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on 26 April 2014
I suppose that most historians of my age are aware of most of the life and activities of Kim Philby. Whatever he did and for whatever reasons it appears that he was almost universally liked and admired until his dismissal from MI6 and eventual defection. I think that few people could understand how such an apparently honourable man could act in such a deceitful fashion which led to the deaths of others he had not even met.
Many deceived friends continued to tolerate and support him even after his defection.
I did hope that this book, by someone who knew him from schoolboy to middle age, would give some insight but I failed to see any. I think this is partially is because of the lack of skill by the now deceased author. The draft was written in 1989.
The passages concerning School, trips to the Continent and Near/Middle East and later in Section V left a blank canvas leaving me better informed but no wiser. The later passages concerning Washington and the attempted explanations of some of his actions I found inchoate.
In summary I did not find many insights into the Philby character and the book is not well written but the major bonus is that the description of the operation of Section V is really enlightening along with the news that Philby from 1941 was receiving ISOS decrypts from Bletchley.
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Kim Philby - by Tim MilneTim Milne's account of his life as a secret intelligence officer, including a colleague of Kim Philby, is perhaps best described as an interesting footnote.

For anyone completely new to the story of Kim Philby's MI6 career and treachery, Milne's account does not fully cover the ground of the main events. But if you already know the main features of the case, then Milne's account is an enjoyable way of filling in new details and getting an extra perspective, including the regular uncertainty which many people had over exactly what the truth was about events.

Likewise, Milne's account of life in the 1930s and 1940s by no means makes for a full introduction to that era, but if you already have some knowledge of them then Milne's recollections add some extra colour through, in particular, his accounts of travelling Europe with Philby.

The book takes quite a few digressions into matters of details that are there because Milne wants to correct what other authors have written rather than because they are important to understanding Kim Philby or KGB espionage. So don't make this the first or second book you read about Kim Philby. But if you've already ready a couple and want to know more, then this is is a good one to turn to next.
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on 16 August 2014
As stated by other readers of this book I found it a disappointment in terms of style and content. What I did find useful was how the author deludes himself about the merits of Philby's personality, it gives one an idea of how he got away with duping these people for 30 years. If no other title had been read on this topic one could easily go away with the impresssion that nice Mr. Philby was victimised by the 'sinister' security services and although he categorically states Philby's guilt, one is left with the impresion that he still doesn't believe it. Well worth reading for an insight into insider thinking but not as an authoritative source.
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on 23 March 2016
A view of this famous MI6 Russian spy by one of his colleagues. Very much a personal account of Philby through the eyes of someone who knew him from childhood and worked alongside him in MI6. It fills in some of the gaps in our knowledge of this much written about man.
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2014
What a let down. The contents of this book as stated were in the main written 43 years ago with updates of sorts. Sorry but I do not see the point of it at all.

When one reads Ben Macintyre's book, 'A Spy Among Friends' one really learns about Philby, many things not before in the public domain.

The main gist of Kim Philby's exploits is in the public domain and this book does nothing to introduce anymore details, in fact it omits many.

Tim Milne time and time again refers to Kim Philby's own book, 'My Secret War'. It is I believe accepted that Philby in no way would have been allowed to write what he wanted without the then KGB authorising and putting their slant on what was written. That book should be read with a large handful of salt !!!!!!.

Most of Tim Milne's book is, 'I think' or ' In my opinion' and much guesswork, there are times when Tim Milne did not even see Philby over periods of time, the longest over a period of 3 years. There are only 3 times that Nicholas Elliot gets a mention in this book whereas it seems he spent far more time with Philby through his life even to his final leaving for Russia from Beirut.

Its good as a door stop and that it about it.
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on 5 July 2015
very interesting and revealing, well worth a read, some great details and accounts.
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on 25 April 2016
Excellent "biography" by the man who probably knew him best and who was one of the few colleagues not to be trashed by Philby, unlike Nicholas Elliott on who's recollections Ben McIntyre's book has been largely based.
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on 1 June 2014
After reading the exciting and genuinely new disclosures in the Philby story in Ben McIntyre's book, I found this less than riveting and in truth a great disappointment.

A few schoolboy recollections of Philby and an odd meeting after, hardly enough in it for a book.
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on 9 October 2015
Fascinating. Anyone interested in Philby should read this unique and insightful account.
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on 28 February 2015
Definitely a book which is not ideal for kindle as there are too many references throughout which need to be looked up
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