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Booth, Nicholas 1964-

Booth, Nicholas 1964-

PERSONAL:

Born 1964, in Cheshire, England. Education: Attended London University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London and Cheshire, England.

CAREER:

Journalist, writer, and broadcaster. Began career at Astronomy Now magazine; Observer, London, England, journalist; then the Times, London, beginning 1995, deputy editor of the Interface section, 1996-99. Also works as a broadcaster for radio and television, as a consultant to a number of companies in the field of communications and is a partner in Total Communication, a training company. Other work-related activities include serving as managing editor for Granada Media's various online activities, editor-in-chief for Three Mobile, and consultant to the European Space Agency.

MEMBER:

Royal Astronomical Society (fellow).

WRITINGS:

(General editor, with Frank Miles) Race to Mars: The ITN Mars Flight Atlas, Macmillan London (London, England), 1988.

Space: The Next 100 Years, Mitchell Beazley (London, England), 1990.

The Concise Illustrated Book of Planets and Stars, Brian Trodd (London, England), 1990.

The Encyclopedia of Space, Brian Trodd (London, England), 1990.

How Soon Is Now? The Truth about the Ozone Hole, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1994.

Exploring the Solar System, Philip's (London, England), 1995.

Zigzag: The Incredible Wartime Exploits of Double-Agent Eddie Chapman, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

A journalist, broadcaster, and author of books, Nicholas Booth has long been interested in espionage, military history, space exploration, and futurology. He was the youngest Briton to ever work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and has worked as a consultant for the European Space Agency. In his 1995 book Exploring the Solar System, the author examines how space exploration has progressed from the first manned missions to the robotic Voyager expeditions. The book includes numerous color photographs to help explain space exploration history. "Booth is vividly descriptive and highly informative," noted Donna Seaman in Booklist.

In addition to space flight, Booth has also been fascinated with the story of Eddie Chapman since he was a child and saw a British movie about Chapman titled Triple Cross. In his book Zigzag: The Incredible Wartime Exploits of Double-Agent Eddie Chapman, Booth tells the story of one of Great Britain's most valuable spies during World War II. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "a fascinating chronicle of a largely unappreciated detail of The War."

Writing in the book's prologue, the author notes: "Given the codename Zigzag, his real name was Edward Arnold Chapman. Without a doubt he was the most remarkable spy of the Second World War. Even by the standards of the fantasists, putative playboys and incompetents who tried to spy against the Allies during that war, Eddie Chapman was unique. An ex-guardsman, a fiercely proud Geordie, and, at various times, a petty criminal, a film extra, a wrestler, a self-confessed habitué of the Soho nightlife … he had already achieved notoriety before the war as a safebreaker."

With the cooperation of Chapman's widow, Betty Chapman, and new documents released from Britain's spy agency, MI5, Booth details Chapman's incredible exploits during World War II as he played a double agent working for both Germany and Great Britain. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Joseph Kanon noted that the declassified files "with more than 1,700 pages of interrogation transcripts, internal memorandums and radio intercepts … [were] a trove of detailed information, catnip to anyone interested in wartime espionage."

The author discusses how Chapman ended up in prison on the island of Jersey, which was subsequently occupied by the Germans in 1940. Chapman decided to volunteer to work as an agent for Germany with the plan of getting back to England. When he first parachuted into Great Britain as a German spy, he quickly turned himself in and began his life as double agent Zigzag. To make his story hold up, the British military staged a fake explosion at the De Havilland aircraft factory that the Germans had assigned Chapman to blow up. "There are legitimate questions as to the enigmatic Chapman's motivation, but Booth … invariably sides with the double agent," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Chapman was so good at his job that he became among the most trusted spies for German military intelligence, and his German handler and contact, Baron Stefan von Gröning, thought of him as a son. As a result, he was the only British spy to receive the coveted German military award of the Iron Cross. Chapman is also the only German spy known to have parachuted into Great Britain twice. The American edition of the book includes information from tapes that Betty Chapman remembered after the first British printing of the book.

Writing in World War II, Gene Santoro noted that the author's "latter-day Zigzag is detailed and ironic." David Pitt, writing for Booklist, commented that Booth "tells a very personal, intimate story."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Booth, Nicholas, Zigzag: The Incredible Wartime Exploits of Double-Agent Eddie Chapman, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 2007.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 1996, Donna Seaman, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 629; September 1, 2007, David Pitt, review of Zigzag, p. 40.

Book Report, May 1, 1991, Catherine M. Andronik, review of Space: The Next 100 Years, p. 60.

Choice, May, 1997, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 1521.

Emergency Librarian, November, 1992, review of Space, p. 49.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2007, review of Zigzag.

Library Journal, February 1, 1999, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 57; August 1, 2007, Ed Goedeken, review of Zigzag, p. 98.

New York Times Book Review, October 28, 2007, Joseph Kanon "A Perfect Spy," review of Zigzag.

Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2007, review of Zigzag, p. 70.

School Library Journal, March, 1991, Bruce O'Hara, review of Space, p. 229.

Science Books & Films, May, 1997, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 106.

SciTech Book News, March, 1997, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 19.

Sky & Telescope, March, 1997, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 66.

Times Literary Supplement, March 9, 2007, Roderick Bailey, "Iron Crossed," review of Zigzag, p. 32.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1997, review of Exploring the Solar System, p. 300.

World War II, October, 2007, Gene Santoro, review of Zigzag, p. 74.

ONLINE

Arcade Publishing,http://www.arcadepub.com (June 23, 2008), brief profile of author.

Redhammer Management Ltd Web site,http://www.redhammer.info/ (June 23, 2008), profile of author.

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