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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deceiving the Deceivers
If you are into modern British history and the intelligence/counterespionage services then this is for you. It revolves around the Cambridge circle of spies in the 195o's or thereabouts but gives a much wider view of this secret world. The author seems to have a very authoratitive view of the British end of intelligence and how it operated at the time. He has a lot of...
Published on 11 Jan 2010 by G. H. Roberts

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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three-and-a-Half Stars.
Despite the fact that I cannot get enough on the subject of the Cambridge Spies, it took me nearly six months to plough through S.J. Hamrick's "Deceiving the Deceivers." It is not as if his thesis is not provocative: that SIS laid a trap for Burgess, Maclean, Philby, and Blunt. However, the author explores so many tangents that I frequently found it difficult to grasp the...
Published on 18 Aug 2005 by F. S. L'hoir


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three-and-a-Half Stars., 18 Aug 2005
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F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
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Despite the fact that I cannot get enough on the subject of the Cambridge Spies, it took me nearly six months to plough through S.J. Hamrick's "Deceiving the Deceivers." It is not as if his thesis is not provocative: that SIS laid a trap for Burgess, Maclean, Philby, and Blunt. However, the author explores so many tangents that I frequently found it difficult to grasp the central thread of his narrative.

Certainly, the possibility that British Intelligence had set a trap for the Cambridge Spies is plausible. Such a scenario would explain why the sequence of events ceases to make any logical sense after the Volkov affair in 1945, when Kim Philby delays his arrival at Istanbul, to such an extent that the would-be Soviet defector, Konstantin Volkov, is apprehended by the Russians and--encased in bandages like a mummy--whisked off to Moscow and apparent oblivion. After this point, one is left with a series of anomalies: 1) Donald Maclean's unspeakable rampage in Cairo results (after a recuperative dose of psychoanalysis) in an appointment to the sensitive American Desk in the Foreign Office. 2) Guy Burgess, after running amok in Tangiers and blowing the cover of SIS officers left and right, is nevertheless appointed as third secretary to the British Embassy in Washington, arguably Britain's most important foreign post. 3) Burgess's drunken rumbustiousness in Washington succeeds in embarrassing his host, Kim Philby--who has hitherto been regarded as a respected first secretary to the British Embassy--so much so that not only Burgess but also Philby is declared PNG and sent home to London ASAP. The upshot is the ruination of one of the NKVD's [KGB] most valuable agents and the eventual downfall of the entire Cambridge ring. The question that is raised--and not addressed by Hamrick--is whether SIS might have "turned" Burgess with the express objective of bringing down his friend Philby (After all, Burgess, when the going got rough, was reportedly ready to negotiate a hit on another pal, Goronwy Rees, so presumably he would not be adverse to bringing down Philby, if it meant saving his own skin). Despite Burgess' famous espousal of E.M. Forster's maxim, "if I had a choice between betraying a friend and betraying my country, I hope that I would have the guts to betray my country," Burgess could well have been promised an unimpeded escape with Maclean if he would embarrass Philby in Washington, which he certainly did. Of course, one will never know due to the British Official Secrets Act.

One would, however, like to have a bit more solid evidence to support Mr. Hamrick's intriguing hypothesis. He certainly raises some of the important questions, even though he does not--and likely cannot--provide the answers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deceiving the Deceivers, 11 Jan 2010
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G. H. Roberts (Cwmbran, Wales) - See all my reviews
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If you are into modern British history and the intelligence/counterespionage services then this is for you. It revolves around the Cambridge circle of spies in the 195o's or thereabouts but gives a much wider view of this secret world. The author seems to have a very authoratitive view of the British end of intelligence and how it operated at the time. He has a lot of insider information coupled with exhaustive research. He contradicts many leading players accounts of the time, especially Kim Philby. One must read Philby's account in "My Silent War" to have a more balanced account to make a judgement for themselves.

The author's style of writing is sometimes very difficult to follow, a better use of grammatical input would have been beneficial. Perhaps this is due to his American style of prose.

However, this is a must read for those of us outside of the intelligence services looking for an insight into it's dark world, well worth the effort of perseverence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hard, 7 Jun 2013
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this book was hard reading and l had to read it twice to absorb all the information contain in it. Excellent book for facts and insight
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1.0 out of 5 stars Rather too dry...., 5 Jun 2014
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V. Ballinger "Remy booker" (France) - See all my reviews
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Just too dry! Very interested in the subject matter so very disappointed in the literary style and frankly never finished the book.
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