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Papa Spy


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For fans of Ben Macintyre's Agent Zigzag and the novels of John le Carre Provides fascinating insights into the deadly work of Kim Philby Illustrated with a wealth of contemporary photographs that bring the period and events to life

About the Author

Jimmy Burns is an author and journalist. Among his previous books are The Land That Lost Its Heroes (Somerset Maugham non-fiction prize, 1987), Hand of God: The Life of Diego Maradona and Barca: A People's Passion. He lives in London.


British journalist Burns's fascinating account of his father's diplomatic service in Madrid (1940-45) has multiple themes. The bulk of the book concerns Tom Burns's varied efforts, while officially stationed at the British embassy in Madrid, to counter Nazi influence in a geopolitically vital location. (He officially worked for the Ministry of Information, and his efforts included involvement with secret agents, information gathering, and propaganda.) Other topics include British intellectual and literary society, the Catholic publishing business, and discrimination against Catholics by the English establishment in Madrid. The senior Burns was even criticized for being an independent-minded Catholic maverick, marrying a member of the Spanish social elite, and supporting the fascist dictatorship more assiduously than was politically correct so soon after the bitter Spanish civil war, when the Allied goal was to keep Spain neutral and Gibraltar in British hands. In addition, Soviet spies in Whitehall also worked to remove Burns in order to damage Allied-Spanish relations. VERDICT Recommended reading for anyone interested in modern Spanish history, World War II diplomacy, espionage activities, and Communist penetration of the British intelligence bureaucracy. (Index and photos not seen.)-Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'A great story, with drama, betrayal and historical significance' Independent 'Frank and revealing ... a world of intrigue and betrayal ... A son's search for who his father really was. ****' Phillip Knightley, Daily Telegraph 'Jimmy Burns's lively biography of his father is more than an act of filial piety ... the murky world of intelligence, counter-intelligence, deception and double agents, provide a series of real James Bonds' Raymond Carr, Spectator Books of the Year 'A thrilling book, written with passion and precision' Javier Cercas, author of Soldiers of Salamis

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