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Papa Spy: Love, Faith, and Betrayal in Wartime Spain
     

Papa Spy: Love, Faith, and Betrayal in Wartime Spain

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by Jimmy Burns
 

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In the 1930s Tom Burns was a rising star of British publishing, whose friends and authors included G. K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, the artist Eric Gill and the poet David Jones. And among his glittering social circle he had set his heart on the beautiful Ann Bowes-Lyon, cousin of the Queen.
When war was declared in 1939, Burns joined the Ministry of

Overview

In the 1930s Tom Burns was a rising star of British publishing, whose friends and authors included G. K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, the artist Eric Gill and the poet David Jones. And among his glittering social circle he had set his heart on the beautiful Ann Bowes-Lyon, cousin of the Queen.
When war was declared in 1939, Burns joined the Ministry of Information, effectively the propaganda wing of the secret services. Sent to Madrid as press attaché at the British Embassy, where the Ambassador was the formidable and very Proetstant Sir Samuel Hoare, Burns used his faith and his deep love of Spain in the propaganda war against the Nazis, who at the time had nearly unrestricted access to the Spanish media. Burns brief was to do all in his power to keep Franco neutral and so protect Gibraltar and access to the western Mediterranean.
The strategy was simple, but the tactics were more complicated, especially when Burns found he had begun to make enemies at home, not least among them Kim Philby and Anthony Blunt, head of the MI6s Iberian section. By 1941 he felt far from the real fighting, Ann had pledged herself to another man, and Burns was spending as much time protecting his back as fighting the Nazis. How he overcame these odds, was involved in the Man Who Never Was decoy plot, arranged Leslie Howards fatal propaganda trip to Portugal and Spain, and finally found true love while loyally serving his country is the story told in this extraordinary book by his son.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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\
Kirkus Reviews
Financial Times journalist Burns (Barca: A People's Passion, 2000, etc.) examines his father's career as a British Secret Service agent in Spain during World War II. The author learned a great deal about his father's wartime activities from the recent opening of MI6 files as well as tracking down the still-living participants, whose memory, he admits, proved shaky. The official version of his father's work-running Allied propaganda in the Iberian peninsula under Sir Samuel Hoare, then British ambassador to Spain-claimed that Burns had suspicious fascist, pro-Catholic leanings and elicited information from and protected sources who were suspected of being German agents. Burns fils sifts carefully through the record and concludes admiringly that his father's methods-going "native" in Spain and resisting the Minister of Information's attempts to control him-proved highly effective in the ultimate goal: to keep Franco and his pro-Axis minions from siding with Hitler. Born Catholic in Chile to British parents, papa Burns was educated by the Jesuits in England. He befriended a circle of Catholic intellectuals and worked at The Tablet, recruiting such literary lights as Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton and Graham Greene. The energized young Catholics were horrified by the communist "savagery" enacted on the Catholics with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and Burns had to tread gingerly between Franco's suspicion of the British effort and the Nazis military and espionage offensive. Winning Spanish public opinion was first priority, though Burns's fraternization with Spanish collaborationists proved questionable. On the other hand, he may have kept the British embassy from being shut downcompletely. More memoir than history, the author's re-creation of his father's wartime activities exposes a hive of complex spy games and a fascinating, little-discussed part of WWII. Good and evil blur in this descent into the shadowy, slippery realm of wartime espionage. Agent: Annabel Merullo/PFD
Booklist
Recounting his father's extracurricular work, the author levelly assesses their results without overrating their effect on Britain's strategic aim of keeping Spain neutral. The audience for WWII espionage should warm to Burns' tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802719652
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
File size:
7 MB

Meet the Author

Jimmy Burns writes for the Financial Times. 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 Barça: A Peoples Passion.

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Papa Spy: Love, Faith, and Betrayal in Wartime Spain 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago