Sleeper Agent: The Dayton Connection | Far Hills Speaker Series

  Dates & times
  • Sun, 09/17/2023 - 2:00pm
  Category Living Well
  Age Groups Adult


Sunday, September 17, 2023
YouTube logoWatch the presentation on Wright Library's YouTube Channel
2:00 PM | Wright Library Community Room & Zoom Option
Duration: 1 hour

Please note: Maximum Community Room occupancy is 80. Seating will be first come, first seated. All others are encouraged to watch via Zoom.

Sleeper Agent book cover

About the Program

During World War II, a Red Army-trained Soviet spy lived right here in Dayton Ohio for nearly a year.  As sleeper agents are trained to do, he blended right in.  George Koval, born in Iowa, moved with his parents to the Soviet Union in 1932 to avoid anti-Semitism and to embrace socialism.  In 1939 George was recruited to be a Soviet spy assigned to work in the US.  A gifted science student, he enrolled at Columbia University, where he mingled with scientists who would soon join the Manhattan Project, America’s highly secretive atom bomb program. As an American citizen, George was drafted into the US Army in support of WWII efforts.  With his scientific knowledge and his connections through an NYC-based spy handler, George secured an Army assignment at Oak Ridge Tennessee as a health physicist who became an expert in the production of polonium, the element necessary for the atom bomb trigger. Soon he was transferred to Dayton where facilities -- one in Oakwood -- were processing polonium and sending it to Los Alamos.  He returned to the Soviet Union in 1948, undetected.

In doing her research for “Sleeper Agent,” Ann discovered some rather interesting facts about George Koval’s life in Dayton.  She will share those and many other fascinating details, some in the book and some not -- all about the spy who got away.

The Far Hills Speaker Series is presented through a partnership between the Oakwood Historical Society and Wright Memorial Public Library

Meet The Presenter

Ann Hagedorn

Born in Dayton and a graduate of Denison University with Masters’ degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University, Ann Hagedorn has been a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and has taught writing at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is an award-winning author of “Wild Ride,” “Ransom”, “Beyond the River”, “Savage Peace”, “The Invisible Soldiers”, and “Sleeper Agent”.