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- The Ingenious Mr. Author: Henry Hemming Published Date: 13 Sep 2016 Publisher: INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US Original Languages: English Book Format: Paperback::512 pages ISBN10.
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The untold story of an enigmatic genius who changed warfare foreverIn 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 groupof 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 relat
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The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy, by Henry Hemming
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The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy, by Henry Hemming
Free Ebook PDF Online The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy, by Henry Hemming
The untold story of an enigmatic genius who changed warfare foreverIn 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 groupof 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.The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy, by Henry Hemming
- Amazon Sales Rank: #210798 in Books
- Brand: Hemming, Henry
- Published on: 2015-05-05
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 9.25' h x 1.53' w x 6.13' l, .0 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
- 512 pages
Review “It is as if [Geoffrey Pyke] had been invented by G. K. Chesterton and given posthumous fame by John le Carré - which underlines the extraordinary accomplishment of his actual biographer Henry Hemming.”—Sir Michael Holroyd“Reads wonderfully like an adventure story…Hemming…turn[s] the story of a nerdish chameleon into a page-turner.”—Guardian“[Pyke’s] was not a lucky life but, in his biographer, he has gained a little bit of posthumous luck. This admirable and thoroughly enjoyable book should rescue a weirdly original and innovative talent from oblivion.”—The Sunday Times (London)'Well-written…throws fascinating light on a forgotten hero of the Second World War.'—The Independent (UK)“[A] masterful biography…Hemming’s superlative text is nearly as nimble as Pyke’s mind, and he reveals who this remarkable innovator really was.”—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW“An unlikely tale of true espionage… Fans of Graham Greene and Alan Furst will revel in this well-told true-life story.”—Kirkus Reviews“Biographer Henry Hemming makes Geoffrey Pyke a fascinating object of study.”—Columbus Post Dispatch“The Ingenious Mr. Pyke is the brilliant biography of an audacious intellect.”—Christian Science Monitor'Hemming reveals Pyke as a classic eccentric genius...in all of his marvelous eccentricities. ...However improbable it seems, Hemming’s book is impeccably researched, and remarkably intriguing, a satisfying read.'—Daily News of Galveston County
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.
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Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful. A Well Done Look at an Interesting Character By Andy in Washington I had a number of problems with this book, but in the end, I have to admit that I enjoyed it. The book is a limited biography of Georey Pyke, who is certainly one of history’s more colorful characters. Based on what parts of the book you choose to emphasize, Mr. Pike is either a true visionary, crackpot, British patriot, Russian spy, spoiled child, hopeless romantic or manic depressive. And quite honestly, he may be (and is quite likely) most, if not all, of those. The Good Stuff * I won’t give away much of the story line-since the fun of reading the book is just letting the various aspects of Mr. Pyke’s life hit you cold. Suffice it to say that the man was certainly capable of looking at problems from a slightly cockeyed angle and proposing solutions based on those looks. I couldn’t help but draw the analogy of Albert Einstein grasping relativity while imagining what happened to light waves while riding on a city bus.*Pyke certainly had some strange character traits, but was able to talk his way into various high level meetings with senior British and American military and government leaders. While the details are somewhat sparse, it was certainly fun to imagine 3-star Generals sitting down and discussing war technology with the 1940’s equivalent of Doc Brown from “Back to the Future”.* While many of Pyke’s innovations seem to fall in that grey area between brilliant and crackpot, there is no question that there were elements of genius in them. While they may not have ultimately been successful, at least in the timeframe they were conceived, I don’t doubt for a minute that Mr. Pyke was an important contributor to many innovations. If nothing else, just to fight off his ideas, the “establishment” had to examine many problems in a different light. The Not-So-Good Stuff * I have two major issues with the book. The first is that the author, Henry Hemming, seems to genuinely admire Mr. Pyke. This is always dangerous for a biographer, and is troublesome in this work. For example, much is made of Mr. Pyke’s unique way of analyzing problems by “rephrasing the question”. While it is a valuable technique, it is certainly not unique to Mr. Pyke.Similarly, Mr. Hemming seems to support Mr. Pyke’s charges that his innovation was held up because of a group of people blind to innovation. For example, during the Battle of the Atlantic, Mr. tike proposes some radical new building materials for ships. While his science may have been plausible, by this time the infrastructure of the United States was well on its way to producing large quantities of steel and a number of traditional shipyards. To stop that effort and commit to a promising, but still unproven technology, was simply not feasible.* Second, there were always questions regarding Mr. Pyke’s loyalties. Clearly he wanted Britain to triumph over Nazi Germany, but he was most definitely a socialist and potentially an agent of the communist party and of the USSR. This theme is built upon extensively throughout the book, and figures in the plot extensively.And yet the book ends with scarcely a few paragraphs which reveal the official British counter-intelligence thinking on the subject, and offer a few bits of rather weak supporting data. As a reader, I felt I was owed a more thorough explanation and justification of what Mr. Pyke’s true motives and sympathies were. Summary The book was an “almost fun” read, but could get a bit tedious. Certainly the antics of Mr. Pyke were capable of providing both serious thought and amusement, but much of this burden was placed on the reader. I believe the author was enamored with Mr. Pyke, and gave him credit for innovations which were less than groundbreaking, although some seemed novel enough to justify a genius tag hanging on Mr. Pyke’s door.The book probably appeals mostly to 20th century history buffs, although “history of technology” fans will also enjoy at least parts of it. With a little work, it would make an excellent series of “management of innovation” case studies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful. 'I have to behave rather like Nature . . .' By John D. Cofield '. . .throwing up a hundred million pollen on the chance that one may do its duty.' I chose to begin my review of this fascinating biography with a quote from its subject because it so perfectly describes him. Geoffrey Pyke was a brilliant man with an unquenchable enthusiasm for innovation and creativity. Henry Hemming's new biography of Pyke captures that enthusiasm in both its positive and negative aspects. It makes for a reading experience which is as fascinating (and sometimes draining) as a conversation with Pyke himself must have been.Geoffrey Pyke was born in 1894 to a brilliant young barrister, who, unfortunately, died when his children were young, leaving them to be raised by their less sympathetic mother. The Pyke's Jewish background meant they had to deal with prejudice and discrimination thorughout their lives. For Geoffrey this meant he was bullied and made miserable at school, but his brilliant mind helped him survive and flourish regardless. He first burst upon the wider world as a Cambridge undergraduate in 1914, when he convinced Reuters to hire him as a reporter. He and a friend slipped into Germany in the first few weeks of World War I, but were arrested and imprisoned. Making a daring escape which involved a long trek across enemy territory, Pyke returned to England, wrote a best-selling book about his experiences, finished his degree at Cambridge, and began a long and colorful career. His metier, more or less, was not only to come up with answers, but also to come up with the questions before anyone knew enough to ask them.Even the barest of summaries of Pyke's achievements is exhausting. After marrying and then fathering a son he set up a pre-school based on Freudian psychology designed to train young scientists. To have funds to support the school he began to invest in commodities, using his own special tweaks to make himself extremely wealthy within a short period of time. After he was driven into bankruptcy by a cartel determined to take control of the commodities markets, he lived in obscurity for several years until, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, he became obsessed with the problem of finding a way to end anti-Semitism. This involved slipping into Nazi Germany and interviewing its citizens without being noticed by the authorities, something most of us would never dare to do but which for Pyke was merely another problem to be solved.It was during World War II that Pyke really came into his own. He helped develop the concept for what are now known as Special Forces, came up with some ingenious plans for weapons and battle tactics, entranced leaders like Lord Louis Mountbatten and Winston Churchill,and remained energetic and creative even when his plans were rejected by less imaginative types in the British and US militaries. Unfortunately there was a darker side to Pyke: having been converted to socialism at an early age, his support for greater Soviet involvement in his plans raised the suspicions of MI5, which kept him under watch for years. He consorted with people like Guy Burgess who are now known to have been Soviet spies, and while the question of exactly what and how consciously Pyke did to further Communism remains unanswerable, it does tend to put a shadow over his legacy. After the war ended he continued to identify solutions for problems that many had not even begun to recognize, but his declining health and tendency towards depression led him to commit suicide in 1948.Henry Hemming's account of Pyke's life is as fast-paced and fascinating as the man himself. It is filled with amazing stories and anecdotes, as well as amusing vignettes, such as a description of Pyke, dressed in business attire and carrying a canary in a cage, strolling down a golf course in Nazi Germany! (The canary was there to distract attention from Pyke's questioning of ordinary Germans about their attitudes towards Hitler's regime and the Jews.) It must have been an incredibly stimulating, if often exhausting, experience to have worked with Pyke in his heyday, and Hemming helps us fell that for ourselves.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Biography readers rejoice!!! By Garrett I am starting to become an avid biography reader. I first read about this one in popular science magazine. I honestly had never heard of this influential man before, one of the unsung heroes of World War 2. This book totally reads like an action story. It becomes difficult to put down at times even, which is the opposite of what some may think typical of this type of book. I enjoy the colors of the cover of the book too. Very creative. An extremely easy read with many twists and turns. I'm not a man who usually rereads books, but I may actually decide in the future to actually do so. Thank you Henry Hemming!See all 20 customer reviews... The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy, by Henry Hemming
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