The Grand Turk
Sultan Mehmet II – Conqueror of Constantinople, Master of an Empire and Lord of Two Seas
Aged just 21 when he conquered Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet II was known to Europe as a brutal tyrant, whose advancing Ottoman empire, reaching across Asia Minor to Hungary and Italy, led three Popes to call for Crusades. He was 'the present Terrour of the World', but as John Freely’s biography reveals, Mehmet’s court was filled with poets, astronomers, scholars and artists, and his military conquests brought Greco-Islamic science to the West at the dawn of the Renaissance. Slightly off-mint.
The Life of Henrietta Anne
Daughter of Charles I
Melanie Clegg offers a detailed biography of the youngest daughter of Charles I. Her prestige enhanced by her dramatic escape from parliamentary forces during the Civil War, the infant Henrietta Anne was cherished by the court in her mother's native France. As a young woman, her flirtatious reputation belied her political acumen, but the part she played in negotiating the Secret Treaty of Dover in 1670 was a notable high point in her short, at times controversial, life.
Miss Muriel Matters
The Fearless Suffragist who Fought for Equality
Muriel Matters (1877–1969), ‘that daring Australian girl’ who chained herself to a grille in Parliament and demanded votes for women, dedicated her life to campaigning for social reform. This biography reveals the lengths the former actress and executive of the Women’s Freedom League went to for causes including prison reform, Montessori schools and help for the poor. Her direct action ranged from attending demonstrations to boarding an airship in 1909 to drop leaflets onto Edward VII’s carriage.
The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles
Focusing on Prince Charles’s life since the death of Diana, journalist and investigative historian Tom Bower draws on interviews with 120 anonymous royal insiders to present a balanced portrayal of the future king. The prince is revealed to be a well-meaning but stubborn man who has difficult family relationships and struggles to win popularity, despite extensive charitable work and his keen interest in and support for environmentally friendly projects.
The Life of Germaine Greer
With unprecedented access to her personal and professional archive at Melbourne University, this first biography of Germaine Greer in two decades records her difficult childhood in 1940s Australia, her simultaneous immersion in the worlds of academia and hippie counterculture, the international success of The Female Eunuch, and the more recent pronouncements that have angered many former admirers.
The Life and Times of the Honourable Ivor Montagu – Filmmaker, Communist, Spy
The son of a wealthy peer, Ivor Montagu founded the London Film Society to champion the art form – but his overriding interest was in communism. Based on interviews and archival research, this biography follows these two concerns, recounting a career that included making documentaries about the Spanish Civil War, producing several of Hitchcock’s films and spying for Russia, while remaining blind until the end of his life to the horrors of Stalin’s regime.
The Life and Death of Sherlock Holmes
When Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study In Scarlet in 1887 he couldn’t have known how enduringly famous Sherlock Holmes would become. Mattias Bostrom sets out to tell the story of the men and women who created an icon, bringing a scholar’s eye to the tale of the detective’s genesis, the stories’ initial wave of popularity and Holmes’s transformation into a screen role that is still being reinvented today.
The Traveller on the Hill-top
Mary Howitt: The Famous Victorian Authoress
Her Staffordshire Quaker upbringing gave Mary Howitt (1799–1888) material for the childrens’ stories that made her famous. It is explored here, as are her travels with her journalist husband William, and friendships with Byron, Wordsworth, Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen, whose work she translated.
A Life Revisited
Graham Greene called him ‘the greatest novelist of my generation’; Hilaire Belloc thought he was possessed by the devil. Written with the family’s support and drawing on unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, this new biography reassesses the life and career of the author of Brideshead Revisited: his troubled relationship with his father, his early homosexual affairs, his conversion to Catholicism, wartime service, happy second marriage, drug-induced madness, and his sharp tongue and devastating wit.
A Personal Memoir
The close and abiding friendship of Robert Harling and Ian Fleming was forged during the Second World War, when Harling was Fleming’s deputy in the commando unit dubbed ‘Fleming’s Secret Navy’. Described by Fiona MacCarthy in her foreword as ‘a master of obfuscation’, Harling fictionalized his own life and inspired characters – even elements of 007 – in Fleming’s fiction. This memoir of his friend provides an entertaining portrait of the creator of James Bond, but also a revealing self-portrait of Harling.
In My Mind's Eye
A Thought Diary
In 2017–18, at the start of her ‘tenth decade’, the popular historian, author of the Pax Britannica trilogy, and travel writer Jan Morris (b.1926) decided to keep a diary of thoughts. Ranging back and forth over an extraordinarily interesting life, but also examining the joys and frustrations of old age at home in North Wales, Morris’s 188-day diary treats us to her opinions on anything that comes to mind – be it Ovid, walls, whistling or Brexit. Slightly off-mint.
Scenes and Apparitions
As Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, Sir Roy Strong was a leading figure in Britain’s cultural life. His second volume of diaries begins as he leaves the public stage to devote himself to writing and his love of gardening. With a rich and diverse cast of characters including Tony Blair, Judi Dench, Elton John, Laurence Olivier, Harold Pinter, Margaret Thatcher and the Queen, it casts a wryly humorous eye over the turn of the millennium.
The Authorised Biography of Nicol Williamson
John Osborne hailed him as ‘the greatest actor since Brando’; the New York Times called him ‘the terrible tiger of the English stage’. Nicol Williamson (1936–2011) was as renowned for his hellraising as for his Shakespearian heroes. This biography is based on the recollections of his family and fellow actors and follows his brilliant but chequered career, tracing the origins of his uncompromising and ultimately self-destructive genius in his tough Clydeside upbringing.
'Anger is Not About...'
'Anger is not about,’ wrote John Osborne in his final play. ‘It is mourning the unknown.’ In the 1950s and 1960s Osborne shocked and delighted British theatregoers, reflecting the unease of a changing nation, but by the 1980s he was out of step with his times. Drawing on interviews with friends and colleagues, this biography explores the rage at his provincial upbringing that fuelled his creativity, and the struggles with alcohol and debt that undermined it.
A Good Face for Radio
Confessions of a Radio Head
As the host of Radio 4's PM for 15 years, Eddie Mair established a unique style, bringing deadpan humour to the programme alongside hard-hitting political interviews and serious news journalism. This collection of his weekly columns, which were published in the Radio Times between 2010 and 2016, reflects his idiosyncratic wit and mischievous tone, lampooning contemporary political events, poking fun at his fellow broadcasters and musing on the quirks of everyday life.
Robert Service: Trotsky; Lenin; Stalin - 3 Books
A former Professor of Russian History at Oxford University and the author of several important works on Soviet history, Robert Service has been described by a fellow biographer of Stalin, Simon Sebag Montefiore, as ‘the founding maestro of Stalinist history’. This trilogy comprises a single-volume life of Lenin (2000), the critically acclaimed biography of Stalin (2004) and a genuinely revelatory study of Trotsky (2009). The three titles included in this set are: Trotsky (Read more...) Lenin (Read more...) Stalin (Read more...)
Deciphering a Memory
Although Jesus’ conversation with Pilate was a moment of enormous political and theological significance, the Roman governor of Judaea is a shadowy figure in the Gospel accounts. Schiavone takes the reader on a ‘journey within early Christian memory’ to investigate what can be learned from those narratives and their intersection with Judaeo-Roman historiography: who was Pilate, what was he thinking during his questioning of Jesus and how did he become a figure of such controversy and ambiguity? American-cut pages.
The Illustrated Biography
This detailed biography of Alexander Hamilton’s fascinating life focuses on the pivotal role he played in the development of the United States’ political and economic systems and frames his legacy in the context of both American and world history. It is illustrated with more than 200 paintings, photographs and excerpts from historical documents and the dust jacket unfolds to reveal a frameable map of Revolutionary-era New York.
The Sword of Albion
One of Britain's greatest naval heroes, Nelson was nonetheless insecure and needed constant reassurance. Wellington thought him 'so vain and silly as to surprise and almost disgust me'. This second volume of Sugden's biography recounts Nelson's life from 1797 to his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Drawing on letters and diaries, it weaves his victories at the Nile and Copenhagen with his stormy relations with colleagues and his scandalous private life.
That Hamilton Woman
Emma and Nelson
Written to accompany an exhibition at the Royal Maritime Museum, this illustrated biography records the rise and fall of Emma Hamilton. The author frames her story in the broader context of the roles that women played in the daily life of the British Fleet, and examines how she was portrayed by the artists, caricaturists and satirists of the time.
The Man Who Built Covent Garden Theatre
For two centuries theatre historians dismissed John Rich (1692–1761) as a producer of trivial pantomimes. This carefully researched reassessment highlights his promotion of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera and Handel’s operas, while exploring the background and private life of this shrewd businessman.
An Infamous Mistress
The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott
Scandalous mistress, prisoner during the French Revolution and reputed mother of the Prince of Wales’s child, Grace Dalrymple Elliott had little choice but to live off her wits and her beauty. This biography charts her adventures in London and Paris and sets her life against the social history of the Georgian era, exploring her far-flung family connections that extended to France, America, India and Africa.
The Reluctant Rebel
The author of Gulliver’s Travels was a man of complex character – a libertarian struggling with conservative beliefs, a church minister with complicated personal relationships, and a satirist who scorned the world yet sought to improve it. This biography follows his flight from war-torn Ireland in 1688 to the splendour and squalor of London, examining his shifting political allegiances and complicated love life to identify the roots of the ‘savage indignation’ that drove him.
Feminist, Pacifist, Traitor?
Emily Hobhouse (1860–1926) left Cornwall in 1895 to follow her instinct to alleviate suffering. In South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War, she worked tirelessly to help women and children in the British concentration camps; during the First World War she campaigned for peace and later set up a feeding programme for German children starving in Leipzig. Drawing on Emily’s memoirs and scrapbooks, Elsabé Brits tells the story of a woman dedicated to helping others, yet branded a traitor.
A Dublin Memoir
Having been born in Wexford, the young John Banville found Dublin ‘all the more alluring’ and the novelist’s memories stretch back to childhood trips in the 1950s, when the city, although poverty-stricken at the time, held magical promise for a boy. In this combination of vignettes from his own past, his historical investigations of Dublin and Paul Joyce’s photographs, Banville asks ‘What transmutation must the present go through in order to become the past?’
The Battle Over Oscar Wilde's Legacy
For years after Oscar Wilde’s death his two closest friends and former lovers, Lord Alfred Douglas and Robert Ross, fought for control of his manuscripts, and reputation, and argued over who was to blame for his downfall. Drawing on previously unpublished information, Oscar’s Ghost uncovers a bitter feud that involved stalking, blackmail, lawsuits, witness tampering and prison, and influenced the way we perceive Wilde to this day.
The Unauthorized Biography
In pursuit of the man behind the stories, this investigation of the life and times of Sherlock Holmes treats the character as a real person. Nick Rennison interweaves detailed period research with clues from Arthur Conan Doyle's tales to place the famous Consulting Detective at the heart of some of Victorian London's most notorious criminal investigations, noted historical events and intellectual social circles.
Through the Magic Door
Ursula Moray Williams, Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse
Ursula Moray Williams (1911–2006) wrote 68 children’s books – illustrating 30 of them – plus short stories, plays and poems. Best known for Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, she only stopped writing at 76, and died aged 95. This biography explores how Ursula’s upbringing – an identical twin, raised in a ramshackle mansion in the woods – influenced her ideas, drawing upon family anecdotes and Ursula’s unpublished letters and diaries to create a vivid picture of her fascinating life.
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.
The Epic Voyages of Maud Berridge
The Seafaring Diaries of a Victorian Lady
Maud Berridge (1844–1907) made five voyages with her husband, Master Mariner Henry Berridge, from Gravesend to Melbourne and back. One of these, on the clipper Superb, was a trip of 14 months, rounding both the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, and stopping off in Polynesia and San Francisco. Interweaving Maud’s diaries with contemporary reports and a modern commentary, her great-granddaughter has assembled an account of a Victorian captain’s wife’s adventures at sea.
From the Mill to Monte Carlo
The Working-Class Englishman who Beat the Monaco Casino and Changed Gambling Forever
Joseph Jagger had worked for many years in the textile trade in Bradford when he made an extraordinarily bold trip to Monte Carlo, armed with borrowed money, a team of accomplices and a scheme to win big on the roulette wheel. This account of his life and historic winning streak describes how he managed to break the bank and walk away with a fortune, worth the modern equivalent of £7.5 million.
Catherine of Aragon
An Intimate Life of Henry VIII's True Wife
Catherine of Aragon has been remembered as a tragic figure, the woman Henry VIII divorced for want of a male heir. Amy Licence takes issue with this portrayal: her study presents neither a victim nor a divorcée, but a highly educated Spanish princess and a great humanist queen who, in the early years of her marriage, was Henry's advisor and his warrior. A portrait of a 'complex, passionate, unbreakable woman', the biography also upholds Catherine's unwavering conviction that her 'divorce' was invalid.
Pope Pius XII
Architect for Peace
Pope Pius XII has been much criticized for his role during the Second World War, particularly his alleged appeasement of the Nazis and failure to intervene on behalf of Jews during the Holocaust. This reappraisal challenges that view. Drawing on letters and other documents from the Vatican archives, it reveals his work for peace, his support for prisoners of war, and his efforts to save Jewish lives in Italy. Slightly off-mint.
A Passionate Humility
Frederick Oakeley and the Oxford Movement
Described by Newman as ‘a man of elegant genius, of classical mind, of rare talent in literary composition’, Frederick Oakeley (1802–1880) was the principal figure in the second generation of the Oxford Movement, renowned for his love of well-performed liturgy and music – and his hymn, O Come all ye faithful. Among his achievements, this biography examines Oakeley’s pioneering experiment at Margaret Chapel in London, where he was the first to translate the Oxford Movement’s theology into liturgical practice.
Frances, Countess Lloyd George:
More Than a Mistress
Describing the 30-year relationship between British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and his mistress (and later wife) Frances Stevenson, here the author – the subject’s granddaughter – offers fresh insights into the complicated and often controversial relationship between the two, and shares extracts from their private papers and letters, and photographs from the family album. Slightly off-mint.
The Lost Pilots
The Spectacular Rise and Scandalous Fall of Aviation's Golden Couple
A pioneering flight from England to Australia in the 1920s earned Bill Lancaster and Jessie Miller international fame, but their lives unravelled a few years later when Lancaster was tried for murder. Their sensational story describes the financial and personal troubles that led to the death of Miller's lover and the desperate attempt by Lancaster to rebuild his reputation with a long-distance flight that resulted in disaster over the Sahara Desert.
The Disappearance of Émile Zola
Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case
One evening in 1898, Émile Zola fled Paris with nothing more than the clothes he stood in. Michael Rosen retraces the novelist’s footsteps from the Gare du Nord to a south London suburb; investigates the case of Alfred Dreyfuss, the Jewish officer he defended against false charges of treason; chronicles Zola’s year in England; and unravels his delicate relations with the two women in his life. Slightly off-mint.
The Incredible Story of the Most Audacious Gambler in History
The well connected and urbane Patrice des Moutis began putting his talent for mathematics to his advantage in the late 1950s, exploiting the French state-run Tiercé betting system so effectively that the rules were repeatedly changed to thwart him. This biography of the gambler reveals how dangerous underworld connections and allegations of illegal bookmaking and race fixing were increasingly catching up with him at the time of his apparent suicide in 1975.
Train to Nowhere
One Woman's War, Ambulance Driver, Reporter, Liberator
First published in 1948, this 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.
So High a Blood
The Life of Margaret, Countess of Lennox
The niece of Henry VIII and half-sister of James V of Scotland, Lady Margaret Douglas (1515–1578) held a uniquely influential position in the Tudor Court. As the Protestant Reformation gathered momentum and the royal line of succession remained in doubt, her main objective was to see her descendants rule a united, Catholic Britain. This biography draws on previously unexamined archival sources to tell her complex story.
Soldier, Poet, Lover, Friend
Widely recognized as the foremost authority on Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967), Jean Moorcroft Wilson presents a single-volume biography of the poet, building on and adding to her earlier studies. Sassoon himself said that most people thought he died in the First World War; Wilson’s work traces his entire life, before, during and after the war, showing how his writings gained in intensity, and how his literary, artistic and musical friendships illuminate a significant segment of 20th-century cultural life. Slightly off-mint.
A Biography of Tom Johnston
As Scottish Secretary in Churchill’s war cabinet, Tom Johnston helped lay the foundations of the NHS; later, he brought electricity to remote parts of Scotland. Tracing his ideals to his early career as a campaigning journalist, this biography celebrates his fighting spirit and lasting achievements.
Minister of Money
Henry Duncan, Founder of the Savings Bank Movement
A parish minister in Dumfriesshire, the Reverend Henry Duncan (1774–1846) was also a poet, novelist, geologist and social reformer. This biography explores the ways in which he fused the at-times antagonistic traditions of Presbyterianism and the Scottish enlightenment in his greatest achievement: the founding of the world's first community savings bank. Designed to help the ‘industrious poor’ save for times of hardship, the idea would eventually lift many out of poverty.
The Life and Legacy of a Hebridean Priest
The Catholic priest Father Allan MacDonald (1859–1905) was not only a much-loved champion of his Hebridean parishioners on Eriskay, but also an accomplished Gaelic poet and one of Scotland's greatest collectors of folklore. Hutchinson's beautifully written book recounts the life and work of this remarkable man against the richly evoked backdrop of an island landscape where myth and spirituality entwine.
The Life of Arnold Palmer
With a string of victories in the 1960s, just as television was bringing golf to a wider audience, Arnold Palmer is credited with revolutionizing the game. This biography explores his playing career and the lasting legacy he built through decades as one of the game's leading ambassadors.
The Prisoner of Kathmandu
Brian Hodgson in Nepal 1820–43
Posted to Kathmandu as a junior officer, Brian Hodgson found himself in a delicate position as relations between Britain and Nepal became hostile. This biography tells how he learned the Nepalese language, studied Buddhism and natural history, and helped to negotiate peace with the mountain kingdom.
Memories of a Bygone Age
Qajar Persia and Imperial Russia 1853–1902
The son of a provincial merchant, Prince Arfa rose to the heights of Iranian politics. His memoir, written shortly before his death in 1936, records the decline of the Persian Empire, and his time as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Russian court of Nicholas II.
Lady Chatterley's Villa
DH Lawrence on the Italian Riviera
In November 1925, in search of a healthy climate, DH Lawrence arrived in the Italian resort of Spotorno with his wife Frieda. Drawing on recently discovered letters, this book tells the story of the next six months, in which the aristocratic Frieda’s affair with a muscular Italian army officer would plant in Lawrence’s mind the germ of the idea that became Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
In Search of Ancient North Africa
A History in Six Lives
Informed by the author’s long experience of travel in North Africa, this ‘journey into a landscape of ruins’ is structured around the lives of six much-mythologized figures who represent the region’s rich classical culture: the refugee Queen Dido, the generals Hannibal and Masinissa, King Juba II, Septimus Severus and Augustine the intellectual careerist. Rogerson argues that the choices each made about cultural assimilation and resistance to Rome resemble those still faced by their modern descendants.
My Dear Ones
One Family and the Final Solution
The discovery of a hidden cache of letters at his late aunt’s house made Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg privy to hitherto hazy details of his father’s life, prompting him to explore his lineage in relation to the history of Europe in the Second World War and the rise of the Nazis.
The Lives of The Mitford Sisters
Born into privilege, the six Mitford sisters were the ‘bright young things’ of high society London in the 1920s and 1930s. As the shadow of Fascism crept over Europe and war loomed, the stark differences in their outlooks would reflect the extremes of an explosive political era. The first account in the post-Mitford era to explore the intertwined lives of the ‘six-pack’ reflects upper-class English life before and after the Second World War.
The Short Life and Long Country Road of Hank Williams
A prototype tragic hero for the rock generation to follow, Hank Williams struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse and died before he was 30 on New Year's Day, 1953. This new biography of the country legend describes his childhood of rural poverty, tracing his musical roots to the street corner bluesman he befriended in Alabama, and explores the powerful influence in his life and career of his domineering mother, Millie, and fiery wife, Audrey. Off-mint.
The Prince of Wales and the Women He Loved
Known to his friends as Bertie, Edward, Prince of Wales, was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and heir to the throne. He was also a notorious womanizer whose affairs gave rise to scandal, divorce and suicide. This biography surveys the women who became his lovers: the actresses Lillie Langtry and Sarah Bernhardt, the socialite-turned-socialist Daisy Brooke, the philanthropist Agnes Keyser, and Jennie Churchill, the wife of Randolph Churchill and mother of Winston.
The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne 1751–1818
Elizabeth Lamb – ‘Lady M’ to her friend Lord Byron – was one of the brightest and most influential political hostesses of late Georgian London. Drawing on diaries, archives and letters, including her extensive correspondence with Byron, this biography reveals how she used her looks, charisma and wealth to climb socially, forging friendships with significant figures including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, the Whig leader Charles James Fox, the playwright Sheridan and the future George IV, who became her lover. Editorial error: Family Tree not included. Slightly off-mint.
The Life of Henry Percy, Peninsular Soldier and French Prisoner of War
Before bringing news of victory at Waterloo to London, Henry Percy had fought in Sicily, Egypt, Spain and Portugal. Archive sources, including his own journal, inform this detailed account of his eventful career, including his time as a PoW, when a Frenchwoman bore him a child.
Master and Madman
The Surprising Rise and Disastrous Fall of the Hon Anthony Lockwood RN
Although press-ganged into the Navy, and prone to bouts of lunacy, Lockwood (c.1775–1855) enjoyed a successful career and became Surveyor General of New Brunswick. Driven by a desire to instil democracy, he attempted to stage a coup, but his subsequent imprisonment and state of mind saw him ending his days in a London asylum.
The Life of Major General Sir Robert Laycock KCMG, CB, DSO
In 1943 Bob Laycock succeeded Louis Mountbatten as Chief of Combined Operations, becoming the youngest major general in the British Army. This biography examines a military career that began with the Royal Horse Guards in 1927, ended with a period as Governor of Malta in the 1950s but is chiefly notable for involvement in the Battle of Crete, the Rommel Raid and in particular for a part in establishing the Commando special forces units.
Bring it On Home
Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and Beyond: The Story of Rock's Greatest Manager
After working as a film actor, Peter Grant found himself managing Led Zeppelin in the early 1960s and, through a fierce determination to protect the musicians and improve their earnings and conditions, is credited with revolutionizing the profession.
A Secret Sisterhood
The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf
Using letters and diaries, some previously unpublished, this biography uncovers the relationships that sustained four of the world’s greatest women writers: Jane Austen’s bond with the family servant and amateur playwright Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontë’s admiration for her unconventional schoolfriend Mary Taylor; the decade-long transatlantic correspondence between George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and the highly charged friendship of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield.
A Cultural History
Édith Piaf (1915–1963) began her singing career on the streets of Pigalle in 1929; at her death in 1963, she had become an icon of French chanson. In this study, Looseley examines ‘the cultural phenomenon known as Édith Piaf’ and argues that it was a deliberate invention.
More Than Just A Good Life
The Authorised Biography of Richard Briers
Richard Briers' comedic talent and acting pedigree was revealed to an international audience (and to his Hollywood co-stars) through Kenneth Branagh's films of the 1990s but he had long been established as a national treasure in Britain. This biography chronicles the early life and training of the actor (a contemporary of Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney at RADA) and relates anecdotes from his long career in theatre, television, film and radio.
An Unfinished Life
At the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Otis Redding’s set was one of the performances that made the festival legendary; by the end of the year he was dead, killed when his tour’s private plane crashed in Wisconsin. With the cooperation of the Redding family, friends and fellow musicians, Jonathan Gould presents a biography of ‘the king of soul’ and an appreciation of his immense contribution to popular music. Off-mint with felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge..
The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books
Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library
Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando Colón dreamed of creating a universal library to rival his father’s achievement by bringing order to the vast amount of information that was becoming available in the burgeoning age of print. This biography follows Hernando on travels with his father in the New World; on visits to the great European figures of the age; and on his quest to assemble, organize and catalogue an unprecedented collection of 15,000 books, ephemera, printed images and music.
A Star of Life
A vicar’s daughter from Kent, Sybil Thorndike (1882–1976) became one of the most admired stage actresses of the 20th century. Drawing on hundreds of unpublished letters and interviews with colleagues, family and friends, this authorized biography records how she led the pioneering Old Vic company during the First World War while bringing up four children, her tireless commitment to feminism, socialism and pacifism, and her intense, often troubled relationship with her husband, Lewis Casson. Slightly off-mint.
The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
Groomed for a role that has never materialized, Prince Charles's unique life has been marked by frustration, from a lonely childhood and unhappy school life to the indignity of press mockery of his sincerely held opinions and public pronouncements. Researched with access to palace officials, friends and hundreds of primary sources this biography discusses his life and attitudes, including the saga of his marriage to Diana Spencer and his current status as the oldest heir-apparent in British history. American-cut pages.
The Definitive Biography
One of the most charismatic actors of his generation, Peter O'Toole (1932–2013) brought a dangerous edge to both his roles and his life. Drawing on exclusive interviews with colleagues and friends, this biography from the author of Hellraisers paints an intimate picture of a complex, much-loved man. From the mystery of his place of birth through his formative years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the book charts his celebrated performances, his turbulent relationships and his drunken antics.
The Mistress of Paris
The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret
Painted by Manet, immortalized by Émile Zola in Nana and a connoisseur and collector of the arts, the Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne was one of the most celebrated courtesans of 19th-century Paris. Catherine Hewitt's biography tells the story of this remarkable woman's journey from poverty and obscurity to the wealth, glamour and scandal of Parisian high society.
In this award-winning memoir, Michael Coveney charts the career of one of Britain’s best-loved actors from her first stage appearances through the Oscar-winning The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to recent successes in the Harry Potter films, Downton Abbey and Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van. Drawing on personal encounters and access to family, friends and a cast of theatrical colleagues, he also offers an insight into her closely guarded off-stage life.
1923-1968: The Idealist (Volume 1)
Few US statesmen have been as revered and reviled as Henry Kissinger. This first of two volumes charts his escape from Nazi Germany, his combat experience in the Second World War, his early celebrity as a Harvard professor, and his formative visit to Vietnam. Off-mint with a felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge
Expect Great Things
The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau
Kevin Dunn provides a portrait of an author whose writing was shaped by his sense of the mystical world. This biography presents Thoreau as a spiritual visionary, considering his metaphysical beliefs as key to an understanding of his life and work. Off-mint with felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Double Life of Fidel Castro
My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard To El Líder Máximo
Fidel Castro was the revered leader of Communist Cuba for half a century. In this revelatory memoir, Juan Sánchez, once Castro’s personal bodyguard and later persecuted by the regime, tells the story of his service, imprisonment and escape. He reveals the extent of Castro's vast personal wealth, which was partly amassed by government-sanctioned drug-running, and describes his lavish lifestyle, which included a luxury yacht and a secret island marina.
Martin Freeman: From Slough to Middle Earth
Playing the sweet and vulnerable everyman, Tim, in The Office made Martin Freeman's name but before this breakthrough he had often been cast as edgy outsiders. This biography describes his Hampshire childhood and tracks his career from his acting debut at the Youth Action Theatre to his roles in TV and film, including Sherlock and the Hobbit trilogy, which have made him an international star.
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 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.
Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta
The youngest son of Henry II, John (1166–1216) became king on the death of his brother, Richard I, in 1199. He inherited a vast and possibly ungovernable dominion, extending across the Angevin empire in France as well as England, Ireland and Wales. In this biography, Morris draws on contemporary sources to describe a tyrannical and murderous reign that saw the loss of the French lands, the rebellion of the English barons and, despite the signing of Magna Carta, civil war.
Flesh and Blood
A History of My Family in Seven Maladies
The actor Stephen McGann tells the story of his family over five generations through the diseases that afflicted them. They range from the famine and smallpox that claimed the lives of infant relatives in the 19th century to the necrosis that almost killed his wife, Heidi Thomas, inspiring her to write the BBC adaptation of Call the Midwife. Combining genealogy and social history, this volume explores the effects of illness on society through the generations.
The Lives and Spies of MI5's Maxwell Knight
Based on recently declassified MI5 files, this is the story of one of Britain’s greatest intelligence operators, Maxwell Knight (1900–1968) or ‘M’. From 1923, when he was recruited for MI5 by Sir George Makgill, the book follows Knight’s career through infiltrating Communist and Fascist movements in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War, and examines his particular talent for recruiting and training special agents.
Through a Glass, Darkly
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Quest to Solve the Greatest Mystery of All
When Sherlock Holmes’s creator turned to spiritualism to communicate with the dead, many thought him deluded. Re-examining old records, this book investigates the mediums and séances that gained widespread credence among many bereaved by the First World War.
The Epic Story of the Billionaire Who Took Over Italy
To his fans, Silvio Berlusconi is a natural leader; to his enemies, a convicted criminal. Inspired by David Frost’s historic interviews with Richard Nixon, Alan Friedman set out to uncover the real Berlusconi. With his subject’s cooperation and access to family, friends and business partners, he describes Berlusconi’s childhood in a rough neighbourhood in wartime Milan, the growth of his media empire and his rise to political power, alongside financial scandals and notorious sex parties.
The Art of Rivalry
Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art
This study examines four pairs of artists – Manet and Degas, Picasso and Matisse, Pollock and de Kooning, Freud and Bacon – whose friendship turned to enmity, arguing that early influences that fostered creativity must, after a certain point, be rejected in order to pursue originality. American cut pages with a felt-tip mark on the lower trimmed edge.
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.
A Life From Print to Panorama
Tom Mangold is known to millions as the long-serving broadcaster of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Panorama. In this frank and often funny memoir, he describes his National Service in Germany, where he excelled at selling misappropriated cigarette tokens, and his years in the cut-throat world of Fleet Street tabloid journalism. He reflects on scoops and scandals, chaotic interviews with presidents, and reporting from the world’s deadliest conflict zones.
At the Heart of Power From Heath to Blair
Described as ‘one of the two or three men who actually run the country’, Robin Butler served variously as private secretary to, and cabinet secretary under, five prime ministers. This biography presents Butler as both traditionalist and innovator in a civil service undergoing profound change.
The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?
The Conservative politician Richard Austen ‘Rab’ Butler (1902–82) held three of the great offices of state and came close, on three occasions, to becoming Prime Minister. This biography examines his upbringing, education and political career and draws on his own papers and the testimony of his contemporaries to explore why, despite his formidable intellect and distinguished record as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the premiership ultimately eluded him.
An Unsuccessful Prime Minister? Reappraising John Major
This collection of essays takes a balanced look at the successes and failures of John Major’s government, and re-evaluates its legacy. Contributions from politicians including Charles Clarke, Paddy Ashdown and John Redwood and commentators such as Peter Oborne and Christian Wolmar reflect on the government’s fragile majority, battles over Europe and the Maastricht treaty, the Exchange Rate Mechanism debacle, the first Gulf War, and the Northern Ireland peace process.
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.
The Last Days of Fleet Street: My Part in its Downfall
In this memoir, the award-winning journalist Maurice Chittenden reflects on his forty-year career and describes the hedonism and camaraderie of life as a i>Sunday Times Fleet Street reporter, with anecdotes including a robbery at a Rolling Stones concert and a spell in a Borneo jail.
The Man Who Broke Enigmas
Brilliant classical scholar Alfred Dillwyn Knox was recruited by the Admiralty as a codebreaker in 1915 and by the outbreak of the Second World War was a leading cryptographer for the Government Code and Cypher School, breaking the Abwehr Enigma at Bletchley Park in 1941. This biography of the eccentric genius is written by one of 'Dilly's girls' - his codebreaking assistants at Bletchley - and describes his life and work, including detailed explanations of his decryption methods.