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The Fourth Man (1979)

av Andrew Boyle

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1463144,864 (3.08)2
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The 1930’s were a decade of rapid change perhaps because of social movements as a result of the “lost generation” of WWI, but they were also a time of poverty for the lower working class and Britain remained governed by an entrenched ’upper class’ who set the standards of behavior and, it was claimed, even the moral tones of English society. Yet it was this privileged elite, from the Public Schools and Oxford and Cambridge and famous family connections that formed the core of Stalin’s Communist spy-ring.

Sir Anthony Blunt, KCVO, keeper of the Queens Pictures, Guy Francis De Moncy Burgess, of The London Times and the BBC, Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby OBE, SIS officer and son of famous Arabist St. John Philby, Donald Duart Maclean, Diplomat and SIS officer. James Klugmann was an SOE officer and became the author of the official History of the Communist Party of Great Britain and reputedly the Fifth Man was John Cairncross; an Intelligence Officer, member of the Treasury Department and even researcher on the ULTRA coding at highly secret Bletchley Park. All spied for Communist Russia.

Despite Boyle’s suggestion that this was really a treason of class, the long term betrayals went further than that as even the King; Edward VIII and his many-times married American wife Wallace Simpson, were suspected of treasonably supporting England’s enemies – Hitler in their case - and they were both long-time of targets of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and members of this Soviet spy ring for their activities both before and after his abdication. Astoundingly, the Americans had already, as early as1948, identified at the least, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby as Soviet spies but they did not pass on their information to the British SIS, partly because they no longer trusted them. Interestingly the CIA agent in charge of the case, James Jesus Angleton was also an American from an English Public School … those seats of the treason.

The “controlled schizophrenia” of secrecy and duality of lives demanded from spying seems to have come more readily to some members of the group because they shared what Boyle calls “the sad pleasures of sodomy” and discretion was then required for homosexuality. But eventually they were ‘outed’ and the relationship between US and British security services is rumored to have never fully recovered.

But it was not just a “treason of class” as the “five” never left the Establishment receiving in the due course of their so typical professions all the normal and expected rewards, honors and titles. As a contemporary to all the characters and events in the book – and another potential spy, but for the SIS - the nearly recruited Neal Ascherson wrote; “They were unwilling in the end to leave the Establishment, and became prominent figures in the BBC, the Foreign Office, Intelligence and so forth – just as they were destined to. Except that they also spied”.

As disbelieving author Cyril Connolly said when the scandal broke: "They are members of the governing class, of the high bureaucracy, the “they” who rule the “we”…. If traitors they be, then they are traitors to themselves."
1 rösta John_Vaughan | Dec 1, 2011 |
Gossipy recounting of how the infamous four Britons became spies for Stalin. I got most from anecdotes about Churchill and other British personalities of the '30s and '40s. ( )
1 rösta robertg69 | Dec 19, 2006 |
Visar 3 av 3
This book is a great feat. Andrew Boyle went through archives and memoirs in two continents, but above all persuaded people to talk – people in the know, who had given out little or no information before. So much has been written about the Two and then the Three and now the Baker’s Dozen, as far as one can see, that it hardly seemed possible that Boyle could do more than rehash old evidence or bomb the rubble. How wrong!
 
Reviews the book with author in a BBC interview
tillagd av John_Vaughan | ändraBBC, Robin Day (Dec 1, 1978)
 
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