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Love and Deception

On sale

30th September 2021

Price: £12.99

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472155931

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‘James Hanning’s book is excellent . . . The fascination of Love & Deception lies in the meticulously detailed account it gives of Philby’s strange half-life in Beirut, where he was banished in 1956′ Guardian

Love & Deception is the extraordinary story of how Eleanor, an able, cultured American living in the espionage hot spot of 1950s Beirut, fell in love with the kindest of men. Unknown to her, that man, Kim Philby, was under suspicion by the British and US intelligence services of having secretly signed up to help the Russians fight fascism in the 1930s, and of remaining in their pay at the height of the Cold War. Despite his mysterious past, Eleanor adored and married Philby, but the strength of their love was challenged as the net steadily closed in on him.

The outline of Philby’s story is familiar to many, but Love & Deception breaks remarkable new ground. Through extensive research, Hanning produces an eye-opening tale of friendship, politics, love and loyalty.

‘Fascinating and superbly researched’ TLS

‘I am always gripped by the Philby story and James Hanning succeeds in putting new flesh on this fascinating period in his double life . . . I thoroughly recommend it’ Marina Hyde

‘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’ Amanda Foreman


The Spectator
'James Hanning has a fine feel for the mutually advantageous relationship between newspapermen and spies. With the often sozzled Philby's at the centre, he wheels us through Beirut's bars and hotels, notably the Normandy and St Georges... Love and Deception [is] as good an introduction to the whole murky Philby business as any. Personal liaisons are sensitively explored, locations brought to life, and it's all neatly cross-referenced with local and world affairs'
The Tablet
'Engrossing...Hanning is an accomplished journalist and his smooth prose makes this a book a joy to read - an atmospheric, compelling thriller...The eyewitness detail and in-depth research is outstanding'
Amanda Foreman
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.
Charles Glass, author of They Fought Alone: The True Story of the Starr Brothers, British Secret Agents in Nazi-Occupied France
'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'
Times Literary Supplement
'Fascinating and superbly researched'
William Boyd
'A brilliantly researched and revelatory book, written with compelling authority and great narrative drive. Completely fascinating'
The Guardian
'James Hanning's book is excellent...The fascination of Love & Deception lies in the meticulously detailed account it gives of Philby's strange half-life in Beirut, where he was banished in 1956.'
Edward Wilson, author of The Envoy
'The true story of Kim Philby as told by James Hanning surpasses the best spy fiction. Philby comes across as a character with all the complexity and charisma of a Shakespearean villain. Not just an entertaining read, but a most valuable reference book for anyone interested in the period.'
Tom Bower
'In a masterly narrative, James Hanning has plotted through the intrigue to explain the murky and controversial climax of Britain's biggest spy scandal'
Camden New Journal
'Hanning's work is not just a revised look at this passage of Philby's life but an appreciation of how it unfolded through the eyes of Eleanor Kerns - the wife of US correspondent Sam Pope Brewer who became entranced with Philby'
Richard Frost, editor of the book by Tim Milne, Philby's oldest friend
'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'
George Carey, BBC producer of “The Spy who went into the cold”
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.
Stephen Dorril, historian of MI6
'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'