NEW RELEASES FROM W&N
DEAD DOUBLES: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings
by TREVOR BARNES
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, hardback, 3 September 2020
The Portland Spy Ring was one of the most infamous espionage cases from the Cold War. People all over the world were shocked when its exposure revealed the shadowy underbelly of deep cover KGB 'illegals' - spies operating under false identities stolen from the dead. The CIA's revelation to MI5 in 1960 that a KGB agent was stealing secrets from the world-leading submarine research base at Portland in Dorset looked initially like a dangerous but contained lapse of security by a British man and his mistress. But the couple were tailed by MI5 'watchers' to a covert meeting with a Canadian businessman, Gordon Lonsdale, who in turn led MI5's spycatchers to an innocent-looking couple in suburban Ruislip called the Krogers who were exposed as two of the most important Russian 'illegals' ever, whom the Americans had been hunting for years. And Lonsdale was no Canadian, but a senior KGB controller. This astonishing but true story of MI5’s spy hunt is straight from the world of John le Carré and is told here for the first time using hitherto secret MI5 and FBI files, private family archives and original interviews. Its tentacles stretch around the world - from America, to the USSR, Canada, New Zealand, Europe and the UK. Dead Doubles is a gripping episode of Cold War history, and a case that fully justified the West's paranoia about infiltration and treachery.
Trevor Barnes studied espionage in 1920s Britain and the CIA as a history student at the University of Cambridge and as a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard. His pioneering research was published in the Historical Journal. Subsequently he worked as a BBC radio and TV senior journalist on programmes including Radio 4's Today and BBC Two's Newsnight, and has written for, among others, The Times, Observer, The Evening Standard and The Boston Globe. He is the author of three crime novels and also researched and wrote Trial at Torun, a BBC radio play about the trial in Poland of a secret-service murder case.
THE LAST ASSASSIN by PETER STOTHARD Weidenfeld & Nicolson, hardback, 1 October 2020
A new history of the fall of the Roman republic, told through the gripping story of Caesar's longest-surviving assassin. Many men killed Julius Caesar. Only one man was determined to kill the killers. From the spring of 44 BC through one of the most dramatic and influential periods in history, Caesar's adopted son, Octavian, the future Emperor Augustus, exacted vengeance on the assassins of the Ides of March, not only on Brutus and Cassius, immortalised by Shakespeare, but all the others too, each with his own individual story. The last assassin left alive was one of the lesser-known, Cassius Parmensis, a poet and sailor who chose every side in the dying republic's civil wars except the winning one, a playwright whose work was said to have been stolen and published by the man sent to kill him. Parmensis was in the back row of the plotters, many of them Caesar's friends, who killed for reasons of the highest political philosophy and lowest personal pique. For fourteen years he was the most successful at evading his hunters but has been barely a historical foot note - until now. The Last Assassin dazzlingly charts an epic turn of history through the eyes of an unheralded man. It is a history of a hunt that an emperor wanted to hide, of torture and terror, politics and poetry, of ideas and their consequences, a gripping story of fear, revenge and survival.
Peter Stothard is an author, journalist and critic. He is a former editor of The Times and of The Times Literary Supplement. His books include Alexandria, The Last Nights of Cleopatra and On the Spartacus Road, A Spectacular Journey through Ancient Italy.
THE GOOD GERMANS: Resisting the Nazis, 1933-1945 by CATRINE CLAY
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, hardback, 20 August
Award-winning historian Catrine Clay tells the gripping stories of six ordinary Germans who witnessed the rise of Nazism in Germany from within and dared to resist it. After 1933, as the brutal terror regime took hold, most of the two-thirds of Germans who had never voted for the Nazis - some 40 million people - tried to keep their heads down and protect their families. They moved to the country, or pretended to support the regime to avoid being denounced by neighbours, and tried to work out what was really happening in the Reich, surrounded as they were by Nazi propaganda and fake news. They lived in fear. Might they lose their jobs? Their homes? Their freedom? What would we have done in their place? Many ordinary Germans found the courage to resist, in the full knowledge that they could be sentenced to indefinite incarceration, torture or outright execution. Catrine Clay argues that it was a much greater number than was ever formally recorded: teachers, lawyers, factory and dock workers, housewives, shopkeepers, church members, trade unionists, army officers, aristocrats, Social Democrats, Socialists and Communists. Catrine Clay's ground-breaking book focuses on six very different characters: each experiencing the momentous events of Nazi history as they unfold in their own small lives.
Catrine Clay worked for the BBC for over twenty years, directing and producing award-winning television documentaries. She is the author of King, Kaiser, Tsar, Trautmann's Journey and Labyrinths. THE GOOD GERMANS will be read on Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4 in the Autumn.
THE CROWN IN CRISIS: Countdown to the Abdication by ALEXANDER LARMAN
Weidenfeld & Nicolson hardback, 9 July 2020
In December 1936, Britain faced a constitutional crisis that was the gravest threat to the institution of the monarchy since the execution of Charles I. The ruling monarch, Edward VIII, wished to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson and crown her as his Queen. His actions scandalised the establishment, who were desperate to avoid an international embarrassment at a time when war seemed imminent. That the King was rumoured to have Nazi sympathies only strengthened their determination that he should be forced off the throne, by any means necessary. Using previously unpublished and rare archival material, and new interviews with those who knew Edward and Wallis, THE CROWN IN CRISIS is the conclusive exploration of how an unthinkable and unprecedented event tore the country apart, as its monarch prized his personal happiness above all else. This seismic event has been written about before but never with the ticking-clock suspense and pace of the thriller that it undoubtedly was for all its participants. THE CROWN IN CRISIS by Alex Larman is the definitive book about the events of 1936.
Alexander Larman is a historian and journalist. He is the author of three previous acclaimed books of historical and literary biography. He writes for the Times, Observer and Telegraph, as well as The Spectator and The Critic.