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James Hanning talks to Oliver Bullough

Love and Deception: Philby in Beirut

Hay Festival 2022, 

Including new evidence from key figures, Love and Deception is the result of 20 years of research into one of the Cold War’s most mysterious episodes. It 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, James Hanning 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. Former deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday, James Hanning is co-biographer of David Cameron and secured the exclusive collaboration of News of the World investigator Glenn Mulcaire for an exposé of the phone hacking scandal.

James Hanning talks to Oliver Bullough