Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway hanging out

The previously mentioned blog Awesome People Hanging Out Together, which highlights unlikely notables and the famous photographed with each other, recently posted this picture snapped in 1944 of a uniformed Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway walking the streets of London. With a little Internet sleuthing, the back story behind this photograph is fascinating: At the start of the second World War and prior to the bombing in Pearl Harbor, in their effort to recruit the US and the influential members of society into supporting and joining the war, the British government sent spies to the US. Roald Dahl was sent to the States in this campaign. Under the guise of being a RAF British pilot, Dahl worked glamorous DC parties:

“All Dahl had to do was keep up a cheerful front and eavesdrop his way through the yawning Sunday breakfasts, hunt breakfasts, luncheons, teas, tea dances, innumerable drinks parties, banquets, and not infrequent balls,” writes Conant. Dahl was a gambler— he lost $900 (his first literary paycheck) playing poker with Harry Truman—and swordsman extraordinaire. “Girls just fell at Roald’s feet,” according to Antoinette Marsh, daughter of a Texas newspaper publisher. “I think he slept with everybody on the East and West Coasts who had more than $50,000 a year.”