For almost half a century H.G. Wells was an international phenomenon, the only writer of his time who could command an audience with both Roosevelt and Stalin. His circle of friends included George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, G.K. Chesterton, Somerset Maugham and, of course, the young Rebecca West, with whom he had a long term affair. Equally illustrious were his circle of enemies, including the indomitable Hilaire Belloc, who destroyed Wells in a vicious and public argument. Unlike any previous biographer, Michael Coren shows that while many have considered Wells to be on the side of the angels, he was in fact invariably on the wrong side in the major political and literary debates of the age. This work delves deep into the paradoxes that characterized Wells - the utopian visionary and staunch advocate of women's suffrage who was also a misogynistic womanizer; the epitome of liberal tolerance who was also a social engineer and thoroughgoing anti-Semite. Wells has hitherto remained untouched by charges of anti-Semitism, but Coren reveals for the first time his disturbing views on `the Jewish problem', views he defended vehemently even through the 1930s.
The avuncular author of "Kipps" and "The Time Machine" is depicted, shockingly, as one who advocated concentration camps, racial eugenics and the incarceration or execution of those who did not `fit in'.