We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781473627390

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 10th September 2015

Genre: Humanities / History

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.


...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
A fascinating story, racily recounted.
The Oldie
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
A masterly biography.
Mail on Sunday
A meticulously researched biography...an astonishing piece of research.
Sunday Times
An abundance of vivid detail from many different voices, viewpoints and nationalities...Stalin's Englishman is a matchless and splendidly exciting read.
The Times
Andrew Lownie demonstrates that there is plenty still to be learned about Burgess...an enjoyable and convincing biography.
Literary Review
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.
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
Complicated, revelatory: a superb biography more riveting than a spy novel.
Sunday Telegraph
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.
In the sad and funny Stalin's Englishman, [Lownie] manages to convey the charm as well as the turpitude.
Craig Brown, Guardian
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.
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.
Not every question has been answered, but most have, and those that remain probably never will be.
Independent on Sunday
One of the most important intelligence books in many years.
Eye Spy Magazine
Scrupulous and comprehensive.
The Week
Shrewd, thorough, revelatory.
William Boyd, 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
'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
This deeply researched new biography...Lownie has unearthed much fascinating material...well worth reading.
Evening Standard
This exhaustively researched and absorbing book, the first full biographical study and likely to remain the definitive life.
New Statesman
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
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
Lownie brilliantly chronicles the life of the man at the centre of the Cambridge spy ring.