A worldwide television audience of millions saw England’s most famous maestro take his poignant farewell at the 1967 Last Night of the Proms just weeks before his death. The brush-haired boy from the gasworks of Stamford had become Sir Malcolm Sargent, the nation’s ‘ambassador with a baton’ and friend to royalty. Sleek and debonair, a carnation ever-present in his lapel, Sargent was despised by the musicalestablishment for his populism and showmanship. Yet ordinary music-lovers had been devoted to him, not least for his heroics during the Blitz. ‘Flash Harry’ is as much an exploration of celebrity and the English psyche as the story of one man. It is the defining work on an extraordinary life drawn from the author’s exclusive and unlimited access to Sargent’s private letters, photographs and diaries.