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The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham Hardcover – 12 Feb 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing; 1st Edition edition (12 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849545138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849545136
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

[a] brisk and intriguing biography --Dominic Sandbrook, Evening Standard

very readable...Michael Jago draws on family memories and Bingham s own papers to create an affectionate, and in places poignant account of a serious, conventional and ethical man --Stella Rimmington, The Spectator

very readable...Michael Jago draws on family memories and Bingham s own papers to create an affectionate, and in places poignant account of a serious, conventional and ethical man --Stella Rimmington, The Spectator

Competent and fluent, prone to such smooth sentences as 'The greatest irony is that it was to George Smiley, modelled largely on Bingham, that le Carré owed his success.' --London Review of Books

About the Author

MICHAEL JAGO is an Englishman based in Chicago and south-west France. He holds an honours degree from University College, Oxford in Greats and has published and edited a number of journals.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cassivellaunus on 14 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Immensely enjoyable. I confess to having been a little sceptical, before I began, that the life of Bingham could sustain my interest over the course of a book. But Jago makes him fascinating. I especially enjoyed the flavour of postwar Europe: Bingham's experiences in Germany ("the "smell of defeat, the German smell"); his succession to a depleted fortune. Le Carré's writing is cast in a new light. And when the book describes the anguish of Bingham's literary career - a pale shadow of the one his protégé was later to enjoy - my toes curled.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Dorril on 19 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Any biography of an MI5 officer is a plus because there are so few but this is very thin, with not a great deal on his Security Service career, aspects of his life as a journalist are treated too lightly, it pulls is punches on assessing his politics, and it only scratches the surface in its research. This 300-page book could have been edited to half its length and it would not have lost much in the process(and may have been a better book) because there is a good deal of repetition, over writing to fill he gaps in the research. The links to John le Carre are occasionally very interesting but, again, lack depth in research. When there is something new and intriguing - Bingham's ventures into Northern Ireland and The Troubles in the early seventies - it is all very elusive and doesn't really tie it into his family's strong links with Ireland. When it does have some material on an important MI5 operation (Party Piece - the copying of the Communist Party secret membership list) it fails to follow through on the implications - how did MI5 make use of this list and why did it keep secret the knowledge that the CPGB was weak and split and no great threat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By astomartia on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent read
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sue on 2 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought for husband, he loved it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham 30 May 2013
By Lynn True - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Great read. A fascinating life and life story apart from the George Smiley connection. John Bingham's aristocratic family background starts the book like a Downton Abbey episode. Then an extremely awkward adolescence leads to a charming, `coming of age' section of the book. A period as a successful, satirical newspaper columnist is interrupted by the war. Bingham enters the spy business at a time when information was gathered by subterfuge rather than electronic gadgetry. There are many choice vignettes here. This is my favorite section of the book. And this just leads up to Bingham's role as a mentor to LeCarre and a successful novelist in his own right. Great subject for a book. I would strongly recommend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful story of an intriguing man. 8 Jun. 2013
By Michael S. F. Gorman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very well researched and fascinating biography of an amazing man which totally enthralled me on a long flight into Central Asia.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Well written insight into the man, the life of a writer, and the state of British Intelligence service. 18 Sept. 2013
By Bryan Engler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an extremely well written book that drew me in like few biographies have been able to do. Michael Jago paints a complete picture of a man and a life that would have normally been shrouded in secrecy. Throughout the work, we are given deep insight into the life a writer, a spy master and a family man in a way that is both engaging and informative. I look forward to seeing what else Mr. Jago has in store for us in the future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and Intriguing 31 May 2013
By Michael Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Could not disagree with the previous review more. This book is well worth the read. It kept me interested throughout and provide great insight. Highly recommend.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
a must read for Smiley lovers 30 May 2013
By Mary Jo Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An engaging biography of the real life spy LeCarre used as a model. Fascinataing to see where truth and fiction intersect.
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