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Love and Deception

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472155955

Price: £25

ON SALE: 30th September 2021

Genre: Humanities / History

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‘A brilliantly researched and revelatory book, written with compelling authority and great narrative drive. Completely fascinating’ William Boyd

Love and Deception is the extraordinary story of Eleanor, an able, cultured American woman living in the espionage hot spot of 1950s Beirut and – despite herself – falling in love with the kindest, most sensitive of men, a Lebanon-based journalist with a mysterious past. Unknown to her, the young, idealistic Kim Philby had signed up to help the Russians fight fascism in the 1930s and was to become the 20th century’s most notorious double agent. But not only did he adore and marry her – just as the British authorities were closing in on him – but their love survived the most shattering of calamities.

Drawing on some of those closest to the main players, Love and Deception sheds new light on the love of Philby’s life and breaks remarkable new ground in revealing the loyalty of his Cambridge contemporaries and the failure of the British authorities to convict them.


A brilliantly researched and revelatory book, written with compelling authority and great narrative drive. Completely fascinating
William Boyd
The first book in many years to disclose new information on the traitor-spy Kim Philby. Hanning has dug deeper than anyone since Philip Knightley and E. H. Cookridge to expose the cover-ups, lies and propaganda surrounding Philby's defection from Beirut aboard the Soviet freighter Dolmatova in 1963. A gripping tale of romance, intrigue and disloyalty
Charles Glass, author of They Fought Alone: The True Story of the Starr Brothers, British Secret Agents in Nazi-Occupied France
A fascinating and brilliant story of the complex relationship between the master spy Kim Philby and his third wife, the American Eleanor Brewer. The author weaves a compelling narrative from their first meeting to the final denouement some years later. James Hanning has unearthed much new information and has written a book of real power
Richard Frost, editor of the book by Tim Milne, Philby's oldest friend
You may think the Philby saga has been mined to exhaustion but that is clearly not true. One of the most intriguing aspects is the final period in Beirut where he was still working as an MI6 'stringer'. Displaying his formidable skills as an assiduous researcher, James Hanning has continued digging and has discovered new gems that illuminate the tortured but living relationship between Kim and his wife, Eleanor, and the mystifying intrigues that surround Philby's last days in Beirut. Definitely a recommended read
Stephen Dorril, historian of MI6
In a masterly narrative, James Hanning has plotted through the intrigue to explain the murky and controversial climax of Britain's biggest spy scandal
Tom Bower
Undaunted by the many books already written about the Soviet spy Kim Philby, James Hanning has come up with a hugely entertaining new volume. Love and Deception: Philby in Beirut is a racy confection of known facts and new insights, woven into a surprisingly sympathetic account of the alcohol-fuelled love affair that lit up Philby's last years in the West. The old question - did he cleverly escape the clutches of MI6 or was he pushed through the trapdoor to Moscow? - is not definitively answered, but Hanning finds some intriguing new clues as he follows this strange love story through to its forlorn and inevitable ending.
George Carey, BBC producer of “The Spy who went into the cold”
If ever there was a cautionary tale about the true costs of male privilege in the higher echelons of the British establishment - this is it. Hanning's masterful research lays bare the extraordinary hypocrisy that enabled Kim Philby to lie and trick his way through life.
Amanda Foreman
Enjoyable and atmospheric. A lovely evocation of impossibly exotic Beirut of the 1950s and 1960s, a vanished era.
Simon Kuper
I loved the enthralling description of the darkly glamorous world of ex-pat Beirut in the late 1950's, to the extent of wishing I had been there. A fabulous book, truly, as gripping as any thriller.
Katie Hickman
I am always gripped by the Philby story, and James Hanning succeeds in putting new flesh on this fascinating period in his double life. Maximum betrayal, maximum stress, maximum misbehaviour, maximum booze - I thoroughly recommend losing yourself in lives which I trust are far more terrifyingly rackety than your own.
Marina Hyde