Robert Cecil served for thirty years in the Diplomatic Service, after reading History and Modern Languages at Cambridge. During the War he was seconded for two years to ‘C’, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. Later he was to serve as Donald Maclean’s assistant in the American Department, taking over the post of Head of Department after Maclean’s flight. In 1968 he took up a Readership at the University of Reading, and from 1976 until retirement in 1978 he was Chairman of the Graduate School of Contemporary European Studies. In addition to two books on aspects of modern German history and two books of verse, he has published a book on English social history, Life in Edwardian England.