Last week 50 sixth formers were lucky to attend a talk given by the author Andrew Lownie in the school library.

Andrew Lownie was speaking on the topic of the Cambridge Spy Ring, primarily following the thrilling narrative of the Cambridge graduate, Guy Burgess. Burgess is the subject of his well-received biography Stalin’s Englishman. It was an astonishing tale of a character who underwent an ideological transformation during his time in Cambridge, which led him to be a firm communist who believed strongly in the teachings of Marx and Lenin.

Lownie alluded to the fact that Burgess might have betrayed his country due to his failure to fit in seeing that he lived as an unconventional outsider, long before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in a ‘small-c conservative’ country with strong Christian values. The story of Burgess’ life is one of deception, espionage, and tragedy. The talk covered an obscure part of 20th century history. It is difficult to do justice to the riveting and all-encompassing talk that Lownie gave.

Benjy Coad (L6JTB)