Icon to publish 'firebrand' WW2 veteran

Icon to publish 'firebrand' WW2 veteran

Icon Books has bought a book by 91-year-old Second World War RAF veteran, Harry Leslie Smith, called A Letter from Harry: why the world we built is falling down, and what we can do to save it.

Commissioning editor Kate Hewson acquired world rights from Jamie Coleman at Greene & Heaton for an undisclosed sum.

Hewson described the book as "one of the most extraordinary proposals I've seen in my career... This isn’t a collection of quiet ruminations and “in my days…”. Harry is a firebrand of the best possible kind – his writing is at once intensely lyrical and angry, and his voice is as modern and present as any other political writer working today."

She added that A Letter from Harry is "a remarkable rallying cry for us to learn from the mistakes of the past, and build a stronger future".

Leslie Smith, a regular contributor to the Guardian, became a viral sensation in November 2013 when his article for the paper ‘This year I will wear a poppy for the last time’ was shared almost 60,000 times on Facebook. Born in 1923, he is a survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War RAF veteran and an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy.

Icon will publish A Letter from Harry in June 2014, supported by a "huge" marketing and publicity campaign.