THE USEFUL IDIOT de John Sweeney

Based on the terrifying and tragic true story of Gareth Jones, the Welsh journalist who first told the world about the famine in the Soviet Union in 1933

by John Sweeney
Silvertail Books, January 2020

Moscow, 1932. Gareth Jones, a young Welsh reporter, arrives in the Soviet Union excited to see for himself how Josef Stalin is forging a new civilisation. He meets American and British journalists who acclaim Stalin’s great experiment—but when Jones witnesses people starving to death in Ukraine, his belief in the Soviet revolution is shattered. He must decide whether to report the truth or become just another useful idiot, saying only what the Communist secret police allow and smothering the evidence of his own eyes. In this special kind of hell, anyone could be an informer, and Jones knows his life will be at risk if he is even thought to be defying Stalin. And when the woman he loves falls under the suspicion of the secret police, everything Jones values is in danger. Can he reveal the terrible truth about the Ukrainian famine to the world, or will he be silenced forever?

THE USEFUL IDIOT is the secret history of the first great Soviet lie—wrapped up in an electrifying novel perfect for readers of Robert Harris, Ken Follett and Kate Atkinson. As Vladimir Putin rewrites the Nazi-Soviet pact and with the horrors of Chernobyl and the Cold War so recent, this thriller of fake news in 1932 is real storytelling of enormous significance.

John Sweeney is an award-winning journalist and a former long-serving BBC reporter. He is the author of ten books, including three novels: the 200,000-copy bestseller ELEPHANT MOON (Silvertail Books), another historical thriller based on true events, and two modern-day political thrillers, COLD and ROAD (Amazon Publishing). He also wrote an investigation into the Church of Scientology, THE CHURCH OF FEAR (Silvertail Books), and an account of his time spent undercover in North Korea, NORTH KOREA UNDERCOVER (Transworld).

Publication will coincide with the release on 14th February of Mr. Jones, a film telling the story of Gareth Jones by Polish director Agnieszka Holland, starring James Norton and Vanessa Kirby. It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival. You can watch the trailer at this link:

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