John Harte

Author John Harte was born in London in 1925 when it was still at the center of foreign affairs and global issues. He was eight years old when Hitler became the sole dictator leading the biggest and most modern military forces ever. Harte’s awareness of the imminence of World War 2 took place when five Cambridge students decided they must take a stand against the threat of Nazi Germany. But his perception arose without their understanding of world affairs. Since he had inherited a library of over two thousand books from his father, he began to study them. Several described the First World War, which still puzzled historians, economists and journalists.

As a Second World War became inevitable, the author was growing into a teenager in the midst of the wartime crisis, with battles between fascists and communists, the unfolding civil war in Spain, and the helplessness of Britain’s weakest-ever government. It was an anxious time in England for anyone who understood what was happening.

The author became not only an observer of history, but also a watcher of political and military events. He was able to distance himself from communist ideology, which he found hard to take seriously. That was because he was still unaware of what the five brilliant Cambridge students had realized and discussed among themselves— that it was essential to help the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany and prevent the German armed forces from conquering Britain.

As a prep schoolboy, he watched the bombing of London and the Battle of Britain from a rooftop in the West End. With three older brothers in uniform, it was inevitable that the incidents of the war would be vividly stamped on his memory.

Author's books

The Greatest Spy


As the basis for the popular James Bond stories, Sidney Reilly’s true exploits were even more thrilling and fantastic than those of the fictional James Bond. Reilly was Britain’s best spy—but was he also a Soviet double-agent? Author John Harte retells Reilly’s story as it really was, in fast-moving prose with an eye for telling detail—and provides a twist: He tells us what really happened to Reilly after he vanished in Soviet Russia in 1925 and was assumed to have been murdered by Stalin’s secret police. Apparently not!