Anthony Blunt: His Lives

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Miranda Carter
1st American ed

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Product Overview

The first full biography of the notorious spyand an X-ray of the British ruling class that produced him.

Once an untouchable member of England's establishmenta world-famous art historian and a man knighted by the Queen of Englandin a single stroke Anthony Blunt became an object of universal hatred when, in 1979, Margaret Thatcher exposed him as a Soviet spy.

In Anthony Blunt: His Lives, Miranda Carter shows how one man lived out opposing trends of his centuryfirst as a rebel against his class, then as its epitomeand yet embodied a deeper paradox. In the 1920s, Blunt was a member of the Bloomsbury circle; in the 1930s he was a left-wing intellectual; in the 50s and 60s he became a camouflaged member of the Establishment. Until his treachery was made public, Blunt was a world-famous art historian, recognized for his ground-breaking work on Poussin, Italian art, and old master drawings; at the Courtauld Institute he trained a whole generation of academics and curators. And yet even as he ascended from rebellion into outward conformity, he was a homosexual when homosexuality was a crime, and a traitor when the penalty was death.

How could one man contain so many contradictions? The layers of secrecy upon which Blunt's life depended are here stripped away for the first time, using testimony from those who knew Blunt well but have until now kept silent and documents from sealed Russian archives, including a secret autobiography Blunt wrote for his controllers. Miranda Carter's Anthony Blunt is the first full biography of the mythical Cold War warrior, and is at once an astonishing history of one the century's greatest deceits and a deeply nuanced account of fifty years in the British power elite, as experienced by one deep inside who wished to bring it down.


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