Book review: Stalin’s Englishman

Stalin’s Englishman is a biography of Guy Burgess, a member of the Cambridge Five ring of spies. It follows his life up to his defection to the Soviet Union in 1951 along with Donald Maclean (who was under suspicion at the time, although Burgess was not), with Burgess’ post-defection life being in less detail due to details not being known and Burgess not being paraded before the media by the Soviets. The book is detailed, tracking Burgess’ university days in particular as he was recruited as a spy. It also examines his drinking and how indiscreet Burgess was, yet how he managed to get away with it.

I was aware of the Cambridge Five, but didn’t know much about them beyond their names. The book certainly examined Burgess, his life and links with the other members of the ring. It was interesting to read about how effective Burgess was despite how openly anti-American and pro-Russian he was.

Rating (out of 5): ****

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