friends, amusing anecdotes, jokes and comic quotations."

Hamrick, S.J. Deceiving the Deceivers: Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and Guy Burgess. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

According to DKR, AFIO WIN 44-04 (29 Nov. 2004), the author argues that "British intelligence knew far earlier [than the spring of 1951] that Maclean was Moscow's agent and concealed that knowledge in a 1949-1951 counterespionage operation that deceived Philby and Burgess. Hamrick also finds evidence that in 1949-1950 the British ran a disinformation op that used Philby to mislead Moscow about British-U.S. retaliatory capability in case of Soviet aggression against Western Europe."

Bath, NIPQ 21.1 (Mar. 2005), calls this work "an interesting, if not totally convincing, exercise in theory." On the other hand, Kruh, Cryptologia 29.2 (Apr. 2005), says that Hamrick presents "compelling evidence" regarding the use of Philby in a disinformation initiative against the Soviets. The author "breaks new ground in reinterpreting ... the final espionage years of three famous spies."

To Goodman, I&NS 21.1 (Feb. 2006), this book is "based on conjecture." The author's "reading of the primary sources ... is fundamentally and unacceptably flawed." The reviewer concludes that the book's content is "pure fabrication." Similarly, West, IJI&C 19.1 (Spring 2006), finds "serious and glaring faultlines crisscrossing Hamrick's landscape." He concludes that the author's "elaborate 'deception' ... is but a fleeting mirage."

Lefebvre, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, Feb. 2005 [http://www.h-net.org], comments that the author "is particularly adept at finding holes and fallacies of omission or assumption in the material he perused. To make his case, however, he must fill in the blanks through logical deduction, often without any supporting and corroborating evidence other than the coherence of his propositions."

Harrison, Edward. The Young Kim Philby: Soviet Spy and British Intelligence Officer. Exeter, UK: University of Exeter Press, 2012.

Norton-Taylor, Guardian, 27 Sep. 2012, comments that how Philby got to "the heart of Britain's secret cold war ... is described in detail, some of it fresh, most of it very telling." For Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), "Harrison adds considerably to the understanding of Philby's personal relationships, his use of ULTRA material, and the operations he ran while in charge of counterintelligence in the Iberian section." However, "[t]here are several instances in which Harrison resorts to questionable speculation in interpreting events." Nevertheless, "[o]verall, The Young Kim Philby is "solidly researched, well documented and informative."

To West, IJI&C 26.4 (Winter 2013-2014), this is a "rather good account" of Philby's early life, providing "a careful, balanced description of one spy's post-university career." Even though "the occasional detail can be faulted," the pluses in this work "far outweigh the few negatives."

Knightley, Phillip. Philby: The Life and Views of the KGB Masterspy. London: Deutsch, 1988. The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby. New York: Knopf, 1988.

Macintyre, Ben. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. New York: Cerown, 2014.

For Ignatius, Washington Post, 24 Jul. 2014, the author manages to retell this "most familiar spy yarn ever ... in a way that makes Philby's destructive genius fresh and horridly fascinating." Philby is seen "as a supremely perverse antihero, remarkable for his sheer guts and tenacity in concealing for more than 30 years his treason against his country and class.... Macintyre's thesis is that Philby was shielded by the dumbly self-protective ethos of the British upper class, of which MI6 was the ultimate expression."

West, IJI&C 27.4 (Winter 2014), finds that "Macintyre's book contains several good examples of how he has been disadvantaged by his lack of original research and a dependance on secondary sources." Nonetheless, he does "provide a fascinating narrative." To Coffey, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), Macintyre provides "a novel's touch to a factual account of Philby's espionage." This "book is well told and juicy," but the author's "discussion of Angleton is a bit exaggerated ...and does not add up in some cases."

Marks, Kathy. "Graham Greene 'Knew Philby Was a Traitor.'" Telegraph (London), 16 Dec. 1996. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

In a December 1996 edition of the BBC's "Bookworm" program, "Prof Norman Sherry, Greene's official biographer, says: 'I believe he felt he had to leave [MI6 in 1944] because he knew his friend was spying for another country.' Philip Knightley ... [also] believes that Greene resigned in order to avoid betraying his friend, as well as to protect himself from being implicated in any future scandal....

"However, the suggestion that Greene left MI6 because of suspicions about Philby was discounted ... by Rupert Allason, the Conservative MP and espionage expert.... Allason said he believed that Greene's reasons for resigning were more prosaic. He said: 'It was tedious, boring work. It involved commuting to St Albans every day and working with ghastly colleagues.'"

Milne, Tim. Kim Philby: The Unknown Story of the KGB's Master Spy. London: Biteback Publishing, 2014.

Norton-Taylor, Guardian, 24 Feb. 2014, notes that the author, a former MI6 officer, argues that "for 12 years [Philby's] colleagues went to extraordinary lengths to block an MI5 investigation." Even after he was forced to resign, "Philby continued to be robustly defended by MI6 officers." For West, IJI&C 27.4 (Winter 2014), Milne tells a "remarkable story [that] offers great insight into Philby's personality." This is "[a] thoughtful, reflective book" that "deserves serious attention." Coffey, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), believes Milne "put[s] Philby’s spying in context," but "sees little psychological explanation to Philby's spying."

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