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Publisher's Summary

Guy Burgess was the most important, complex, and fascinating of "The Cambridge Spies" - Maclean, Philby, Blunt - 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 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 100 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, colorful, tragi-comic wonder.
©2015 Andrew Lownie (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Lownie brilliantly succeeds in painting a very complete picture of this British spy." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By jose on 06-03-17

The World's Worst Spy - But Interesting

This is a very interesting because it shows that the conclusions of Alan Turing's personal story (Imitation Game) was a big lie. The star of this book is a basically an upper class, aristocratic pedophile. The guy was openly a communist and openly gay. If Burgess could make passes on men, expense his prostitutes in Turkey, and openly cavort with male prostitutes, then Turing's little crush on a particular dude was probably not a big deal.

Burgess basically flaunts his left wing politics in front of MI5 and MI6 people for years, then they are shocked when the dude is a spy and ineffective in his nominal job.

Why this book is worth reading is that people need to understand how we all give a pass to rich, upper-class "elites", even when they are disasters. Plus, we ignore talented people that don't have a personal background that we find non prestigious.

The Cambridge 6 basically sold out their country because people just assumed they could not be traitors.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joanne on 04-03-17

A Time Capsule

Burgess' life in a well drawn picture of British schooling and politics during the first half of the 20th century. Very enjoyable taste of another place and time. History the way I like it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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