Author(s): Jennet Conant
During the desperate winter of 1940, as the threat of German invasion hung over England, the British government mounted a massive, secret campaign of propaganda to weaken the isolationist sentiment in America and manipulate the country into entering the war on England's behalf. Under the command of the now legendary INTREPID, the British planted propaganda in American newspapers, covertly influenced radio stations and wire services, and plotted against American corporations doing business with the Third Reich. They also pushed President Roosevelt to create a similar covert intelligence agency in the US, and played a role in the selection of William Donovan as its head. Now for the first time, with great research and reporting, Jennet Conant reveals that the beloved author Roald Dahl was a member of Churchill's infamous dirty tricks squad, and tells the full story of how he was recruited to spy on the Americans during World War II.
"With grace and insight and an unerring eye for the telling human detail, Jennet Conant has given us an entertaining and enlightening account of a long-forgotten but essential chapter of the Second World War: the British espionage operations based in Washington during those epic days. By recovering Roald Dahl, the man at the center of seemingly everything, and placing him and his shadowy work in historical context, Conant has shed fresh light on the complexities and contradictions of the 'special relationship' between Roosevelt and Churchill and their nations. This is a terrific tale -- and it's all true, proving anew that history trumps even the most vivid fiction."-- Jon Meacham, author of "Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship"
Jennet Conant's profiles have appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Newsweek, and The New York Times. She was given unrestricted access to Loomis' and Conant's papers, as well as to previously unpublished letters and documents, and she interviewed Loomis' many family members, friends, and colleagues. The granddaughter and grand niece of two of the scientists from the Tuxedo Park community, she is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Columbia University's School of Journalism. She lives in New York City and Sag Harbor with her husband, "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft, and their son.