Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess

Author(s): Andrew Lownie

Non Fiction

A Guardian Book of the Year. The Times Best Biography of the Year. Mail on Sunday Biography of the Year. Daily Mail Biography of Year. Spectator Book of the Year. BBC History Book of the Year. 'Andrew Lownie's biography of Guy Burgess, Stalin's Englishman ...shrewd, thorough, revelatory.' William Boyd 'In the sad and funny Stalin's Englishman, [Lownie] manages to convey the charm as well as the turpitude.' Craig Brown 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.


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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 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 Scrupulous and comprehensive. The Week Is there anything significant left to say about members of the Cambridge spy ring, Moscow's 'magnificent five'? The answer, judging by this book, is a resounding yes. Guardian A masterly biography. Mail on Sunday The most comprehensive, readable and faultlessly researched account of one of Britain's most notorious (but colorful) traitors. Now we know just about all there is to know about this wretched man who betrayed friends, family, country... the lot! Nigel West, author of The Secret War For The Falklands One of the most important intelligence books in many years. Eye Spy Magazine A fascinating story, racily recounted. The Oldie Andrew Lownie demonstrates that there is plenty still to be learned about enjoyable and convincing biography. Literary Review This deeply researched new biography...Lownie has unearthed much fascinating material...well worth reading. Evening Standard Exhaustive research, elegant construction, psychological acuity, wit and the necessary sympathy. Lownie shows that Burgess's treason was far more significant than had been thought. Spectator Andrew Lownie's biography of Guy Burgess, Stalin's Englishman ... shrewd, thorough, revelatory. -- William Boyd Guardian In the sad and funny Stalin's Englishman, [Lownie] manages to convey the charm as well as the turpitude. -- Craig Brown Guardian The first full biography of Burgess is fascinating on both his methods and his motivation - and proves a more compelling page-turner than any spy thriller. Mail on Sunday Awful human beings make for splendid biographies, and the traitor Guy Burgess was a terrible specimen of humanity...This terrible man is brought back to vivid life by this well-researched, finely written book. Times Best Biographies of Year 2015 ... a rich combination of spy story, cultural history, social outrage and character portrait. Several recent biographies with an espionage angle have seemed to me despicable in their sensationalism and gullibility but Lownie writes with scepticism, decency and a sharp regard for truth. Richard Davenport-Hines, BBC History 'Books of the Year' A biography that reads as compellingly as a fine novel. Church Times There's world-class gossip here. The Spectator This superb biography captures the ambiguity Burgess always inspires. Daily Mail Lownie's research is complete and impeccable. He has unearthed more facts on this case than anyone else writing in the field. Brilliant! Intelligencer: Journal of US Intelligence Studies A comprehensive biography, which convincingly revealed quite how important Burgess was for his KGB handlers. Country Life Lownie's book successfully rescues Burgess from the image he is sometimes given, as little more than a drunken buffoon...a meticulous account of Burgess's life and makes a useful contribution to Cold War intelligence history. TLS

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.

General Fields

  • : 9781473627383
  • : Hodder & Stoughton
  • : Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
  • : 0.354
  • : May 2016
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : July 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Andrew Lownie
  • : Paperback
  • : 716
  • : en
  • : 327.12092
  • : 448
  • : 3 x 8 page black and white insets