Carrie's Reviews > Papa Spy: Love, Faith, and Betrayal in Wartime Spain

Papa Spy by Jimmy Burns
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Nov 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, books-i-own, arc-s-i-ve-won
Recommended for: adults
Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

When I noticed this book up for goodreads, I thought I’d take a chance since of all the wars; WWII is the one that holds my interest. I knew going into this book it was going to be something completely different than what I usually read. As I read I took notes and took my time.

At first I was discouraged; the reason being is I felt the sudden introduction of people was a bit overwhelming. But as I read on, most everything fell in place. I have to commend Jimmy Burns on his research. I think the time, the investigating and dedication it took to compile a book about a spy had to be complicated. Even though the spy he wrote about was his father, (Tom Burns), much of his father’s secret life disappeared when he died.

By reading PAPA SPY I learned so much about WWII that I hadn’t known before. Tom Burns, a devoted Catholic, was a publisher turned diplomat. He worked for the British and was drawn to Spain because of his roots there. He was a big part of keeping Spain out of the war. He truly loved the women in his life, his faith, bullfighting, and art. This book is full of backstabbing groups, double agents and interesting historical facts that Burns was a part of in someway.


My favorite facts were the ones on the episode known as ‘The Man Who Never Was.’ It’s nice to know who this poor soul was. Without him, I have to wonder how the war would have played out.

At the end of the war, Burns was denied honors because of accusations by one of his former enemies. Some of these enemies (double agents) were eventually exposed as Soviet and German spies; others simply disappeared or were killed to keep them quiet. Finally thirty years later, Burns was awarded ‘The Order of the British Empire’ and recognized for his services to the Queen and Country.

What an interesting father to get to write about. I know my own father and husband will devour this book.



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