Blown: The Incredible Story of John Goldsmith, Gambler, Racehorse Trainer and Wartime Secret Agent by Jamie Reid
The thrilling true story of John Goldsmith, one of the great unsung heroes of World War Two. An English racehorse trainer and horse dealer's son, he was born and brought up in Paris and spoke fluent French. In 1942 he was recruited in to the legendary Special Operations Executive and dropped three times behind enemy lines. On each of these missions he drew on the nerve and guile that he had acquired in the racing world. In 1943 he organised the escape of a French air force general across the Pyrenees but a few months later he was caught by the Gestapo in Paris only to engineer his own getaway from a locked third floor hotel room. By the end of the war he had been awarded the DSO, MC, Croix de Guerre and Legion d'Honneur. Resuming his peacetime occupation Goldsmith was sent numerous French racehorses to train and found uncanny similarities between the secret agent's life and the black market milieu of Britain's post war racetracks. In partnership with a high stakes Mayfair bookie he went on to orchestrate some of the most audacious betting coups in racing history.