Martin Hedges’ international yearnings began as he was lulled to sleep by the sound of jets taking off at Heathrow.
He is a business journalist though he latterly took a PR role when hired by the French government, trying to convince its oldest enemy, the British, to invest in business. The high points of his career include being hit with a golf club by Ted Turner and introducing Boomtown Rats frontman to British press baron Robert Maxwell with a Blackadder-style “Bob, this is Bob…”
He trained as a lawyer, though he never practised. He trained as a private pilot though he thought that flying a plane was like giving the keys to the highway to the worst learner in driver’s ed.
He has written extensively on the hidden details of mostly Victorian history. It is history with an emphasis on business misdeeds in The Day they Hanged a Banker. Scams also figure in An Infinite Deal of Nothing. It recounts the biggest fraud ever perpetrated in the year when the world convinced itself there were diamonds just waiting to be picked up on the desert floor.
His two biographies, John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie conclude that Carnegie was not as good nor Rockefeller as evil as they were widely portrayed to be.
Martin Hedges lives in Acton, not that strip mine of the soul in West London, but a leafy village in the ancient English county of Suffolk, where the sound of woodpeckers on ‘fully automatic, safety’s off’ punctuates the relentlessly demented lowing of pigeons.