After decades of silence, interrupted only by sporadic, guarded communiqués, the correspondence of Graham Greene and Kim Philby was spurred into renewed intimacy by a troubled global situation: a middle eastern state, unbalanced by regime change, had begun taking western hostages, while in nearby Afghanistan, religiously motivated guerrilla fighters threatened efforts to prop up a secular regime. The year is immediately recognisable: it is 1979.
Despite the obvious parallels, Greene and Philby’s decade-long conversation (the letters continue throughout the 1980s) takes place in a world far removed from the present: one frozen in binary opposition, during that weary interregnum before…
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