The History Press has secured World Rights to the first authorised biography of the racing driver, aviator, war hero, and industrialist Whitney Straight.

A gripping tale of speed, heroism, romance, determination, and tragedy: Whitney Straight was born into great wealth in New York, the eldest of three children – his sister would become an Oscar-winning actress and his brother the youngest of the Cambridge spies. He dropped out of Cambridge to become an outstanding racing driver and ran his own team against Hitler’s Silver Arrows. A qualified pilot at 17, he revolutionised aircraft design.

Whitney Straight

His extraordinary war saw him rise from Flying Officer to Air Commodore. He survived the disastrous invasion of Norway, a crash-landing in occupied France, and spent a year as a PoW. He turned down Churchill’s proposal of a career in politics to become CEO of BOAC, transforming it from a sales vehicle for outmoded aircraft into a national airline to be proud of. At Rolls-Royce, he railed against a company dominated by engineers who made poor businessmen, and after the national tragedy of the great company going bust, played a fundamental role in the splitting of the auto and aero businesses still seen today.

Paul Kenny has been granted unfettered access to Straight’s diaries and photograph albums and has scoured archives on both sides of the Atlantic, leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of the first full story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest mavericks.

The book will be published in September 2023. Audio Rights have been sold to Blackstone Audio USA.