The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy

The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy

by Henry Hemming

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The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy by Henry Hemming

The untold story of an enigmatic genius who changed warfare forever

In the World War II era, Geoffrey Pyke was described as one of the world's great minds—to rank alongside Einstein. Pyke was an inventor, adventurer, polymath, and unlikely hero of both world wars. He earned a fortune on the stock market, founded an influential pre-school, wrote a bestseller, and came up with the idea for the US and Canadian Special Forces. In 1942, he convinced Winston Churchill to build an aircraft carrier out of reinforced ice.

Pyke escaped from a German WWI prison camp, devised an ingenious plan to help the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and launched a private attempt to avert the outbreak of the Second World War by sending into Nazi Germany a group of pollsters disguised as golfers.

And he may have been a Russian spy.

In 2009, long after Pyke's death, MI5 released a mass of material suggesting that Pyke was in fact a senior official in the Soviet Comintern. In 1951, papers relating to Pyke were found in the flat of “Cambridge Spy” Guy Burgess after his defection to Moscow. MI5 had “watchers” follow Pyke through the bombed-out streets of London, his letters were opened, and listening devices picked up clues to his real identity. Convinced he was a Soviet agent codenamed Professor P, MI5 helped to bring his career to an end.

Henry Hemming is the first reporter to sift through this extraordinary new information and finally tell Pyke's astonishing story in full: his brilliance, his flaws, and his life of adventures, ideas, and secrets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610397131
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/13/2016
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 1,210,917
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Henry Hemming is the author of four previous works of nonfiction, including Misadventure in the Middle East. He has written for the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, Economist, FT Magazine, and the Washington Post, and appeared on Radio 4's “Today” programme and NBC's “Today” show. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Introduction 1

Part I

How to Become a War Correspondent 11

How to Escape 44

How to Become Invisible 67

Pyke Hunt, Part 1 99

How to Raise Your Child (and Pay for It) 114

Part II

How to Resolve an Epidemic of Anti-Semitism, a Royal Scandal and the Threat of Fascism 157

How to Prevent a War Pyke Hunt, Part 2 217

How to Defeat Nazism 235

Pyke Hunt, Part 3 256

How to Change the Military Mind 261

Pyke Hunt, Part 4 281

How to Succeed in America 295

Pyke Hunt, Part 5 324

How to Win the War with Ice 329

How to Survive 372

How to Live 386

Pyke Hunt, Part 6 407

Epilogue, or, How to Think Like a Genius 428

Notes 441

List of Illustrations 481

Acknowledgements 483

Index 485

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