A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean

A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean

by Roland Philipps


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The first full biography of one of the twentieth century’s most notorious spies.

Donald Maclean was one of the most treacherous spies of the Cold War era and a key member of the infamous "Cambridge Five" spy ring, yet the full extent of this shrewd, secretive man’s betrayal has never been explored—until now. Drawing on a wealth of previously classified files and unseen family papers, A Spy Named Orphan meticulously documents his extraordinary story.

Roland Philipps unravels Maclean’s character and contradictions, informed by a domineering father in a childhood at once liberal and austere. Maclean became infatuated with Communism during his school days, even before his time at Cambridge. A model diplomat, he rose through the ranks of the British Foreign Office rapidly, never arousing suspicion of his chilling double life. He married an American woman despite his sexual ambivalence and increasing antipathy to the United States. He was prone to alcoholic binges that should have blown his cover, yet they never found their way onto his record. A sworn enemy of capitalism, he had access to some of the greatest secrets of the time, transmitting invaulable intelligence to his Soviet handlers on the atom bomb and the shape of the postwar world. Maclean was a spy who loved and loathed the role. In a brazen escapade, he successfully eluded the incredulous authorities to defect to the Soviet Union, where he worked and lived unrepentantly for the next thirty years.

Philipps offers memorable portraits of Maclean’s coconspirators—Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, and Anthony Blunt—as well as the gifted Russian spymasters of the period; a vibrant evocation of Cambridge and London between the wars; colorful descriptions of Maclean’s postings in Paris, Cairo, and Washington, D.C.; and a riveting re-creation of the tense international code-breaking operation that ultimately exposed him. A gripping tale of blind faith and fierce loyalty alongside dangerous duplicity and human vulnerability, Philipps’s narrative will stand as the definitive account of the mysterious and elusive man first codenamed "Orphan."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393608571
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 638,976
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Roland Philipps is the grandson of Roger Makins, the last man from the Foreign Office to see Maclean say goodbye before fleeing to the Soviet Union. Philipps was managing and publishing director of Hodder & Stoughton and Macmillan London. He lives in London.

Jonathan Cowley is a British voice actor who calls Los Angeles home. He has received AudioFile Earphones Awards for his narration of The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen, The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart, and The Angry Chef's Guide to Spotting Bullsh*t in the World of Food by Anthony Warner.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Purity in Thought 7

2 Dared to Question 24

3 Orphan 47

4 Lyric 66

5 City of Light 89

6 Left Bank 109

7 Blitz and Barbarossa 122

8 Homer 140

9 Iron Curtain 155

10 Distant Thunder 166

11 Access All Areas 185

12 Chaos on the Nile 205

13 Collapse 231

14 Reconciliation 251

15 Curzon 275

16 Endgame 300

17 Establishment 324

18 Into the Wilderness 340

19 Comrade Frazer 356

Afterword 381

Acknowledgements 383

Bibliography 386

Notes 393

Illustration Credits 426

Index 427

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