75 Years of Doing Just About Everything
Acting in myriad roles, including Albert Perks in The Railway Children , various Carry On characters and a Fawlty Towers guest, singing ‘Right Said Fred’, fishing for trout, picking up his BAFTA award and jumping out of aeroplanes (as a paratrooper), Bernard Cribbins (b.1928) has had a busy 75 years. Using his conversational ‘Jackanory method’, he tells the story of his life in the Army, films, television, radio and on and off stage: ‘one long variety show’.
Since receiving a terminal diagnosis of leukaemia in 2010, Clive James has produced an extraordinary late harvest of poetry and prose. In this collection of essays, he looks back with characteristic wit, humour and perception on a lifetime’s reading, offering his unique insights into writers from Conrad, Hemingway and Larkin to VS Naipaul and WG Sebald. Woven throughout these literary ruminations, moreover, is a thoughtful and moving reflection on life and death.
A Life in Questions
‘Why is this lying bastard lying to me?’ With this question in mind, Britain’s most incisive interviewer has skewered politicians from John Major to Theresa May on national television. Now, in this long-awaited memoir, he reflects on a career that has taken him to many of the world’s trouble spots, from Beirut to Belfast. Funny and poignant, it is packed with revealing anecdotes about the great, the good and the rotters he has met.
Once the all-conquering bad boy of tennis, John McEnroe is increasingly better known for his insightful commentaries and opinions on the game. In this memoir he reflects on his playing years but also on his life since, developing new careers in broadcasting and art dealing, and bringing up a large family. Still competing in senior tournaments and recently coach to Milos Raonic, he also has plenty to say on the state of modern tennis.
Train to Nowhere
One Women's War, Ambulance Driver, Reporter, Liberator
First published in 1948, this vivid piece of Second World War reportage relates the experiences of Anita Leslie, the daughter of a baronet and a distant cousin of Winston Churchill. Her account includes descriptions of working for the Mechanised Transport Corps, driving an ambulance for the Free French Forces, writing letters home from Hitler’s office in the Reich Chancellery, and marching in the Victory Parade in Berlin.
An Indian Summer of Steam
Railway Travel in The United Kingdom and Abroad 1962–2013
Working on the railways from the early 1960s, David Maidment was in a privileged position to witness the last days of steam and continued his interest by seeking out steam across the world after its demise in Britain. Accompanied by 200 of his own images, this 'railway biography' tells the story of his career and his pursuit of working steam and steam specials in Europe and China.
Bolts from the Blue
From Cold War Warrior to Chief of the Air Staff
Trained as a jet pilot in the late 1950s when Britain was still a leading air power, Richard Johns achieved the top rank in the RAF in 1997, by which time Britain's military capacity had been much reduced. His autobiography examines his key operations as commander, including the First Gulf War and Balkan conflict in the 1990s, as well as reflecting on the evolution of the RAF and the other services during his career.
The Old Man and the Knee
How to Be a Golden Oldie
‘I’d like to get one thing straight. I am not old. I know what old is, and I’m not it.’ This light-hearted guide to retirement discusses the amusing and exasperating points of ageing, from what to do with your spare time and coping with the changing attitudes and manners of younger generations to worrying about declining physical fitness and the perils of social media.
Making a Noise
Getting it Right, Getting it Wrong in Life, Broadcasting and the Arts
This candid memoir by Czech-born journalist and arts administrator John Tusa recollects the wrangles with BBC senior management over the creation of Newsnight in 1979 (he was a presenter). It also reveals how as managing director of the World Service (1986–93) he saw off unwanted political influence over its remit. And musing on his stint as head of the Barbican (1995–2007), he demonstrates how his passion for the arts turned the centre’s fortunes around.
Under a Mackerel Sky
In this memoir, Rick Stein describes how his love for Cornwall has endured throughout his life, from his idyllic childhood, through the trauma of his father’s suicide to his experiences of marriage, parenthood and the success of his seafood restaurants. Slightly off-mint.
A Miscarriage of Justice and the Fight to End the Death Penalty
The case of Oklahoma death-row inmate Richard Glossip has caused an international outcry, since even those who prosecuted him for murder admit he killed no one. The British reporter who became his close friend tells the story of Glossip’s campaign against three scheduled executions. Slightly off-mint.
A Season in the Wilderness
This classic of American nature writing records the author’s time as a ranger in the canyons of Utah. A rallying-cry for the protection of wilderness, it describes the stark beauty of the landscape: its terracotta earth, arching rock formations, wild horses and Pueblo Indian petroglyphs. First published half a century ago, this new edition includes an introduction by the writer and wildlife campaigner Robert Macfarlane.
The Sheep Stell
Memoirs of a Shepherd
Despite coming from a middle-class, academic family, Janet White dreamed of living and working somewhere wild and beautiful, ‘a place high and remote as a sheep stell, quiet as a monastery, challenging and virginal’. Here, she describes how she followed her ambition to be a farmer, from her first job as a dairymaid to owning her own sheep farm on a remote island in New Zealand. Originally published in 1991, and reissued with a new introduction by Colin Thubron.