Sean McMeekin was born in Idaho, raised in Rochester NY, and educated at Stanford and UC Berkeley. He has been fascinated by modern history ever since playing Winston Churchill in a school reenactment of the Yalta Conference at age 15, and Joseph McCarthy in an even more outlandish reenactment of the Army-McCarthy hearings at age 17, which involved camcorders and double agents in the Russian Club. He pursued this interest into several dozen European and American archives, as far east as Moscow, before settling down to teach at Koç University in Turkey, where the weather is better.
McMeekin’s first book was The Red Millionaire. A Political Biography of Willi Münzenberg, Moscow’s Secret Propaganda Tsar in the West (Yale, 2004). His second, History’s Greatest Heist. The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks also from Yale (2008), was listed for the Ed A. Hewett Prize in 2010. His third, The Berlin-Baghdad Express. The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power (Penguin/Allen Lane), has been translated into three languages so far. His fourth, The Russian Origins of the First World War, is forthcoming from the Belknap imprint of Harvard University Press. He lives in Istanbul with his wife, Nesrin, and their daughter, Ayla.
I was contacted by an agent following the success of The Berlin-Baghdad Express, but we did not hit it off. I found the Lownie agency through Googling literary agents/history and was immediately impressed with the design of the webpage and the emphasis on non-fiction. I also noticed that the agency represented Roger Crowley, whose works I admire. Crowley, too, found the agency online, and said that he e-mailed his proposal to Andrew Lownie and heard back the next day. I did the same, and heard back the same afternoon.