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.
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.
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.
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.
The Stories Behind the Headlines at the World's Most Famous Newspaper
As the chief reporter and news editor for the News of the World, Neville Thurlbeck was one of Fleet Street's most prominent journalists for over 20 years. In this memoir he recalls the most sensational scoops and scandals, including the Jeffrey Archer perjury case, the David Beckham and Rebecca Loos affair, and a variety of stories involving politicians, celebrities, serial killers and even MI5.
Born in the Welsh valleys, Joan Ruddock went on to lead the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament before becoming an MP and the first Minister for Women in the Blair government. In this memoir, she recalls the hard lives of her parents, which fuelled her passion for social justice, her career as campaigner and politician, the euphoria she felt after the 1997 election, and the frustration and disillusionment that followed.
There's Something I've Been Dying to Tell You
Something of a national treasure, thanks to her appearances as the archetypal mum in the Oxo television commercials, Lynda Bellingham (1948–2014) was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2013. In this memoir, she reflects on her life and continuing work while undergoing treatment for the disease as well as her relationships with her family and her quest to find her birth father, having been adopted in infancy.
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. 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.
A Clear Case of Genius
Room 40's Code-Breaking Pioneer
Admiral Sir Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall (1870–1943) was the Director of Naval Intelligence throughout the First World War; Room 40 was his Admiralty HQ. In the 1920s, he wrote an autobiography, but it was banned by government order. The parts that have survived, published here with commentary by Philip Vickers, give an absorbing account of Room 40's staff and their top-secret work, including the decryption of the Zimmermann telegram and the interception of Kaisermarine’s cypher system.