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John Le Carre: The Biography

by Adam Sisman

… more than half a century after The Spy Who Came in from the Cold became a worldwide bestseller.

From his bleak childhood – the departure of his mother when he was five was followed by ‘sixteen hugless years’ in the dubious care of his father, a serial-seducer and con-man – through recruitment by both MI5 and MI6, to his emergence as the master of the espionage novel, le Carre has repeatedly quarried his life for his fiction. Millions of readers are hungry to know the truth about him.

Written with exclusive access to le Carre himself, to his private archive and to many of the people closest to him, this is a major biography of one of the most important novelists alive today.

About Adam Sisman

Adam Sisman is the author of various biographies, all very well received by the critics. His first book, published in 1994, was a life of Trevor-Roper’s colleague and rival, A.J.P. Taylor, lauded by the late Roy Jenkins as ‘one of the most succinct, complete and satisfying biographies I have read for a long time.’ Boswell’s Presumptuous Task, which appeared in 1999, was praised as ‘extraordinarily gripping’ and ‘wonderfully vivid’ by Richard Holmes, and it was shortlisted for various prizes. In 2006 Sisman published a much-admired study of the friendship between Wordsworth and Coleridge, described by Diana Athill as ‘unputdownable’. Most recently he has authored an intriguing new memoir on classic literary author John Le Carre.


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