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PUB. DATE -- SEPTEMBER 3, 2024: 

Two Wheels to Freedom: The Story of a Young Jew, Wartime Resistance, and a Daring Escape

Publisher: Pegasus/Simon & Schuster -- hardback, kindle, audio

The true story of Cioma Schonhaus, a 20-year old Jew who forged papers for hundreds of Jews while hiding in Berlin, bought a sailboat so he could relax though he never sailed before, sabotaged weapons in a munitions factory, had lots of girlfriends, dined at snazzy restaurants a few tables from major Nazis, then bicycled 600 miles to Switzerland as the Gestapo was closing in on him. Switzerland took him in though it turned 27,000 Jews back to Germany. 

"Two Wheels to Freedom provides a riveting account of a young Jewish man living in Adolf Hitler's Berlin. It is a story as inspiring as it is astonishing—a uplifting testament to the human capacity for survival and triumph even in the darkest of times." ~ Timothy W. Ryback, author of Takeover: Hitler's Final Rise to Power


"An amazing story that would seem unlikely if it were not so well  documented. In this surprisingly breezy tale, prolific author Magida fashions an incredible narrative of a young man's derring-do in defiance of the murderous Nazis." ~ Kirkus Reviews


"Unputdownable" -- yes, the reviewer made up that word. He (or she) also said: "surprising," "propulsive," "a winsome portrait," "riveting reading." --Publishers Weekly


Other early comments: "beautifully written," "deeply satisfying," "gripping," "honors Cioma's memory," "balances biography with broader history," "depicts in dramatically engaging terms the way in which a man's life and his times shape each other," "utterly seamless" 



Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris. Publisher: WW Norton. In its 2nd printing. 

Hardback, kindle, audio: 2020. Paperback: 2021. Translated into Romanian & Bulgarian. 


Optioned for a major motion picture. Further details to come. 


"Absolutely gripping. Noor Inayat Khan is brought alive in a way no one else has been able to do." -- Lynne Olson, authior of Madame Fourcade's Secret War


"I never thought I'd enjoy a book about spies, but this one is utterly enthralling. I loved reading about this

bright woman who was full of conviction and bravery under great duress. Who knew that one of France's

greatest heroines was the daughter of a world-famous Sufi mystic, who gave her fascinating life over to her beliefs and put her country before her own personal needs? A must-read for lovers of biographies, history, or  espionage." -– Padma Lakshmi  


"A tribute to courage, selflessness and faith, one whose lessons resonate across the decades. Especially relevant today when heroism for a righteous cause is all too rare." -- Gary Rosenblatt, former editor, New York Jewish Week


"Noor's spiritual response to the violence and propaganda of the Nazis remains deeply relevant." - Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now


"A screenwriter could not have created a more engrossing plot. The compelling ending leaves a spiritual and inspiring legacy, one Magida incorporates into Noor's story without hyperbole." -- Anne Henderson, author of Menzies at War 


"In this compelling thriller that draws on never-before-seen accounts and Inayat Khan's private papers, Magida tells the story of a war heroine who deserves more recognition." -- Singapore Sunday Times 


"What we can learn from Noor Inayat Khan about isolation during the pandemic." In Sightings, a publication of the University of Chicago's Divinity School: https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/articles/all/arthur-j.-magida


Selected as an Anticipated Book of 2020 by CrimeReads. (Note: Though Code Name Madeleine is not a traditional crime story, Hitler did commit the worst crimes in history. Noor fought him with honor & skill.) 


London Guardian, June 20, 2020: "How British Spy's Love for Blue Betayed Her: A new book reveals 29-year-old was captured by the Gestapo in 1943 after her clothing gave her away."          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/18/executed


Video for Code Name Madeleine:  https://youtu.be/IngcLLQw5e0     



   "A singular World War Two tale. Magida fashions a highly original biography of the short, brave life of Noor Inayat Khan, a young woman with a steely will and a strong sense of honor. A harrowing thriller in which a young woman's 'joy of sacrifice' turned to tragedy." – Kirkus Reviews

   "What a story this is. Magida tells it very well... His religious understanding is spot on... I hope one day a film will be made of this story." -- America (liberal/Jesuit magazine) 

   "Captures the spirit of this very courageous woman who was not designed for wartime heroism" – KALW-FM, San Francisco 

   "A tightly plotted spy thriller with an irresistable and improbable heroine at its heart."- Kati Marton, author of True Believer

   "One of the finest and most affecting true stories of espionage I have ever read." - Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies

   "A thrilling spy story and a moving portrait of courage." - Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire

   "The most extraordinary undercover agent of WWII... Magida's fascinating biography captures the spirit of this devout Sufi woman." - Giles Milton, author of Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy 

   "Thanks to the dexterous work of Arthur Magida, Noor Inayat Khan finally takes her rightful place in world history... The only Indian woman spy fighting fascism in the golden age of Euro-American spying." -- Ruby Lal, author of Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

   "You NEED to know Noor's story & you will not be disappointed." "Fascinating. Couldn't put it down." "Historical non-fiction at its best." "An amazing read. Will become a classic in no time." -- Netgalley

  • ALSO OPTIONED FOR A FILM -- The Nazi Seance: The Strange Story of the Jewish Psychic in Hitler's Circle.  An Oscar-winning screenwriter is now finishing the third draft of his script. 


Author, journalist, columnist, tv correspondent, lecturer and professor – it's been a crazy, unexpected ride and, thank God, I'm not done yet. My most recent book -- Code Name Madeleine (W.W. Norton) – is the most resonant and inspiring of my long-term projects: a biography of Noor Inayat Khan – poet, author, Sufi mystic and secret British agent in France during World War Two.


Too many of my books involve unsavory or controversial characters – a rabbi who had his wife killed, a Jewish mentalist who got too close to top Nazis, an incendiary leader of the Nation of Islam. These were cautionary tales. Noor's is exemplary and uplifting. 

Writing is an exploration of self, of time, of place -- various times and various places, but always one self – I can't get away from me. Overall, it's a plunge into mystery since, indeed, all life is a mystery. Why settle for the easy and the pat when you can wrangle with the difficult and the complex and have fun at the same time?


In addition to writing books, I've been a visiting professor of journalism at Georgetown and a professor of writing at the University of Baltimore; a consultant to several PBS documentaries and to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; a columnist for Beliefnet.com; a contributing correspondent to PBS's "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly;" editorial director of Jewish Lights Publishing; senior editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times; environmental reporter for National Journal; writer/editor for Ralph Nader; director of publications for an energy conservation project; and a reporter for two Pennsylvania newspapers.


My op-eds have appeared in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and I've free-lanced for Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Jerusalem Report, Tikkun and The New York Times, Boston Globe, Geo, Islands and Historic Preservation magazines.


I'm listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Religion, Who's Who in the East and Writers Who's Who, and have appeared on numerous tv and radio shows, including Dateline, the CBS Early Show, Court TV's "Catherine Crier Live," PBS's "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," ABC's "World News Tonight," C-Span's "Booknotes," and NPR's "Morning Edition."


I've received 16 Simon Rockower Awards from the American Jewish Press Association; five A.D. Emmart Awards for writing on the humanities; two Smolar Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism; two National Mass Media Certificates of Recognition from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. I've spoken around the country, from Nantucket to Los Angeles,  and to such organizations as the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Anti-Defamation League, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and an international convention of the Psychic Entertainers Association.