Readers are always saying that Ben Macintyre's books read like novels. What makes a work of non-fiction read like fiction, do you think? Tell us in the comments.
Told with heart-pounding suspense and keen psychological insight, and based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, A Spy Among Friends is Ben Macintyre’s best book yet, a high-water mark in Cold War history telling.
Published to huge acclaim in the U.K., A Spy Among Friends will be available in the U.S. wherever books are sold on July 29, 2014. Until then, check out what our friends across the pond have to say!
“The Philby story has been told many times, but never with such sensitivity. Almost inadvertently, Ben Macintyre, a Times columnist, provides a devastating critique of the British class system and the disasters that result when people assume they know people… A Spy Among Friends is an extraordinary book about a sordid profession in which the most important attribute is the ability to lie…. Macintyre’s focus on friendship brings an intimacy to this book that is missing from the cardboard stereotypes that populate spy novels and conventional espionage histories . . . . I’m not a lover of spy novels, yet I adored this book.”
–The Times of London
“Macintyre writes with the diligence and insight of a journalist, and the panache of a born storyteller, concentrating on Philby’s friendship with and betrayal of Elliott and of Angleton, his pathetically dedicated admirer at the top of the CIA. Macintyre’s account of the verbal duel between Elliott and Philby in their final confrontation in Beirut in 1963 is worthy of John le Carré at his best.”
“A Spy Among Friends, a classic spookfest, is also a brilliant reconciliation of history and entertainment…An unputdownable postwar thriller whose every incredible detail is fact not fiction…[a] spellbinding narrative…Part of the archetypal grip this story holds for the reader is as a case study in the existential truth that, in human relations, the Other is never really knowable. For both, the mask became indistinguishable from reality…A Spy Among Friends is not just an elegy, it is an unforgettable requiem.”
“Ben Macintyre’s bottomlessly fascinating new book is an exploration of Kim Philby’s friendships, particularly with Nicholas Elliott … Other books on Philby may have left one with a feeling of grudging respect, but A Spy Among Friends draws out his icy cold heart … This book consists of 300 pages; I would have been happy had it been three times as long.”
–The Mail on Sunday
“Such a summary does no justice to Macintyre’s marvellously shrewd and detailed account of Philby’s nefarious career. It is both authoritative and enthralling … The book is all the more intriguing because it carries an afterward by John le Carré.”
–The New Statesman
“No one writes about deceit and subterfuge so dramatically, authoritatively or perceptively [as Ben Macintyre]. To read A Spy Among Friends is a bit like climbing aboard a runaway train in terms of speed and excitement–except that Macintyre knows exactly where he is going and is in total control of his material.”
–The Daily Mail
“Philby’s story has been told many times before–both in biography and most notably in John le Carre’s fictional masterpiece Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy–but never in such exhaustive detail and with such panache as in Ben MacIntyre’s brilliant, compulsive A Spy Among Friends … Reads like fiction, which is testament to the extraordinary power of the story itself but also to the skills of the storyteller …. One of the best real-life spy stories one is ever likely to read.”
“Ben Macintyre has written an engaging book on a tantalising and ultimately tragic subject. If it starts as a study of friendship, it ends as an indictment.”
Congrats to Kelli G., Diane M., Jennifer A., Patricia N., Don A., and 145 other members of the Read It Forward community! Their entries were selected at random to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre.
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About the Author
BEN MACINTYRE is writer-at-large and associate editor of the Times of London. He is the author of Agent Zigzag, The Man Who Would Be King, The Englishman’s Daughter, The Napoleon of Crime, and Forgotten Fatherland. He lives in London with his wife, the novelist Kate Muir, and their three children.