Picador is to publish Operation Chaos by Matthew Sweet, a “compelling narrative account” of the true story of a group of US military deserters who found asylum in Sweden during the Vietnam War.
Publisher Paul Baggaley acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Simon Trewin at WME, while Paul Golob at Macmillan US division Henry Holt acquired north American rights from Jay Mandel at WME.
Operation Chaos will “shed new light on one of the great untold stories of the Cold War”, including how the CIA tried to infiltrate the group of deserters.
Sweet is the author of three previous books – Inventing the Victorians, Shepperton Babylon, and The West End Front – all with Faber & Faber in the UK.
Baggaley said: “Matthew is a really interesting and highly acclaimed writer and broadcaster. Operation Chaos is a much bigger and bolder project than his previous books; it’s one of those truly extraordinary stories where the facts seem wilder than any work of fiction. It reminded me of Jon Ronson’s number one bestseller The Men Who Stared at Goats, the work of Ben Macintrye and the Oscar-winning film 'Argo'.
“Operation Chaos is a perfect fit for our non-fiction list and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Matthew to Picador.”
Golob said: “We could not be more excited at Henry Holt to bring Matthew Sweet’s story to American readers, who will be delighted to read the stories he tells and surprised by what he has uncovered about this forgotten chapter in our history.”
Sweet presents shows across BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 and also writes for publications including the Guardian and the Telegraph.
The West End Front is currently in development as a BBC drama, and Sweet is a consultant on the television series "Penny Dreadful", on Sky Atlantic in the UK.
Operation Chaos is scheduled for publication in 2017.