Knightley, Phillip

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Born January 23, 1929, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; son of Phillip James (an artist) and Alice (Iggleden) Knightley; married Eva Hajek, October 30, 1954 (marriage ended); married Yvonne Fernandes, July 13, 1964; children: (second marriage) Aliya, Kim, Marisa. Politics: Socialist. Religion: Atheist.


Home—4 Northumberland Pl., London W2 5BS, England. Agent—Ursula R. Winant, 14 Clifford's Inn, London EC4A 1DA, England.


Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia, copyboy, 1945-46; Northern Star, Lismore, Australia, cadet reporter, 1946-47; Oceania Daily News, Suva, Fiji, copra trader and reporter, 1947-48; Melbourne Herald, Sydney, Australia, reporter, 1948-50; Daily Mirror, Sydney, Australia, reporter, 1950-54; Imprint, Bombay, India, editor, 1960-62; Sunday Times, London, England, feature writer, 1963-85. Former owner of Old Vienna (restaurant), Chelsea, London, England.


Queens Club and Hurlingham Club (both London, England).


(With Bruce Page and David Leitch) Philby: The Spy Who Betrayed a Generation, Deutsch (London, England), 1968, published as The Philby Conspiracy, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1968.

(With Hugh Atkinson) The Games, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 1968.

The Secret Lives of Lawrence of Arabia, Nelson (London, England), 1969, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1970.

(With Harold Hobson and Leonard Russell) The Pearl of Days: An Intimate Memoir of the Sunday Times, 1822-1972, Hamilton (London, England), 1972.

The First Casualty, from the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1975, third updated edition published as The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth Maker from the Crimea to Iraq, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2004.

(With Stephen Fay) The Death of Venice, Praeger (New York, NY), 1976.

The Vestey Affair, Macdonald (London, England), 1981, revised and updated as The Rise and Fall of the House of Vestey: The True Story of How Britain's Richest Family Beat the Taxman and Came to Grief, Warner Books (London, England), 1994.

The Second Oldest Profession: The Spy as Bureaucrat, Patriot, Fantasist, and Whore, A. Deutsch (London, England), 1986, published as The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century, Norton (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Caroline Kennedy) An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

Philby: The Life and Views of the K.G.B. Masterspy, A. Deutsch (London, England), 1988, published as The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby, Knopf (New York, NY), 1989.

(Editor and author of introduction) Genrikh Aviezerovich Borovik, The Philby Files: The Secret Life of Master Spy Kim Philby, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.

A Hack's Progress, J. Cape (London, England), 1997.

Australia: A Biography of a Nation, J. Cape (London, England), 2000.

The Eye of War: Words and Photographs from the Front Line, introduction by John Keegan, Smithsonian Books (Washington, DC), 2003.


A veteran foreign correspondent and investigative journalist, Phillip Knightley has written a number of books focusing on such topics as espionage, war, and the role of a war correspondent and journalist. One of Knightley's first books, 1975's The First Casualty, from the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker, is considered a journalism classic by many. Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, James Boylan called the book "Knightley's durable and unblinking chronicle of the role of correspondents in covering, analyzing, and sometimes promoting wars." More recent editions of the book include chapters dealing with Great Britain's Falkland Islands conflict, the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990s, and NATO's Kosovo bombing campaign later in that decade. Knightley also discusses the increasingly stringent policies set by governments such as the United States and Great Britain to control correspondents and sometimes coerce them into telling the side of the story the governments want their citizens to hear. In an interview on the Socialist Worker Party in Ireland Web site, Knightley explained his belief that truth is the first casualty in war. He stressed the importance of propaganda to a government's effort in conducting war, noting, "People must try and probe behind the rhetoric and not allow themselves to be fooled by politicians, whatever political party they might be."

A native of Australia, Knightley is also the author of Australia: A Biography of a Nation. Knightley set out to write this book partially to answer the question of why Americans and Australians are so different. Both countries began as English-speaking, British colonies that battled to conquer new frontiers and, in the process, nearly wiped out the indigenous inhabitants of their respective countries. According to Knightley, one of the primary difference between Americans and Australians is the American adherence to a winner-take-all attitude that emphasizes the philosophy of the individual, while Australians have a stronger belief in mutual help and social obligation. "Knightley is at his best when he analyses the difficult events that forged the nation [Australia] and its particular spirit of comradeship," wrote an Economist contributor, calling Australia "a fine book with much offer." Commenting on Knightley's chronicle of Australia in the Library Journal, Joseph L. Carlson called the book "a searing look at a nation struggling to come to grips with its history" and noted that "Knightly is forthright in his commentary and presents his information in a manner that will please historians and casual readers alike."



Columbia Journalism Review, September-October, 2002, James Boylan, review of The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth Maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, p. 69.

Economist, September 9, 2000, review of Australia: A Biography of a Nation, p. 108.

Library Journal, September 15, 2001, Joseph L. Carlson, review of Australia: A Biography of a Nation, p. 97.


eJournalism Web site, (December 15, 2004), "Do It Yourself Investigative Journalism."

Socialist Worker Party in Ireland Web site, (December 15, 2004), "Truth Is the First Casualty" (interview).


The Troubles We've Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime (documentary film), Milestone Film & Video, 1994.*

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