Nobody who knew John and the work he was
doing could have missed the description of Smiley in my first novel.' John le Carre
interrogator, intellectual hero - biographer Michael Jago traces the life of the
remarkable and engaging John Bingham, the man behind John le Carre's George
heir to an Irish barony and a spirited young journalist, John Bingham joined MI5 in 1940; his quiet
intellect, wry wit, and knack for observation made him a natural. He took part
in many of MI5's greatest wartime missions - from tracking Nazi agents in
Britain to Operation Double Cross that ensured the success of D-Day - and later
spent three decades running agents in Britain against the Communist target.
Among his colleagues his skills were legendary and he soon became a mentor to
many a novice spy - including one David Cornwell,
later known more widely as John le Carre.
too, was an innovative writer; he perfected the psychological thriller, marrying cold
objectivity with an explanation of the darkest reaches of human behaviour. His
early novels were applauded
but, for all his success, Bingham struggled to match the fame of the man he had
on Bingham's published and unpublished writings, as well as interviews with his
family, Michael Jago skilfully tells the riveting, yet poignant tale of the man
who was George Smiley.
About the Author
Michael Jago read Ancient History and Philosophy at University College, Oxford before settling in the USA in 1980. For fifteen years he ran an educational travel business, focusing on the battlefields of western Europe. Formerly a publisher and editor of a number of journals, he now specialises in biography. Previous publications include the acclaimed Clement Attlee: The Inevitable Prime Minister (shortlisted for the 2015 Paddy Power Political Biography of the Year Award) and Rab Butler: The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?
"Michael Jago draws on family memories and Bingham's own papers to create an affectionate, and in places poignant account of a serious, conventional and ethical man." Stella Rimmington, The Spectator