The extraordinary true story of Guy Burgess, the man at the heart of the Cambridge Spy Ring and a linchpin of Cold War espionage.
Winner of the St Ermin's Intelligence Book of the Year Award.
'One of the great biographies of 2015.' The Times
Fully updated edition including recently released information.
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.
'A remarkable and definitive portrait ' Frederick Forsyth
'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.
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.
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 biography...an 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 Burgess...an 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
An impeccably researched biography, but also as an in-depth cultural study and a spy thriller of genuine, knuckle-gnawing tension. — The Independent
An astonishing, unique story. — Sarah Bradford, The Tablet
A remarkable and definitive portrait of the truly ghastly spy and traitor Guy Burgess who should surely never have been permitted to do us so much damage. And a portrait of the snobbery and laxity that permitted an Old Etonian who had changed sides to get away with it for so long. — Frederick Forsyth
Stalin's Englishman tells the outrageous story of a master manipulator and trickster, and evaluates his treason with a vigour that made it one of the great biographies of 2015. — The Times
A hugely entertaining read about one of the most notorious spies ever. Eric Ambler couldn't have provided a more fascinating story. — Philip Kerr
This is a must-read for anyone at all interested in espionage. The definitive and revelatory biography of one of the greatest traitors of the Cold War. — Jeremy Duns, author of the Paul Dark spy series and Codename:Hero: The True Story of Oleg Penkovsky and the Cold War's Most Dangerous Operation
...a masterly and penetrating study of this strange man, the rich well-connected brilliant Cambridge scholar, who was a seriously dangerous agent for the Soviet Union from the 1930s until he fled with Maclean in 1951. — Michael Hartland, author Seven Steps to Treason
Above all, this is a gripping study of a most unusual personality, written with compassion but without sentimentality. It is detailed, and impeccably sourced...Reminiscent of early John le Carré, this is a book to be relished with a glass of whisky at one's side - or should that be vodka? Highly recommended. — Marius Gabriel
Almost from the moment he skipped the country Guy Burgess has been the subject of biographers, from early journalists' hastily assembled clippings, via the academic study, to 'Stalin's Englishman' - the first 'life' that captures the man fully ... the decadent, the drunkard, the outrageous sex bandit ... and above the all the first life to reveal the full extent of Burgess's treason. Andrew Lownie's book will be definitive for years to come. — John Lawton, author of the Inspector Troy series
I loved it. Beautifully written and riveting from start to finish. Also very funny. — Piers Brendon, author of Ike: His Life and Times and The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s
Stalin's Englishman comes as close to touching the tortured and tempestuous soul of Guy Burgess as anything I have read. It's superbly researched and written with an extraordinary elegance that takes you by the hand and guides you along the pathways of outrageous treachery. Truly exceptional. — Michael Dobbs
A superb biography... full of detail, meticulously sifted by the author, and it's also engrossing and exciting. We are transported into the past with real skill... Brilliantly told. — Evening Standard
Lownie brilliantly chronicles the life of the man at the centre of the Cambridge spy ring. — Guardian
An extremely well-written biography...an astonishing piece of research. — Sunday Times
A fascinating book, enlivened by many new sources and the results of painstaking interviews. — Edward Towne, The Historian
Stalin's Englishman is a fine biography about an effective spy and a disgraceful traitor who lived to enjoy Communist reality firsthand. It fills a major historical gap in espionage history. — Studies in Intelligence
A crack biography of a man who was a preposterous enigma. — Kirkus
A superb biography, the quality of which is unlikely tobe surpassed. — Intelligence & National Security
Fine biography, packed with detail...impressive primary and secondary reasearch — Wall Street Journal