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.
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.
Too Marvellous For Words!
Award-winning writer Julie Welch describes Felixstowe College as just like Malory Towers: her schoolgirl experiences there included pillow fights, midnight feasts and swotting for exams. This memoir of boarding-school life in the 1960s, however, covers topics Enid Blyton avoided, such as homesickness, anorexia and sex. Tracking down fellow boarders and an old teacher, Welch pieces together the school’s history and entertainingly documents her own part in its story.
My Life on a Plate
Chef, television presenter and award-winning businesswoman Prue Leith (b.1940) is one of Britain’s foremost culinary authorities and has helped to revolutionize the country’s eating habits. In this candid and witty autobiography she describes her childhood in apartheid South Africa, her arrival in London in the 1960s and her rapid ascent to restaurant owner, Daily Mail columnist and cookery book author.
An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
‘Nothing you do on this planet can ever truly prepare you for what it means to leave it.’ Mike Massimino has left it twice – aboard the space shuttles Columbia and Atlantis, on servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope. For most of us, his book is as close as we will get to blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere and going into orbit. Massimino’s entertaining, warts-and-all account describes life as an astronaut, from the first week of training to seven-hour-long space walks.
What I Learnt
What My Listeners Say – and Why We Should Take Notice
Jeremy Vine succeeded Jimmy Young as presenter of Radio 2's phone-in show in 2003 and since then has taken over 25,000 calls – including the joyous, the furious and the occasional joker. As well as his radio show, Vine is a familiar face on television, and his book describes working on everything from general election coverage to Strictly Come Dancing, but his emphasis is on his listeners ‘and all the surprises they spring’. Slightly off-mint.
His Master's Voice
Sir Joseph Lockwood and Me
At the helm of EMI Records for 20 years from 1954, Joseph Lockwood transformed the company, focusing on pop music rather than classical and exploiting the phenomenal success of the Beatles. This biography by his long-time personal assistant and friend describes his journey from managing and designing flour mills to his time at EMI, after which he became a member of the Arts Council and Chairman of the Royal Ballet, and was instrumental in the building of the National Theatre.
The Solitary Spy
A Political Prisoner in Cold War Berlin
A graduate of Britain’s top-secret Joint Services School for Linguistics, Douglas Boyd was posted to an RAF airbase in Berlin in 1958 to spy on the armed forces of Warsaw Pact countries. He was subsequently arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Potsdam, where he was interrogated by the KGB. In this memoir, Boyd describes his work as a signals interceptor in Berlin, where he listened in on pilots flying over East Germany, and his encounters with key security personnel.
Pour Me, a Life
AA Gill is best remembered for his hysterically funny – and often scathing – restaurant reviews, but behind his brilliant career lay a dark past. In this frank memoir he reveals how, as a student in his twenties, he was already a serious alcoholic. Sifting through blurred memories, he recalls his drunken affairs and a failed marriage, before pioneering rehab saved his life and set him on the path to three decades of sobriety.
To Cambridge and Beyond – A Writer's Memoir
In this erudite memoir, the screenwriter and novelist charts his journey from Chicago via Cambridge to Fleet Street, where the ambition and romantic yearnings of his youth were followed by the first taste of success with his Oscar-winning screenplay for Darling.
In His Own Words
In 2013, Benedict XVI became the only Pope to resign from office in modern times. In these conversations with the religious journalist Peter Seewald, he discusses the reasons for his resignation and his admiration for his successor, speaking frankly about the controversies that have dogged the Church, including ‘Vatileaks’ and the child abuse scandal, and revealing his thoughts about his life, his philosophy, his mistakes, and the future of Christianity.
Composing an American Life
One of America’s foremost composers reflects on his life and times, from the marching bands of his 1950s childhood to his acclaimed 2005 opera Doctor Atomic. He also explains the interplay of tradition and innovation in his own compositional process and the work of fellow-musicians.
The Long Walk
The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
In 1939 Polish Army lieutenant Slavomir Rawicz was sentenced to 25 years forced labour in a Siberian prison camp. In this controversial story of endurance, Rawicz describes his imprisonment and alleged escape to India across the Himalayas and Gobi Desert.
Commandant Of Auschwitz
The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess
Rudolf Hoess was Commandant of Auschwitz from its construction in 1940 until late 1943, and supervised the murder of over three million Jews as part of the Nazis’ ‘final solution’. He was an expert in the administration of concentration camps and mass exterminations. Hoess wrote this autobiography in 1947 while in prison in Poland. He was tried, sentenced and hanged later that year. The autobiography and other documents are translated here by Constantine Fitzgibbon, with an introduction by Primo Levi.
Kathleen and Frank
The Autobiography of a Family
Drawing on his mother’s diary and letters, the novelist Christopher Isherwood recreates the story of his parents’ marriage: how Kathleen, the lively daughter of a successful wine merchant fell in love with Frank, the shy, artistic son of a country squire. This family history evokes an Edwardian world of amateur music-making, suffragettes, rising hemlines and social change – a world brought to an end by the Great War, in which Frank Isherwood was killed.
The author of The Long View and the much-loved Cazalet Chronicles, Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923–2014) lived, worked and loved in literary circles. Her candid autobiography describes her marriages – to Peter Scott and Kingsley Amis – love affairs with Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee (among others), other much-valued friendships and her years alone after leaving Amis. Slightly off-mint.
While a junior reporter, Michael Parkinson played cricket for Barnsley and counted Geoffrey Boycott and Dickie Bird amongst his team mates. Detailing his rise from local journalist to national broadcaster, this memoir relates his experiences in the television industry over a 40-year period, including the infamous TV-am launch, and his thoughts about the many famous and influential people he interviewed on his long-running chat show and Desert Island Discs.
A Different Kind Of Weather
William Waldegrave was a key figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government. His elegantly written memoir recalls the quintessentially English upbringing that would shape his life and career. With unusual frankness and dark humour, Waldegrave charts the rise and fall of Mrs Thatcher, offering a rare glimpse of the narcotic effect of politics, and a unique insight into one of the most tumultuous eras of modern British history.
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This
A Life in Music
Dave Stewart’s career as songwriter, performer and producer has spanned four decades. In this memoir he shares the stories behind his creative partnerships with a host of musicians and his rise to global stardom with Annie Lennox as Eurythmics. Foreword by Mick Jagger. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Strangers on a Bridge
The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers
On 10 February 1962, on Glienicke Bridge between East Germany and West Berlin, the American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was exchanged for Rudolf Abel, Soviet head of espionage in the USA. James Donovan was the American lawyer who defended Abel in court and negotiated his release to the USSR and the return of Powers. First published in 1964, this is the first-hand, inside story of a tense episode at the height of the Cold War. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge and slightly off-mint.
The Pigeon Tunnel
Stories from My Life
John Le Carré has drawn on his years in British intelligence to create a body of fiction that explores the moral ambiguities of our world. In this long-awaited memoir, he provides vivid, insightful, and often very funny cameos of his con-man father Ronnie, meeting Margaret Thatcher, the casinos of Monte Carlo, New Year’s Eve with Yasser Arafat, watching Alec Guinness preparing for his role as George Smiley, and the aid worker who inspired The Constant Gardener. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
A Naturalist at Work
The Scottish naturalist David Douglas (1799–1834) made three trips to America’s Pacific Northwest between 1825 and 1834, sending back many specimens new to science, including the Douglas Fir that bears his name. Following in the naturalist’s footsteps to the mouth of the Columbia River, Jack Nisbet found the land and its peoples largely unchanged. This handsomely bound volume is illustrated with reproductions from Douglas’s journals, period maps and prints of both flora and fauna. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Best of Benn
Speeches, Diaries, Letters and Other Writings
Tony Benn (1925–2014) was not only a prominent, charismatic and principled politician, but also the pre-eminent diarist of his generation. This volume brings together a selection of his journalism, speeches and diary entries to highlight key moments in his career and to illustrate the range of issues on which he campaigned, such as workers' rights and the abolition of the death penalty, as well as his interest in the connections between Christianity and socialism.