The extraordinary true story of Guy Burgess, the man at the heart of the Cambridge Spy Ring and a linchpin of Cold War espionage.
Guy Burgess was the most important, complex and fascinating of 'The Cambridge Spies' - Maclean, Philby, Blunt - all brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers.
In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess's chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service. Even when he was under suspicion, the fabled charm which had enabled many close personal relationships with influential Establishment figures (including Winston Churchill) prevented his exposure as a spy for many years.
Through interviews with more than a hundred people who knew Burgess personally, many of whom have never spoken about him before, and the discovery of hitherto secret files, Stalin's Englishman brilliantly unravels the many lives of Guy Burgess in all their intriguing, chilling, colourful, tragi-comic wonder.
About the Author
Andrew Lownie first became interested in the Cambridge Spy Ring when, as President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1984, he arranged an international seminar on the subject. After graduating from Cambridge University, where he won the Dunster Prize for History, Lownie went on to take a postgraduate degree in history at Edinburgh University. He is now a successful literary agent, and has written or edited seven books, including a biography of John Buchan.
An abundance of vivid detail from many different voices, viewpoints and nationalities...Stalin's Englishman is a matchless and splendidly exciting read. - The Times
This exhaustively researched and absorbing book, the first full biographical study and likely to remain the definitive life. - New Statesman
A meticulously researched biography...an astonishing piece of research. - Sunday Times
Complicated, revelatory: a superb biography more riveting than a spy novel. - Sunday Telegraph
As one of this country's foremost literary agents, Andrew Lownie certainly knows what makes a good book, and in Stalin's Englishman he has delivered one of his own - many times over. - Independent
Not every question has been answered, but most have, and those that remain probably never will be. - Independent on Sunday
In this meticulous biography of the most colourful of the quintet, espionage expert Lownie argues convincingly that Burgess - often seen as a clownish buffoon - was the key member of the ring, and his treachery the most damaging. - Observer
A magnificent biography...Burgess has all the right ingredients for an engrossing story and Lownie, who has spent 30 years researching this biography, makes the most of it... a narrative as gripping as a thriller. - Daily Express