Memoirs of a British Agent – Bruce Lockhart (2004)


Memoirs of a British Agent – Bruce Lockhart (2004)


Title: Memoirs of a British Agent

Author: R H Bruce Lockhart

Publisher: Folio Society, 2004

Condition: Hardcover, with slipcase. Very good. Very slight foxing to bottom edge. Else fine. With numerous black-and-white photographic plates. 280pp., App 9.5″x6.5″.

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About the book (from Goodreads):

When it was first published in 1932, “Memoirs of a British Agent” achieved bestseller status both in the United States and in Great Britain. R.H. Lockhart’s account of the years he spent representing Britain’s Foreign Office in Russia is still immensely entertaining and informative today. Lockhart was not an espionage agent; he was a diplomat. He was Britain’s Vice-Consul in Moscow, then Acting Consul-General, then official “unofficial” representative to the new Bolshevik regime in Russia, between the years 1912 and 1918.

Lockhart describes his attempts at rubber farming as a young man in Malaysia and the circumstances that led to his seeking a career in the Foreign Office. He was given the post of British Vice-Consul in Moscow shortly after joining the Service.

In these memoirs, Lockhart gives us his insights into Russian culture and politics during the last years of Tzarist rule, the circumstances of Russia’s participation in World War I, and Russia’s descent into Bolshevism. Lockhart came to love the Russian people and consider Moscow his home while he witnessed the last Tzar unwittingly ensure his own downfall and the succeeding Provisional Government inevitably fail.

He gives an honest account of the errors in British and Allied policies during these precarious years in Russia. We get a close-up view of the eternal rift between diplomatic knowledge and political imperative.

“Memoirs of a British Agent” is a supremely literate and insightful first-hand account of the fascinating and turbulent time in Russia that gave birth to the Soviet Union through the eyes of a foreigner who knew many prominent members of both the Tzarist and Bolshevik regimes personally. Lockhart manages to convey great sympathy for Russians of various ideologies while at the same time speaking bluntly of their shortcomings. Rarely has a book that is so informative been so entertaining. “Memoirs of a British Agent” is a real page-turner.