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on 23 September 2017
I was not expecting state secrets, but I was expecting more of Bingham's career in MI5 and whatmde him the real life George Smiley. Instead this book gives more details of John Bingham the author,. Details are given on the plots of each of his novelsand how successful (or not) they were recived. It also gives details of Bingham's (and his wife's differences with former MI5 and MI6 agent David Cornwell, better known as John le Carre. It is an interesting book, but just not what I was hoping for.
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on 14 November 2013
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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on 19 October 2013
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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on 18 August 2014
excellent read
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on 25 June 2015
Super book anyone out there buy it
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on 2 August 2014
Bought for husband, he loved it
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