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Bernard Newman - A Short Biography

Posted by Tatiana Ameri, on 18 December 2019. Comments: 0

Forgotten Masters: Bernard Newman.

It is often an inexplicable mystery as to why some writers find fame and appreciation that last for centuries and generations, while others (often equally talented) become almost or completely forgotten as time goes by.

Bernard Newman is one of the latter. He was a British civil servant, journalist, world traveller, government informer and prolific author of 140 books, and hundreds of articles, plays and musicals. His books have been published in twenty languages including Braille and Japanese. He wrote over 40 books about Russia, Germany and surrounding Eastern European countries. Altogether Newman wrote 83 non-fiction books and 57 fiction works. He wrote 14 of his fiction books under the pen name of Don Betteridge.

Yet, most of his books are out of print, or almost impossible to find. And while 40 titles are currently available on Kindle, the writer's life and literary legacy are not very well known in the 21st century.

Our customer and author Jeff Malter explains the significance of Bernard Newman in his article below.

Bernard Newman – A Short Biography

By Jeff Malter

Bernard Newman was born in 1897 in Ibstock, Leicestershire, in the heart of England. He died in 1968 from a wound received during his years as a soldier in the First World War. During the war he learned techniques of spying from the French. He spent several years uncovering secrets of the German army. He married at the age of 23 and he and his wife raised a family of three girls. He joined the civil service and worked at various positions during the next twenty years. Newman also earned a living as a composer and performer of songs and musicals. He worked principally in London and throughout England and the UK. He performed on the piano, singing and playing in some of the largest cities in Europe as well.

Between the world wars Newman would spend his holidays on long solo bicycle journeys throughout Europe. Newman wrote 20 books about his bicycling adventures, making him the most prolific author of cycling books in the world. His books were not just travel books but included information about geography, history, political events, local people working in the countryside as well as factory workers and politicians. During some of these trips he would send reports back to the British government. He wrote information about troop movements, borders, and other areas of interest to the Ministry of Defense in the UK. These reports were principally focused on the Eastern European countries.

Newman worked for the British government during World War Two. He traveled to Canada and the United States to promote the British war effort. He met President Franklin Roosevelt, leaders of industry and even Walt Disney. Upon his return he did likewise in the United Kingdom and France. He was sent to inspire the troops giving talks at military bases. At cinemas in cities and towns throughout the four countries of the UK he updated the public about war efforts in the Americas to help defend Europe from fascism.

He was awarded the highest honour in France, the Chevalier de Legion de l’Honneur, for his help in inspiring French and American troops. Newman travelled the world throughout his life. He wrote hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines. He wrote extensively on military affairs and he was often writing first hand from the start of some conflicts.

His most famous book, Spy, published in 1935, became a bestseller and it was translated into many languages. In Spy he explored the inner workings of the world of espionage. Although a work of fiction, it was taken as autobiographical as he named the main character Bernard Newman after himself. In hundreds of reviews in dozens of syndicated newspapers, the book was considered to be fact based on the author’s own exploits. In his obituary in 1968 The New York Times suggested that he was a spy. The truth of this statement has yet to be definitively confirmed.

Watch Bernard Newman being interviewed by Denis Tuohy.

Here's the link to the poem "The Road to La Bassee" by Bernard Newman and Harold Arpthorp.

Below is a list of the books Bernard Newman wrote about Russia, Germany and surrounding countries. (Organised by date published)

The Cavalry Went Through. 1930. Fiction.

Pedalling Poland. 1935. Cycling.

The Blue Danube – Black Forest To Black Sea. 1935. Cycling.

Albanian Back-Door. 1936. Cycling.

German Spy. 1936. Fiction.

Lady Doctor Woman Spy. 1937. Fiction.

Albanian Journey. 1938.

Ride to Russia. 1938. Cycling.

Baltic Roundabout. 1939. Cycling.

Danger Spots of Europe. 1939.

Siegfried Spy. 1940. Fiction.

The Story of Poland. 1940.

Balkan Spy. 1942. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

The New Europe. 1942.

The People of Poland. Pamphlet. 1943.

The Face of Poland. Pamphlet. 1944.

Balkan Background. 1944.

Dictator's Destiny. 1945. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

Russia's Neighbour - The New Poland. 1946.

The Potsdam Murder Plot. 1947. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

The Red Spider Web - The Story of Russian Spying in Canada. 1947.

Moscow Murder. 1948. Fiction.

The Captured Archives – The Story of the Nazi-Soviet Documents. 1948.

The Flying Saucer. 1948. Fiction.

Not Single Spies. 1951. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

Oberammergau Journey. 1951. Cycling.

Soviet Atomic Spies. 1952.

Tito’s Yugoslavia. 1952.

Spy-Counter-Spy. 1953. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

Berlin and Back. 1954. Cycling.

The Case of the Berlin Spy. 1954. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

The Sosnowski Affair: Inquest on a Spy. 1954.

Still Flows The Danube. 1955. Cycling.

The Three Germanies. 1957.

The Spies of Peenemunde. 1958. Fiction. As Don Betteridge.

Unknown Germany. 1958. Cycling.

Danger Spots of The World. 1959.

Portrait of Poland. 1959.

Visa To Russia. 1959.

Unknown Yugoslavia. 1960.

Bulgarian Background. 1961.

Let's Look at Germany. 1961. Junior Travel Series.

The World Of Espionage. 1962.

The Blue Ants: The First Authentic Account of the Russian - Chinese War of 1970. 1962. Fiction.

The Travelling Executioners. 1964. Fiction.

Behind The Berlin Wall. 1964.

To Russia and Back. 1967.

The New Poland. 1968.

Spy and Counter-Spy, The Story of the British Secret Service. 1970.

A Selection of Articles in Newspapers by Bernard Newman

10,000 Spies in Europe Today.

The Glasgow Sunday Post - 14 April 1935.

German Plans for World War III: Insidious Propaganda Which Must Be Defeated.

Northern Daily Mail, Hartlepool – 23 April 1945

Wanted: Spies for Russia, No Experience Needed.

Portsmouth Evening News – 30 November 1950

The Spies Are Here Among Us - What Goes On Behind the Sealed Walls of "Friendly" Embassies.

The Sydney Morning Herald – 19 March 1950

When Stalin Made A Mistake - Are There Dangers In A United Germany?

Portsmouth Evening News -24 November 1952

Soviet Russia and the Jews.

Northern Daily Mail – 26 January 1953

Behind the Petrov Affair Is a Warning to Democracy - Spotlight On the Soviet Spy System. Belfast News-Letter – 4 May 1954

West Berlin – The Hole In The Iron Curtain.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph – 2 March 1960

Where Capitalism Resists Communist Pressure - Wealthy Outposts of Empire.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph – 12 August 1960

Czechs Have Their Own 'Freeze' Problem.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph – 21 September 1966

 

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