Cover art for The Irregulars

The Irregulars

1 rating

Summary

Prior to the U.S. entering WWII, a small coterie of British spies in Washington, D.C., was formed. They called themselves the Baker Street Irregulars after the band of street urchins who were the eyes and ears of Sherlock Holmes in some Arthur Conan Doyle stories. This group constituted the very beginning of what would become M16, the British version of the CIA, and they helped support the fledgling American intelligence service, known at the time as the OSS. Among them were writers Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and the flamboyant Canadian industrialist turned professional saboteur William Stephenson, known by the code name "Intrepid", upon whom Fleming would later base his fictional M16 agent James Bond. Richly detailed and carefully researched, Conant's narrative uses never-before-seen wartime letters, diaries and interviews to create a fascinating, lively account of deceit, double dealing and moral ambiguity - all in the name of victory.

©2008 Jennet Conant (P)2008 HighBridge Company.

Narrator: Simon Prebble
Category: History, Military
Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Great Secret

The Great Secret

1 rating

Summary

On the night of December 2, 1943, the Luftwaffe bombed a critical Allied port in Bari, Italy, sinking 17 ships and killing more than a thousand servicemen and hundreds of civilians. Caught in the surprise air raid was the John Harvey, an American Liberty ship carrying a top-secret cargo of 2,000 mustard bombs to be used in retaliation if the Germans resorted to gas warfare.  When one young sailor after another began suddenly dying of mysterious symptoms, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Alexander, a doctor and chemical weapons expert, was dispatched to investigate. He quickly diagnosed mustard gas exposure, but was overruled by British officials determined to cover up the presence of poison gas in the devastating naval disaster, which the press dubbed "little Pearl Harbor". Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Dwight D. Eisenhower acted in concert to suppress the truth, insisting the censorship was necessitated by military security.  Alexander defied British port officials and heroically persevered in his investigation. His final report on the Bari casualties was immediately classified, but not before his breakthrough observations about the toxic effects of mustard on white blood cells caught the attention of Colonel Cornelius P. Rhoads - a pioneering physician and research scientist as brilliant as he was arrogant and self-destructive - who recognized that the poison was both a killer and a cure and ushered in a new era of cancer research led by the Sloan Kettering Institute. Meanwhile, the Bari incident remained cloaked in military secrecy, resulting in lost records, misinformation, and considerable confusion about how a deadly chemical weapon came to be tamed for medical use.  Deeply researched and beautifully written, The Great Secret is the remarkable story of how horrific tragedy gave birth to medical triumph.

©2020 Jennet Conant (P)2020 Recorded Books

Narrator: John Kroft
Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Man of the Hour

Man of the Hour

1 rating

Summary

The remarkable life of one of the most influential men of the greatest generation, James B. Conant - a savvy architect of the nuclear age and the Cold War - told by his granddaughter, New York Times best-selling author Jennet Conant. James Bryant Conant was a towering figure. He was at the center of the mammoth threats and challenges of the 20th century. As a young eminent chemist, he supervised the production of poison gas in WWI. As a controversial president of Harvard University, he was a champion of meritocracy and open admissions. As an advisor to FDR, he led the interventionist cause for US entrance in WWII. During that war, Conant was the administrative director of the Manhattan Project, oversaw the development of the atomic bomb, and argued that it be used against the industrial city of Hiroshima in Japan. Later, he urged the Atomic Energy Commission to reject the hydrogen bomb and devoted the rest of his life to campaigning for international control of atomic weapons. As Eisenhower's high commissioner to Germany, he helped to plan German recovery and was an architect of the United States' Cold War policy. Now New York Times best-selling author Jennet Conant recreates the cataclysmic events of the 20th century as her grandfather James experienced them. She describes the guilt, fears, and, sometimes, regret of those who invented and deployed the bombs and the personal toll it took. From the White House to Los Alamos to Harvard University, Man of the Hour is based on hundreds of documents and diaries and interviews with Manhattan Project scientists, Harvard colleagues, and Conant's friends and family, including her father, James B. Conant's son. This is a very intimate, up-close look at some of the most argued cases of modern times - among them the use of chemical weapons, the decision to drop the bomb, Oppenheimer's fate, the politics of postwar Germany, and the Cold War - the repercussions of which are still affecting our world today.

©2017 Jennet Conant (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Narrator: Fred Sanders
Length: 24 hrs and 3 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for A Covert Affair

A Covert Affair

1 rating

Summary

Best-selling author Jennet Conant brings us a stunning account of Julia and Paul Child's experiences as members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the Far East during World War II. She also details the tumultuous years when they were caught up in the McCarthy Red spy hunt in the 1950s and behaved with bravery and honor. It is a fascinating portrait of a group of idealistic men and women who were recruited by the citizen spy service, slapped into uniform, and dispatched to wage political warfare in remote outposts in Ceylon, India, and China. The eager, inexperienced 6-foot, 2-inch Julia springs to life in these pages, a gangly golf-playing California girl who had never been farther abroad than Tijuana. Single and 30 years old when she joined the staff of Colonel William Donovan, Julia volunteered to be part of the OSS's ambitious mission to develop a secret intelligence network across Southeast Asia.

©2011 Jennet Conant (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Narrator: Jan Maxwell
Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for 109 East Palace

109 East Palace

1 rating

Summary

They were told as little as possible. Their orders were to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and report for work at a classified Manhattan Project site, a location so covert it was known to them only by the mysterious address: 109 East Palace. They were greeted by Dorothy McKibbin, an attractive widow who was the least likely person imaginable to run a front for a clandestine defense laboratory. They stepped through her threshold into a parallel universe, the desert hideaway where Robert Oppenheimer and a team of world-famous scientists raced to build the first atomic bomb before Germany and bring World War II to an end. Despite all the obstacles, Oppie managed to forge a vibrant community at Los Alamos through the sheer force of his personality. Dorothy devoted herself to taking care of him and his crew, and supported him through the terrifying preparations for the test explosion at Trinity and the harrowing aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this deeply moving account, Conant reveals an enigmatic man who served his country at tremendous personal cost and whose singular achievement, and subsequent undoing, is at the root of our present nuclear predicament.

©2005 Jennet Conant (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS in an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Narrator: Anne Twomey
Category: History, Military
Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Tuxedo Park

Tuxedo Park

1 rating

Summary

This is the untold story of an eccentric Wall Street tycoon and the circle of scientific geniuses he assembled before World War II to develop the science for radar and the atomic bomb. Together they changed the course of history. In the late 1930s, legendary financier, philanthropist, and society figure Alfred Lee Loomis gathered the most visionary scientific minds of the 20th century - Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, and others - at his state-of-the-art laboratory in Tuxedo Park, New York. He established a top-secret defense laboratory at MIT and personally bankrolled pioneering research into new, high-powered radar detection systems that helped defeat the German Air Force and U-boats. With Ernest Lawrence, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, he pushed Franklin Delano Roosevelt to fund research in nuclear fission, which led to the development of the atomic bomb. Jennet Conant, the granddaughter of James Bryant Conant, one of the leading scientific advisers of World War II, enjoyed unprecedented access to Loomis' papers, as well as to people intimately involved in his life and work. She pierces through Loomis' obsessive secrecy and illuminates his role in assuring the Allied victory.

©2002 Jennet Conant (P)2018 Tantor

Narrator: John Kroft
Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
Available on Audible