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James Klugmann and Guy Burgess: the wasted lives of spies

According to their latest biographies, two of the cleverest men at the heart of the Cambridge spy ring failed to achieve anything — or even caused much damage

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

The Shadow Man: At the Heart of the Cambridge Spy Circle Geoff Andrews

I.B Tauris, pp.288, £20, ISBN: 9781784531669

Stalin’s Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess Andrew Lownie

Hodder, pp.448, £25, ISBN: 9781473627369

Geoff Andrews’s ‘Shadow Man’, James Klugmann, was the talent-spotter, recruiter and mentor of the Cambridge spy ring. From 1962, aged 21, I stayed frequently at the large north London house where Klugmann (1912–1977) stored the overflow of his vast library. My hosts, who treated me almost as family, were members of the Communist party, as were lots of their friends whom I met.

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'The Shadow Man', £17 and 'Stalin's Englishman', £21.25 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033. Paul Levy is the author of Moore: G.E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles.

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