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Stalin's Englishman

Guy Burgess, the Cold War, and the Cambridge Spy Ring
Narrated by: Steven Crossley
Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

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

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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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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 openly gay, upper class, aristocratic British pedophile. The guy was openly a communist and openly gay. If Burgess could make passes on men, expense his child 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 working for the soviets.

Why this book is worth reading is that people need to understand how we all give a pass to "elites." Even when the "elite" people are disasters. The Cambridge 6 basically sold out their country because people just assumed they could not be evil traitors.

7 of 14 people found this review helpful