A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald MacLean

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.4 X 1.6 X 9.3 inches | 1.75 pounds

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About the Author

Roland Philipps is the grandson of Roger Makins, the last man from the Foreign Office to see Donald Maclean before his escape to the Soviet Union. He was publishing director of Hodder & Stoughton and Macmillan, London, and managing director of John Murray Publishers. He lives in London.


Donald Maclean was arguably the most valuable, and certainly the most troubled, of the Cambridge spies. Roland Philipps knows the world that formed him and has given us the fullest account we've yet had not only of his treason but of the conflicted man who committed it.--Joseph Kanon, New York Times best-selling author of Defectors
Fascinating and page-turning. An exceptional story of espionage and betrayal, thrillingly told. I devoured it.--Philippe Sands, author of East West Street
From his riveting recreation of the Cold War atmosphere to his in-depth exploration of such a brilliant, troubled and duplicitous character, Roland Philipps has created a masterpiece. The rich renderings of secret assignations, smuggled documents, damning intelligence and brilliant code-breaking will delight lovers of fiction and non-fiction alike. Picture Erik Larson meets John le Carré and you have only begun to scratch the surface of this absolutely gripping book.--Brad Thor, New York Times best-selling author of Use of Force
Roland Philipps relates the complex narrative of Maclean's treason--and those of his colleagues--with tremendous aplomb, limpidity and acuity....Philipps is very astute on the nuances of psychological interpretation.--William Boyd
The definitive account of the life of a 'gifted' traitor....By drawing on a wealth of previously classified material, Philipps weaves a gripping tale of misplaced loyalty, intrigue and betrayal that is unlikely to be bettered.
Brilliantly fluent....This biography first grips and then lingers long in the mind. It is a page-turner of the most empathetic kind.--Rachel Cooke
Philipps sets a great example by being punchy and hard-nosed in his handling of facts, but pliant, imaginative and humane in his understanding of motives and emotions.--Richard Davenport-Hines
Excellent....What fascinates Philipps is not what Maclean did but why he did it....Philipps' real achievement is to show the toll this took on Maclean's conflicted psyche.--Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times (UK)
Scrupulous....gripping, enlightening.