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Anthony Blunt: His Lives by Miranda Carter

Anthony Blunt: His Lives

by Miranda Carter

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220281,331 (3.79)19



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A sad ending to a interesting life of the more talented of the "Cambridge Spies". Blunt was manipulated by the stronger personality of Guy Burgess but made the choice to help the Soviets and lived to regret not knowing the truth about them. In the thirties he saw the Soviet Union as the only country to stand up to the European fascists and fight for the Republic in Spain, for one example. His upper class in Britain was quite guilty of appeasement; the treason he embarked upon was against his class as well as his country. This was a time homosexuals kept secrets as a matter of survival. Compartmentalization was necessary for personal as well as political life; and as such contributed to his tragic decision to spy for the NKVD. ( )
1 vote willmurdoch | Nov 5, 2011 |
Blunt, Anthony, 1907-1983/Great Britain > History > 20th century >/Biography/Espionage, Soviet > Great Britain > History >/20th century/Art historians > Great Britain > Biography/Gay men > Great Britain > Biography/Spies > Great Britain > Biography
  Budzul | May 31, 2008 |
Showing 2 of 2
The Cambridge Five have always been regarded as traitors - they handed over government files to the Soviet Union - but the real cause of the scandal they created, and the reason why they are remembered when others are forgotten, is that they were perceived as traitors not so much to their country as to their class. Like "going native" during the empire, this class treachery was their truly unforgivable sin.
Carter has assimilated the massive and often unreliable literature on espionage to produce an authoritative and often hilarious account of this period.
added by jburlinson | editKirkus Reviews
The author's research appears impeccable, and her tone is evenhanded and straightforward. It is possible to read much between the lines of Blunt's life, but Carter stays away from facile explanations for his complex behavior.
added by jburlinson | editBooklist, David Pitt
The biggest challenge any Blunt biographer faces is Blunt himself, a man of almost legendary emotional detachment. Blunt revealed little about his personal life, yet Carter has managed to bring readers as close to this enigmatic man as humanly possible. Thoroughly researched and carefully crafted, this is sure to be the definitive biography.
added by jburlinson | editPublishers Weekly
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330367668, Paperback)

When Anthony Blunt died in 1983, he was a man about whom almost anything could be - and was - said. As Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures and Director of the Courtauld Institute, Blunt's position was assured until his exposure in 1979 left his reputation in tatters. Miranda Carter's brilliantly insightful biography gives us a vivid portrait of a human paradox. Blunt's totally discrete lives, with their permanent contradictions, serve to remind us that there is no one key to any human being's identity: we are all a series of conflicting selves. 'Astonishingly good' - "Daily Telegraph". 'Highly impressive ...sensitive and compelling...Miranda Carter has written a richly informative biography which, in the end, does not fall into the trap of tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner - not only because she is not seeking to pardon him, but also because there is something here that is still quite impossible to comprehend' - Noel Malcolm, "Sunday Telegraph". 'A compelling biography...Miranda Carter's skill at scouring the different compartments of Blunt's life is deeply impressive' - Julian Barnes, "New Yorker".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:14 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Chronicles the life of art historian Sir Anthony Blunt, exploring his private and public personas and how he used his connections within English high society to work as a Soviet spy until he was exposed by Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

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