God In Number 10 – Book Launch

Mike Kane MP will host a Reception on behalf of the author Fr Mark Vickers and SPCK Publishing for the launch of the book, God in Number 10.

God in No. 10

‘This carefully researched and well-written study reveals the religious faith of our Prime Ministers, or lack of it, in vivid colours. Prepare to be shocked and surprised as the author lays bare their souls.’
SIR ANTHONY SELDON

Mark Vickers’ acclaimed volume on the faith of the twentieth-century British Prime Ministers casts a new perspective on these holders of the highest political office in the realm. God in Number 10 offers intriguing insights into Margaret Thatcher’s legendary ‘Sermon on the Mound’, Tony Blair’s perception of Jesus as a modernizer, Arthur Balfour’s recourse to spiritualism, Stanley Baldwin’s mystical experiences, and Winston Churchill’s involvement with astrology. The book considers the role of religion generally in the political classes of the period, the reasons for the declining influence of faith in the public forum, and the relationship between Church and State.

The families of Henry Asquith, Andrew Bonar Law, Ramsay MacDonald, Neville Chamberlain, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Wilson have all expressed their support for God in Number 10 and, where able, helped in the research, while John Major has assisted fully.

Mark Vickers read History at Durham University and practised with one of the City law firms. Having studied for the priesthood at the English College in Rome, he was ordained for the Diocese of Westminster in 2003. He is currently a parish priest in West London.

The Churchill Room, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 October 2022
Charles Moore, Lord Moore of Etchingham, will speak at 7.30 p.m.

Book free tickets here.

Pre-order the book here, published on October 20th.

‘Secularism has air brushed the role of religion from the formation and motivation of our Prime Ministers. This book demonstrates the conclusive and increasing importance of faith in the lives of the twentieth-century premiers.’

– Jeremy Black, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Exeter

‘Do Christian beliefs, values and prayer have a place in contemporary politics? What have we to fear if they don’t? This timely study reveals the surprising extent to which the Prime Ministers of the last century were influenced by their Christian upbringing and faith – and suggests how their successors could benefit from a similar ethical foundation.’

– Tim Farron, MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, 2015-17

Nazi Espionage comes to Dundee

The Black Watch Castle and Museum’s second Book festival – ‘Words of War’ 2022.

Saturday, October 1st, 2022 – 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

A Taste For Treason is the dramatic, untold story of how a Nazi spy’s letter, posted in New York and intercepted in Scotland in 1938, broke spy rings across Europe and North America. Following parallel Nazi espionage plots in the UK and USA and an extraordinary cast of characters as they converged on a Scottish post office, this is a thrilling true story of the international spy hunt that followed.

Dr. Andrew Jeffrey will discuss with Dr. Nicola Small the remarkable housewife spy catcher who set MI5 on the trail of Nazi Germany’s most notorious spy in pre-war Britain and how that single letter marked the genesis of an intelligence sharing and security alliance that today includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the so-called Five Eyes.

Book here now.

Pre-order A Taste for Treason published on October 6th.

Authors in the Media – September

The TLS

Michael Smith’s THE REAL SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP continues to garner stellar press. The Times Literary Supplement (right) featured it as a lead review with an introduction by the editor in chief. It was described as “a lucid account, rich in anecdote and detail.”

The Cipher Brief, a daily email put out by a US organization which produces reports on intelligence issues by former prominent spooks, also published its own review and notes “Smith’s careful research enables him to challenge a few myths.”

The book was also reviewed in Country Life Magazine by Allan Mallison.

“Michael Smith was an intelligence professional before turning to journalism. There are few as qualified as he to put the whole story together and few who could tell it with such cogency. He relates the 80 years’ cooperation between the intelligence communities (principally the SIS and CIA) in astonishing and revelatory detail, with pace, clarity and authority. It is, quite simply, magnificent.”

And by John Rathbone, the Financial Times’ security & defence correspondent, who said:

“Michael Smith, a former military intelligence officer and author of several books about spying, handles the material judiciously and writes with élan.”

Country Life - August 2022Mary Novakovich’s MY FAMILY AND OTHER ENEMIES published August 18 and was featured in Country Life (right). She also appeared on DK Travel’s Where To Go podcast, the Travel Writing World podcast, Destination Food Drink and Monocle Reads: Meet the Writers.

Seth Thevoz’s BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was reviewed in The Spectator Australia, noting “despite the vastness of its ambition, Behind Closed Doors serves as a well-researched one-stop introduction to the complex social history of the club.”

The London Review of Books also wrote an illuminating essay about the book and Clubland in general.

The book was also reviewed in The Financial Times, saying:

“This well-researched romp through the history of the capital’s private members’ clubs overturns many myths along the way… Compendious and entertaining, Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of London Clubs is the result of thorough research, lightly worn. Thévoz writes with energy, conviction and amusement at the ever-changing variety of human congregation and its foibles.”

The hall of the Athenaeum, c. 1840. [Getty Images]

Caroline Boggis-Rolfe’s ADRIATIC published on August 15 and she appeared on The History Hack podcast.

Henry Schlesinger also discussed honey traps on the Spycraft 101 podcast.

THE WOMEN BEHIND THE FEW to Biteback Publishing

World rights to historian and lecturer Dr Sarah-Louise Miller’s debut work The Women Behind the Few: Women in WWII British Air Intelligence has gone to Biteback Publishing.

The book will investigate the work of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force behind significant and famous air operations in the Second World War, including the Battle of Britain, the Dambusters raid, the Thousand Bomber Raids and the discovery of the German V weapons using aerial reconnaissance.

It also examines the rationale behind the RAF not wanting to employ women in intelligence work, and the emotional reactions of women to warfare and their ability to keep secrets as part of this examination.

Sarah-Louise MillerSarah-Louise Miller graduated in May 2022 with a PhD from the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and is uniquely qualified to write this book, having spent the past five years working full time on researching women in British intelligence roles.

Most recently, she appeared on a six-part television documentary series for Sky History speaking about the bombing campaigns of the RAF during WWII. She also helped actor Ralf Little investigate his grandfather Arthur’s experiences during the Second World War on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?

1 April 2023 is the 105th anniversary of the creation of both the Royal Air Force and its women’s counterpart, the Women’s Royal Air Force (which, in WWII, was renamed and became the WAAF). The book will coincide with the commemoration of this date in 2023.

Authors in the Media – August

On July 20th Michael Smith launched his new book at Bletchley Park, The Real Special Relationship: The True Story of How the British and US Secret Services Work Together, published on August 4.

Michael Smith with (l-r) former CIA Director ⁦John Brennan, former MI6 Chief John Scarlett and former GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan.
At Bletchley Park: Michael Smith with (l-r) former CIA Director ⁦John Brennan, former MI6 Chief John Scarlett and former GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan.
Mark Urban reported for BBC Newsnight at the launch of The Real Special Relationship from Bletchley Park, including interviews with Sir John Scarlett, John Brennan and Michael Smith. Interviews begin at 28:00.

The Real Special Relationship was also in The Times’ recommended reading list for the new prime minister.

Alan Judd reviewed the book for the Spectator.

Michael also appeared on the True Spies podcast, narrated by Vanessa Kirby, with former CIA case officer Jim Lawler to lift the lid on a rare joint operation between the CIA and MI6.

Seth Thevoz’s new book Behind Closed Doors (published July 28) had wide coverage in the national newspapers, including The Observer, The Times, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

He also appeared on Times Radio with Michael Portillo. The interview can be found here, approximately 1 hour 35 minutes in.

Neil Robinson’s spy novel The Other Side of Trust was reviewed on the popular Spybrary podcast.

Mark Simmons appeared on BBC Radio Cornwall discussing his new book Alistair MacLean’s War.

Finally, Mary Novakovich is featured in this month’s edition of The Lady Magazine, recalling her first trip to Croatia. Her new travelogue/memoir, My Family and Other Enemies: Life and Travels in Croatia’s Hinterland, is published by Bradt on 18 August. In the meantime, Bradt has just published an extract on its website.