BLOWN: The Incredible Story of John Goldsmith, Racehorse Trainer, Gambler and Wartime Secret Agent by Jamie Reid

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From the author of Doped, winner of the 2013 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. This is the thrilling true story of John Goldsmith, one of the great unsung heroes of the Second World War.

An English racehorse trainer and horse dealer’s son, Goldsmith was born and brought up in Paris and spoke fluent French. In 1942 he was recruited in to the legendary Special Operations Executive, or SOE, and dropped three times behind enemy lines. On each of these missions he drew on the reserves of nerve and guile that he had acquired in the horse 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 in 1946 Goldsmith was sent numerous French racehorses to train. Goldsmith found uncanny similarities between the secret agent’s milieu and the black market world of Britain’s post war racetracks and, in partnership with a high stakes Mayfair bookie, he orchestrated some of the most audacious betting coups in racing history.

Reviews
“The incredible story of the man who went from trying to win the Grand National to playing a key role in co-ordinating the activities of the French Resistance” Daily Express

"Blown delivers all its title promises and more. Jamie Reid has contributed to some of racing's finest writing over the past 30 years and his latest is a worthy successor to Doped, the 2013 William Hill Sports Book of the Year." The Observer

“Fascinating tale of war time derring-do”
Racing Post

Blown is a wartime spy story you'll read cover to cover ... a real page turner Anton Rippon, Sports Journalists Association

"
Remarkable story" The Spectator