Roland Philipps


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Roland Philipps


Assistant: Gabriella Docherty


Roland Philipps went into publishing on graduating from Cambridge and is currently Publisher of John Murray.  He has edited some leading novelists, politicians, historians, travellers and biographers.  A SPY NAMED ORPHAN is his first book.


Publication DetailsNotes


The Bodley Head

A SPY NAMED ORPHAN will chart the extraordinary story of Donald Maclean, the spy recruited by the Soviets while he was still at Cambridge, alongside his fellow undergraduates Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross and Kim Philby. They become known (and were called at the time by their Russian handlers) the ‘Cambridge Five’ and wrought immense damage upon their country, the US and Europe by transmitting secrets to the USSR, as well as costing the lives of certainly hundreds and possibly thousands of agents and supporters. Of all the spies of the 20th century Maclean’s was the greatest contribution to the deterioration of the relationships between Britain, the US and the USSR in particular, living and working as he did from the Grand Alliance to the Cold War. The secrets he gave away from Paris and Washington before, during and after the Second World War, and later from Cairo and London, changed Soviet attitudes to the West and engendered much of the climate of the later freeze.

Maclean’s American wife Melinda was eventually to follow him to Moscow where she had an affair with his former associate Kim Philby. She later returned to the States in 1979 to be with her mother and sisters and died in 2010 without breathing a word about her past and what Maclean had done.

It will be the first biography of Maclean to take into account the MI5 files relating to his case which will be released for the first time in September.