Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Great Book Guru, With Sea Cliff’s Chill Out on Friday and the Sea Cliff Civic Association’s annual Progressive Dinner Saturday night, I can hardly contain my excitement.  But by Sunday, I know I will want to relax with something interesting to read, but probably not a novel.  Any suggestions?  Chilling and Dining Out in Sea Cliff

Dear Chilling and Dining Out in Sea Cliff, I just read a fascinating book A SPY AMONG FRIENDS:  KIM PHILBY AND THE GREAT BETRAYAL by Ben Macintyre.  Philby was born shortly after the end of World War I into an eccentric, aristocratic British family.  His life’s trajectory began when, after expressing to family friends an interest in government, he was immediately offered a position in Britain’s elite spy service- MI6.  Thus began his  parallel existence as a double agent.   While there have been many books written about the Cambridge Five- the notorious post World War II spies who graduated from Cambridge University and rose through the ranks of England’s most prestigious establishments only to be revealed as long standing Soviet agents- this book focuses on Philby and his betrayal not only of his country but also of his friends. George Elliot was the closest of these friends-colleague, drinking partner, roommate, constant defender, and finally the person who likely arranged his escape to Moscow. E.M. Forester, the renowned British writer, has said “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friends, I hope I should betray my country.”  Philby betrayed both and his story is an amazing tale of intrigue and deception- strongly recommended! 

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