JANUARY 18

On the second page of Treason in the Blood, biographer Anthony Cave Brown calls Kim Philby “the greatest unhanged scoundrel in modern British history.” It ran in the family. So argues Brown in Treason, a fascinating and meticulous dual biography of the notorious double-agent and his equally notorious father, Harry St. John Philby, an Arabist and eventual Muslim convert who, among other things, is credited with securing the Saudi oil concession for the U.S. at Britain’s expense. As its title suggests, the book contextualizes Philby fils‘ subversive behavior by detailing that of his father, whose anti-Empire actions foreshadowed those of his son in all but the particulars. Philby, who passed intelligence to the Soviets without detection for an astonishing 53 years, reputedly served as the model for the mole in John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But Treason—whose final chapters depict an isolated Philby spending the years following his 1963 defection ignored by a KGB to which he was no longer useful—has the more poignant ending. Brown reads at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th & Constitution Ave. NW. $13. (202) 357-3030. (Nicole Arthur)