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War Dispatches: Agent Josephine and Tales of Triumph Over Evil With Damien Lewis

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Write about what you know. It’s an old adage, but it has stood the test of time. Having spent more than two decades reporting from the frontline of conflict, it was almost inevitable that the books I write would deal with war, and the struggle for freedom in all its forms. Mostly a TV news reporter and cameraman, I filmed nearly all of my stories. As such, my method of storytelling was always intensely visual: I framed the story, the people involved and their epic struggles through the medium of the lens. My reports concentrated on the victims of war: the innocent bystanders–the men, women and children caught in the crossfire, or targeted specifically due to their ethnicity, their religious or other beliefs. Those were the tales that compelled me to the frontline, and often far beyond it, like a moth to the flame.

My books–narrative non-fiction stories, told like thrillers but employing purely the facts and the truth–are intensely visual. There could be no richer, more visual and glittering feast for the senses than the wartime story of superstar Josephine Baker. The most-photographed woman in the world pre-WWII, renowned for her beauty, her voice and her risqué dance routines, Josephine’s tale of wartime intrigue remains little known. Fascinated as to just how she used her stardom as her very cloak and her dagger, to become a stand-out spy for the Allies–for France, for Britain and the USA–I had little idea what a dramatic, daredevil, rollercoaster ride her story would take me on. The war was the making of her. The watershed between superstar and a woman with a passion and a mission. A similar thread runs through my choice of books below.


About the Author

Damien Lewis is an award-winning and internationally bestselling author, historian and reporter. He spent over two decades reporting from war, disaster and conflict zones across Africa, Asia and the Middle East for foremost broadcasters. His WWII classics include Churchill’s Secret Warriors, Hunting The Nazi Bomb and The Nazi Hunters, and he co-wrote with women of colour the multi-award winning memoirs Slave and Tears Of The Desert. His work has been translated into forty languages and several of his books have been made or are being developed as feature films, TV series or plays for the stage. He raises significant funds for the charitable causes connected to his writing.