Non-fiction by Jeremy Dronfield

Ghosted and co-authored books

I wish I could claim these terrific books as solely my own, but all I’ve contributed is the writing. My co-authors have contributed their personal stories, their years of meticulous research and their original concepts, and have generously allowed me to exercise my literary chops all over them. (Note: This page does not include any of my confidential ghostwritten work.)

US & UK bestseller


Published in the US by Penguin/Berkley.

Published in the UK by Icon.

Visit for information and news! For publisher submission info about the book, see my agent’s website.

Robert Trimble April 1945

UK edition

BTC Polish

Polish edition

Beyond the Call

The True Story of One World War II Pilot’s Covert Mission to Rescue POWs on the Eastern Front

By Lee Trimble with Jeremy Dronfield

One ordinary man. One extraordinary mission. A thousand lives at stake.

Near the end of World War II, thousands of Allied ex-POWs were abandoned to wander the war-torn Eastern Front. With no food, shelter, or supplies, they were an army of dying men.

The Red Army had pushed the Nazis out of Russia. As they advanced across Poland, the prison camps of the Third Reich were discovered and liberated. In defiance of humanity, the freed Allied prisoners were discarded without aid. The Soviets viewed POWs as cowards, and regarded all refugees as potential spies or partisans.

The US repeatedly offered to help recover their POWs, but were refused. With relations between the allies strained, a plan was conceived for an undercover rescue mission. In total secrecy, the OSS chose an obscure American air force detachment stationed at a Ukrainian airfield; it would provide the base and the cover for the operation. The man they picked to undertake it was veteran 8th Air Force bomber pilot Captain Robert Trimble.

With little covert training, already scarred by the trials of combat, Trimble took the mission. He would survive by wit, courage, and a determination to do some good in a terrible war. Alone he faced up to the terrifying Soviet secret police, saving hundreds of lives. At the same time he battled to come to terms with the trauma of war and find his own way home to his wife and child.

The compelling, inspiring true story of an American hero who laid his life on the line to bring his fellow men home to safety and freedom.

Capt. Robert Trimble (standing, second left) with his crew

Find out more about Beyond the Call…

Snappy and cinematic, Beyond the Call is a gift, an untold story from those last days of WWII in Europe when the unthinkable became real – when our ally had turned against us, when our POWs were left to die, and when a veteran pilot would receive a harrowing final mission – to fly against the might of the Soviet Union.

Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call

Dangerous Woman.10

Out now

Published in the UK, North America and Commonwealth by Oneworld.

Visit for information and news. For publisher submission info about the book, see my agent’s website.

"Temptress, seductress, sexploiter, call her what you will, Moura had espionage running through her veins, and all is revealed in this fascinating account of her mysterious life."
Nigel West, author of Operation Garbo

A Very Dangerous Woman

The Lives, Loves and Lies of Russia’s Most Seductive Spy

A biography of Baroness Moura Budberg by Deborah McDonald and Jeremy Dronfield

A story of love, betrayal and espionage that spans a continent. A woman who was born to indulgence, pleasure and selfishness, but who sacrificed herself for love – and was betrayed.

In January 1918, the British adventurer, diplomat and secret agent Robert Bruce Lockhart arrived in Revolutionary Russia. His official mission: Britain’s envoy to the new Bolshevik government. His true mission: to create a network of agents, plot the assassination of Lenin and overthrow the Bolsheviks. A keen ladies’ man, he soon got to know the aristocratic socialite and notorious seductress Moura Benckendorff.1 The two fell in love, and began a passionate affair.

"A Russian of the Russians, she had a lofty disregard for all the pettiness of life and a courage which was proof against all cowardice … Into my life something had entered which was stronger than any other tie, stronger than life itself. From then onwards she was never to leave … until we were parted by the armed force of the Bolsheviks.”
(Robert Bruce Lockhart, Memoirs of a British Agent, 1932)

What Lockhart didn’t know was that Moura was spying on him for the Bolsheviks. What the Bolsheviks didn’t know was that Moura had fallen utterly, helplessly in love with the romantic British agent. So in love that when the Lockhart Plot was uncovered and he was seized by the secret police, Moura sold herself to save him from the firing squad.

It was a love that would dominate the rest of Moura’s life. When Lockhart went back to England and resumed his career and his marriage, she was desolate. As the decades passed, she went into exile, taking new lovers – including Maxim Gorky and H. G. Wells – and spied for the Soviet regime. She settled in England, where she spied for both sides amidst the web surrounding Burgess, Maclean and Blunt. Moura was too clever and too seductively charming to ever be apprehended. All the while, she never stopped hoping that she would be reunited with her beloved Lockhart, the betrayer, but he remained forever out of her grasp, until they were finally parted by death.

1. Moura later remarried and became Baroness Budberg.

Find out more about A Very Dangerous Woman…

"A Very Dangerous Woman is an incredible, beautifully written story … an absorbing and colourful account of the individuals and events that changed the world  in the first half of the twentieth century.”
Susan Ottaway, author of Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice

Out now in the UK

Published in the UK by John Blake.

Visit the Queer Saint Facebook page for more news, events and features. For publisher submission info about the book, see my agent’s website.

Queer Saint RHB Cover cropped front

Buy Queer Saint

"Peter Watson's extraordinary life reads like a cross between Brideshead Revisited and Cabaret … a riveting account of this pivotal queer saint and queer martyr."
Neil McKenna, author of  The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde and Fanny & Stella

"Scrupulous and compelling."
Brian Sewell

Queer Saint

The Cultured Life of Peter Watson

by Adrian Clark and Jeremy Dronfield

When Peter Watson was murdered in his bath by his jealous lover in 1956, the European art world lost one of its wealthiest, most influential patrons. This compellingly attractive man, doyen of the gay scene in 1930s Paris, adored by Cecil Beaton; the man who was called a legend by contemporaries, who was the subject of two scandalous novels; the man who helped launch the careers of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, fell victim to a fortune-hungry lover.

Drawing extensively on unpublished letters, diaries and other sources, this is the first biography of this elusive figure who was at the very heart of the art and literary world of the mid-20th century.

Elegant, charming and hungrily sexual, Peter Watson had a taste for edgy, disreputable lovers. Gore Vidal described him as ‘a charming man, tall, thin, perverse. One of those intricate English queer types who usually end up as field marshals’. Watson was the unrequited love of Cecil Beaton’s life – his ‘queer saint’ – but Watson preferred the risk associated with younger and less sophisticated lovers.

According to rumour, supported by evidence brought together in this book, Watson’s last lover, fearing he was about to be thrown over, murdered him in his bath, thus inheriting his fortune and his huge, monumentally valuable art collection.

Peter Watson fuelled the engine of mid-20th century art, using his enormous wealth to support artists such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Paul Klee, Picasso, Dali, Giacometti and many others, and was painted by several of them. Without Watson’s patronage, Bacon and Freud might never have been given a start.

As well as giving us our first fully realised view of Peter Watson’s fascinating life and tragic death, this new biography puts forward tantalising evidence that he was entangled with the spy ring that included Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, and that the intelligence services may have been implicated in the events surrounding his death.

Find out more about this book…

PW by Freud 1950

Peter Watson by Lucian Freud, 1945 (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Out now in the UK

Published in the UK and Australia by Oneworld.

More information hereFor publisher submission info about the book, see my agent’s website.

Dr James Barry_4 crop

Selected by BBC Radio 2’s Fact not Fiction Book Club

Book of the Week in
The Times

Dr James Barry

A Woman Ahead of Her Time

by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield

Dr James Barry died in London in 1865, at the end of a long career as a high-ranking British Army surgeon, a career which stretched from the Napoleonic era to the Crimea. Immediately after his death, a strange and startling discovery was made. This man, who had always had a reputation for unconventional and sometimes scandalous behaviour, was found to be a woman.

The doctor who called himself James Barry had lived a life of breathtaking deception. He – or rather she – had been born Margaret Bulkley. At the age of 20, Margaret changed her appearance and persona to that of a young man, because only in the guise of a male could she study medicine at Edinburgh University.

Find out more about this book…

Sole-authored books

Books which are wholly my own: as precious to me as breath.

In progress

This book is currently being written, and will be published in 2018 in North America by Chicago Review Press.

For publisher submission info about the book, see my agent’s website.

Gustav 1946

The Stone Crusher

The True Story of the Kleinmann Family’s Fight for Survival in the Holocaust

by Jeremy Dronfield

A father. A son. A family.
A struggle for survival in which only love and courage could keep them alive.

- based on the secret concentration camp diary of Gustav Kleinmann -

In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholsterer in Vienna, was arrested by the Nazis. Along with his 16-year old son Fritz, he was sent to Buchenwald in Germany, where a new concentration camp was being built. It was the beginning of a five-year odyssey almost without parallel. They helped build Buchenwald, young Fritz learning construction skills which would help preserve him from extermination in the coming years. But it was his bond with his father that would ultimately keep them both alive.

The Stone Crusher tells the story of Gustav and Fritz, but also of the whole Kleinmann family – father and mother, two daughters and two sons. It is a heartbreaking story of struggle, loss, and murder: but also a story of hope and love. Of the six members of the family, two were destined to die in the Nazi camps, while two survived, and the remaining two escaped to freedom in England and America.

Find out more about this book.

© Jeremy Dronfield 2017