Anthony Blunt by Miranda Carter
His Lives

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

Once an untouchable member of England's establishment—a world-famous art historian and a man knighted by the Queen of England—in 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 century—first as a rebel against his class, then as its epitome—and 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.

About Miranda Carter

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Miranda Carter was educated at St Paul's Girls' School and Exeter College, Oxford. She worked as a publisher and journalist. She lives in London with her husband and son. This is her first book.
Published January 15, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 592 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Entering Cambridge in 1926, Blunt (1907–83) gravitated to the rebellious, esthetic Bloomsbury group that dominated university intellectual life between the wars.

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The Guardian

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Anthony Blunt Miranda Carter Macmillan £20, pp608 When I was at school, Sir Anthony Blunt was regarded as the very model of the eminent old Marlburian: the son of the chaplain to the British Embassy in Paris, he had had an exemplary school career, winning a scholarship in mathematics to Trinity C...

Nov 11 2001 | Read Full Review of Anthony Blunt: His Lives

The Guardian

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Anthony Blunt: His Lives Miranda Carter 608pp, Macmillan, £20 Miranda Carter has brought a steely dispassion - worthy of her subject's own mask - to the story of the art historian, courtier and Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.

Nov 10 2001 | Read Full Review of Anthony Blunt: His Lives

Publishers Weekly

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This engaging and important biography examines the many masks of the infamous Anthony Blunt (1907–1983), the Cambridge art historian turned spy who worked simultaneously for British Intelligence and the Soviet Union during WWII.

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London Review of Books

No doubt he was moved by the hunger marches, certainly he was stirred by the death of John Cornford, appalled by Fascism, and disturbed by the plight of Jewish scholars, but what remains clear from her account is that Blunt took little serious interest in politics and had very little knowledge of...

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