When Henry Hemming set out in a pick-up truck called Yasmine to make a portrait of the Middle East, he had no idea what he would find or where he would be able to go - he wasn't even sure how he would earn enough money to stay on the road for a year.
Henry Hemming's extraordinary journey takes him from the drug-fuelled ski-slopes of Iran via some of the region's secret beaches, palaces, army barracks, police cells, nightclubs, torture chambers, brothels and artists' studios to a Fourth of July party with American GIs in one of Saddam's former palaces. Everywhere he goes his status as artist gets him into places he would not have been allowed otherwise.
As the invasion of Iraq intensifies, he realises that to finish his portrait of the region he must go to Baghdad and find the artistic renaissance there that he has heard about. In so doing he will risk his life. Throughout, he meets young people who share their dreams, doubts and passions, revealing a young and unpredictable Middle East that flies beneath the radar of nightly news bulletins. In these meetings, he also begins to understand what he himself represents, be it British spy, Muslim extremist, jihadi, tramp, bohemian, street-cleaner, Baghdadi, or, from time to time, artist.
Misadventure in the Middle East offers a unique, evocative and highly original account of his journey.
Misadventure in the Middle East is more than a gripping story of a dangerous expedition. It is a journey of self- discovery and an exploration of what it is to be an artist in a fractured world. - John Mole, author of It s All Greek To Me! and Mind Your Manners
A once-in-a-lifetime journey, full of youthful ebullience and idealism, but self-aware and brave too. - Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road and The Lost Heart of Asia
The brilliantly-written account of a daring journey, by turns hilarious and poignant, and a timely antidote to current misconceptions about the Middle East. Essential reading. - Jason Elliot, author of Mirrors of the Unseen and An Unexpected Light
A fantastic journey, full of surprising incidents and exciting encounters, in which you never know where the travellers will end up next. High-spirited and often amusing, Hemming s book also grapples with some of the big issues in the Middle East today. - Nicholas Jubber, author of The Prester Quest and winner of the Dolman Best First Travel Book Award
A well written tale of artistic sincerity and youthful bravura. - The Telegraph
Misadventure in the Middle East is an engaging and highly readable account of a life-changing experience. - Wanderlust
Hemming offers a refreshing innocence and openness, a voracious appetite for experience and encounter that makes him an honest and empathetic writer. He is funny with it. This is unusual and entertaining. Hemming is a fresh new voice, idealistic, engaging and human. - The Spectator
Hemming's insights and observations on crossing borders and boundaries - whether physical or in the mind - make him an ideal guide. We need more ambassadors like this. - Emel - The Muslim Lifestyle Magazine
Henry Hemming is the author of six works of non-fiction including the Sunday Times bestseller M, published as Agent M in North America, the Dolman Travel Award-shortlisted Misadventure in the Middle East and Churchill's Iceman, published as The Ingenious Mr Pyke in the US where it was a New York Times bestseller.
He has written for the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Times, The Economist, FT Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, is an experienced public speaker and has given interviews on Radio 4's Today Programme and NBC's Today Show. He lives in London with his wife and two children.