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THURS 24 SEPT /  20.00 / £10

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Henry Hemmings



A gripping, interactive talk inspired by Henry Hemming’s new book Our Man in New York – the eye-opening story of how the British used ‘fake news’ to help bring the United States into the Second World War. You’ve heard about Russian attempts to influence the last US presidential election. But did you know that the largest ‘influence operation’ ever launched in America had nothing to do with Moscow?


It was run by the British, it reached millions of Americans, and in this new talk Henry will show how it helped to change the course of the Second World War. Following the success of his last book talk, inspired by his Sunday Times bestseller M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster, Henry will be giving talks later this year about his forthcoming book Our Man in New York, recently optioned by a major film production company, and set to be published by Quercus in September 2019.


Using storytelling, music, props, and an audience game, Henry will bring to life a particular episode from his book. He will show how, in the months leading up to Pearl Harbor, a first-time MI6 spymaster, a failed American politician, a love-struck lyricist, and the President of the United States used a fake Nazi map to trick the American people. He will also reveal the surprising effect this had on world history.


Our Man in New York is based on a true story familiar to anyone who has read William Boyd’s Restless. It is timely as well as personal. How the British used ‘fake news’, opinion polls, and pressure groups to sway American opinion in 1941 resonates with how the Russians did much the same during 2016 as they campaigned secretly to help then presidential candidate Donald Trump. This is also a story close to Henry’s heart. As he will explain in the talk, the man who ran this undercover British operation during the war not only asked his grandmother to be a spy but also saved Henry’s father’s life.


‘One of the highlights of the Chalke Valley History Festival 2017 was the talk by Henry Hemming on M. It was beautifully delivered and the feedback has been absolutely superb’


Chalke Valley History Festival