21st September 2019
Henry Hemming, KH Irvine and Gareth Rubin capture the political zeitgeist of the last three years and how it’s informed their work. Chaired by Dr. Kate Bradley.
Henry Hemming is the author of six works of non-fiction, including most recently the Sunday Times bestseller M, a biography of the MI5 spymaster Maxwell Knight.
His latest novel, Our Man in New York is gripping story of a propaganda campaign like no other: the covert British operation to manipulate American public opinion and bring the US into the Second World War.
When William Stephenson arrived in the United States towards the end of June 1940 with instructions from the head of MI6 to ‘organise’ American public opinion, Britain was on the verge of defeat. Surveys showed that just 14% of the US population wanted to go to war against Nazi Germany. But soon that began to change…
Those campaigning against America’s entry into the war, such as legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, talked of a British-led plot to drag the US into the conflict. They feared that the British were somehow flooding the American media with ‘fake news’, infiltrating pressure groups, rigging opinion polls and meddling in US politics.
These claims were shocking and wild: they were also true.
That truth is revealed by Henry Hemming, using hitherto private and classified documents, including the diaries of his own grandparents, who were briefly part of Stephenson’s extraordinary influence campaign that was later described in the Washington Post as ‘arguably the most effective in history’. Stephenson – who saved the life of Hemming’s father – was a flawed maverick, full of contradictions, but one whose work changed the course of the war, and whose story can now be told in full.
“OUR MAN IN NEW YORK is gripping and intoxicating, it unfolds like the best screenplay.” – NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE
Find Henry at: www.henryhemming.com
K.H. Irvine grew up in Scotland and now lives near London. An experienced business leader for over two decades, K.H. Irvine’s work has taken her to board rooms, universities and governments all over the world and has included personal access to the UK’s Special Forces.
A KILLING SIN is K.H. Irvine’s first book and tackles a number of challenging themes, asking when tolerance becomes intolerable and where security measures become racial profiling. A gripping page-turner with huge commercial appeal and immediate resonance in today’s climate, the book raises questions we may not want to answer and is sure to trigger debate.
Book two is set a few years later as Britain moves to civil unrest and the rise of the far right, where the personal and political become intertwined.
Set in London in the very near future, A Killing Sin centres around three dynamic, flawed women who forged a life-long friendship at university. Through their different career paths, their lives become entwined with that of a young woman, a committed jihadist, who embarks on a horrific terrorist plot hitting right at the heart of Government.
Gareth Rubin spent two decades avoiding libel actions as a social affairs journalist before writing his first novel, Liberation Square. His follow-up, published in 2020, is about British agents in France on the eve of D-Day.
Described as ‘a gripping story, with heart’ by the Daily Telegraph, ‘tightly plotted, tense and set in a chillingly plausible world’ by the Sunday Mirror, and ‘a gripping and well-imagined yarn’ by The Sun, Liberation Square is a murder mystery set in Soviet-occupied London.
It’s 1952 and Soviet troops control British streets after winning the Second World War. After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west. The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar.
On the Soviet side of the wall, Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice, hoping to surprise him. But instead she detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime. Jane rushes to confront them, but soon finds herself caught up in the glamorous actress’s death. Her husband Nick is arrested for murder. Desperate to clear his name, Jane must risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail of corruption right to the highest levels of the state. And she might find she never really knew her husband at all.
Fun fact: Gareth also jointly holds a Guinness World Record as a member of the world’s biggest coconut orchestra!
Find him at www.garethrubin.com
Dr. Kate Bradley is a senior lecturer in social history and social policy at the University of Kent.
Kate researches and teaches on a range of areas in justice and social policy in the twentieth century, from the development of the juvenile courts to youth leisure and welfare after the Second World War. She has just finished a book on the history of legal aid and advice, which will be published by Manchester University Press in 2019/20. Kate lives in Rochester, and is an avid reader of crime fiction in her spare time.