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 moonlighted as a smuggler, 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.
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.
No Cunning Plan
As one of Fagin's boys in the original production of Oliver!, Tony Robinson's understudy was Steve Marriott, later of the Small Faces, and he'd had a 20-year career in regional theatre and minor television work before Blackadder and Time Team, for which he is now principally known. In this autobiography he discusses his long professional career as well as his childhood in North London and his political and campaigning work.
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.
An Outsider Inside No 10
Protecting the Prime Ministers, 1974–79
John Warwicker, a former Special Branch officer, tells the story of his six years in charge of security at No 10 Downing Street, protecting Prime Ministers Wilson, Callaghan and Thatcher during an era in which the Cold War and the IRA were ever-present threats.
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.
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.
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.
Word for Word
A Translator's Memoir of Literature, Politics, and Survival in Soviet Russia
A Russian Jew, who lived in Germany, France and Palestine before her family settled in the USSR in 1933, Lilianna Lungina (1920–1998) became a celebrated literary translator, introducing Russian readers to the work of writers including Knut Hamsun, Heinrich Böll, Colette and Ibsen. Lilya lived through some of the most harrowing events of the 20th century, yet her memoir, as told to Oleg Dorman and illustrated with personal photographs, shows how misfortune can lead to ‘surprising and improbable happiness and richness’.
A Likely Tale, Lad
Laughs & Larks Growing Up in the 1970s
In this endearing memoir a former police officer who appeared in the 2005 BBC series Country Cops recalls his 1970s childhood in the North Yorkshire countryside. In retrospect, it seems to him like a perpetual summer: the family setting off on holiday in his dad's Morris Traveller, its roof-rack piled high; bicycle adventures and boyish pranks; fishing and football; jam sandwiches and pop – all set amid the idyllic landscape of God's Own County peopled with larger-than-life characters.
Mikey Walsh was born into a family of Romany gypsies and brought up, with no formal education, in the isolated and fiercely loyal culture of the traditional gypsy community. This acclaimed autobiography tells the story of his childhood with a cruel and abusive father and how coming out as gay forced him to abandon his roots, educate himself and seek a new life.
Tales of a Tiller Girl
My True Story of Dancing in Wartime London
In the early 1950s, after growing up in Battersea, dancing with the Italia Conti school on the West End stages of wartime London and performing through summer seasons in Blackpool and winter seasons in pantomime, Irene Holland won a coveted place in the Tiller Girls troupe at the London Palladium. Her very engaging memoir describes her passion for dancing and the thrill of achieving her ambition.
The Blaze of Obscurity
Unreliable Memoirs V
In the fifth volume of his memoirs, the endlessly witty Clive James (b.1939) tells the inside story of his years in TV, including the documentary special Clive James on Safari, which took him to Kenya, the long-running Clive James on Television and the Postcard from... programmes – work that inducted him into celebrity culture, 'the strange world where everybody knows your face while you hardly ever know theirs'.
The Spicer Diaries
An MP from 1974 to 2010, when he was elevated to the House of Lords, Michael Spicer was a distinguished member of Margaret Thatcher's government, serving as minister for aviation, housing, electricity and coal. Honest, witty and perceptive, his diaries chart the intrigues and rivalries of the Thatcher administration, and the dispiriting years in opposition before the rise of David Cameron, while shedding light on the arcane rituals of Parliament with humour and insight.
From A Journal of Love
Spanning October 1932 to November 1934, this is the unexpurgated diary of Anaïs Nin in which she deals openly with her various sexual relationships and their complex psychological consequences. A remarkable record of erotic freedom, the Journal describes Nin's incestuous relationship (now disputed by scholars) with her father, the pianist Joachin Nin, affairs with the writer Antonin Artaud and two analysts, and serious infatuations with her cousins, one of them a girl.
Charlie Radford's Operations in Enemy Occupied France and Italy
Following regular service with the Royal Engineers in North Africa, Charlie Radford joined the SAS and carried out sabotage operations in France and Italy where, after a failed mission, he ended up living and fighting with the Partisans. This memoir is unusual in being written by a soldier of the ranks rather than an officer and describes his service life as he rose from an Apprentice Sapper in 1938 to senior NCO during post-war assignments in Kenya and Somaliland.
'A Very Fine Commander'
The Memoirs of General Sir Horatius Murray
After experiences as a junior officer in India, China and Egypt, 'Nap' Murray climbed from the rank of Major to Lieutenant General between 1939 and 1945 and rose to the highest levels of NATO after the war. This memoir contains accounts of his actions in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Italy, Palestine and Korea as well as his encounters with many of the leading military figures of the age and unusual episodes such as training with the German Army in 1937.
Reign of Terror
The Budapest Memoirs of Valdemar Langlet 1944–1945
After the Germans ousted Hungary's ruler Admiral Horthy in favour of the fascist Arrow Cross party in 1944, thousands of Hungarian Jews faced murder by anti-Semitic thugs or deportation to the death camps. At great risk to his own life, the Swedish diplomat Valdemar Langlet helped many to escape. Never before translated into English, this memoir by one of the unsung heroes of the Second World War vividly captures the drama and tragedy of this terrifying time.
An Autobiography of General Custer
George Armstrong Custer gained a reputation as an innovative and bold cavalry leader during and after the American Civil War but his successes have been overshadowed by the famous defeat at Little Bighorn. Presented as an autobiography, much of this book is drawn from Custer's own writings, principally his My Life on the Plains. The 'last stand', in which he lost his life, is covered by a contemporary interview about the battle with his vanquisher, Sitting Bull.
A Memoir of Growing Up
In this magical memoir, Antonia Fraser recalls her idiosyncratic upbringing with inimitable humour and style. Packed with incident and anecdote, it vividly evokes her childhood in Oxford where her father, the future Lord Longford, was a don, her education at a convent school, wartime evacuation to a romantic Elizabethan manor house, and her 'deeply, gloriously, heroically eccentric' great-uncle, Lord Dunsany. Above all, it charts her growing fascination with the subject to which she would devote her adult life: history.
My Life in Politics
Twice President of France, Jacques Chirac was one of the most influential European politicians of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In this frank and often witty memoir, he looks back over his rise to power and the challenges of office in the midst of momentous world events. Outspokenly critical of Israel's policy towards the Palestinians and George W Bush's invasion of Iraq, he offers a fascinating glimpse of the forces that shaped the world we live in today. American-cut pages and felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.
Stand Up Straight and Sing!
Jessye Norman is one of the finest classical singers of our age, the possessor of a glorious voice of unique range and power. In this frank, engaging and insightful memoir, she tells of her journey from small-town America to the opera houses of London, Paris, Berlin and New York. She reflects on the dedication required to master her art, on racism and her political education in the Civil Rights movement, offering a rare insight into the woman behind the voice.
The Railway Man
Eric Lomax (1919–2012) had always been fascinated by steam locomotives; during the Second World War he became a railway man on the notorious Japanese Burma route. In this memoir he describes the captivity and abuse that he somehow survived and his meeting, many years later, with one of his torturers.
King's Cross Kid
A Childhood Between the Wars
Victor Gregg (b.1919) joined the army in 1937 and in Rifleman (2011) he told the story of his service in the Rifle Brigade in Palestine, Alamein and Arnhem. Here, he goes back to his childhood and teenage years on the 'mean streets' of King's Cross, Soho and Bloomsbury. Gregg's memoir evokes how, abandoned by his father and living in poverty, the family struggled and survived in the familiar, yet strange world of London between the wars. Slightly off-mint.
And Do You Also Play the Violin?
Carl F Flesch (1910–2008) was the son of renowned German violinist Carl Flesch, so as a child he came into contact with some of the greatest musicians who worked in 1920s and 1930s Berlin. In this 1990 book he combines his own reminiscences of this period with excerpts from his father's Memoirs and much previously unpublished material preserved in his archive – especially letters from such figures as Artur Schnabel, Joseph Joachim and Wilhelm Furtwängler. Slightly off-mint.
London's Great Plague
With extracts from his diary, this book traces the course of the Great Plague in London as experienced by Samuel Pepys: from October 1663 when he first mentions that there is news of plague in Amsterdam; through the summer of 1665 when over 6,000 people were dying every week; to the Great Fire that destroyed both London and the disease in the city in September 1666.
Volume II: 1992–1997
Colourful, outspoken and irrepressible, former politician Edwina Currie has become an all-round celebrity. Her first published diaries explosively revealed her affair with John Major. This second volume, which begins with her refusal to serve in his government in 1992, is no less revelatory about her colleagues and her extraordinary career. Shot through with effervescence, it shows one of the biggest figures in British public life at her saucy, scathing best.
When One Door Closes
A Liverpool boy and schoolfriend of Paul McCartney, Peter Sissons was a war reporter until a sniper's bullet put an end to that career. Instead he became one of Britain's most distinguished newsreaders, guiding a generation through every momentous event of the past 45 years. In this funny but often poignant memoir, he reveals what he really thinks of global affairs, the state of the media and the workings of the BBC.
Ronnie Corbett (1930-2016) was one of Britain's best-loved entertainers. Here he discusses his life and work with characteristic self-deprecating wit, including his Edinburgh childhood before the war; early ventures on the stage and screen; encounters with stars such as John Cleese, Noel Coward, Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan; plus his solo sitcom Sorry! and - of course - his long-running partnership with Ronnie Barker.
A Notable Woman
The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt
Jean Pratt was a trainee architect, journalist and publicist who lived in a Buckinghamshire cottage and ran a local bookshop. Though she was well-known in bookselling circles, none of her friends had any idea that, from the age of 16, she kept a diary, which ran to more than a million words by the time she died in 1986. It recounts, with aching honesty and infectious humour, love and loss, wartime privations, books read, indiscreet gossip – and her many feline companions.
Jack Duckworth and Me
Bill Tarmey (1941–2012) played the lovable rogue Jack Duckworth in Coronation Street for 31 years until his character was killed off during the show's 50th anniversary in 2010. His story of growing up in post-war Manchester, singing in working men's clubs, and then finding his niche playing a rascal whose life uncannily mirrored his own will be cherished by all fans of Britain's longest-running soap.
The Richard Burton Diaries
Richard Burton's rugged good looks, dark charisma and resonant voice made him one of the most admired actors of his day, while his bouts of drinking and tempestuous marriages to Elizabeth Taylor were seldom out of the tabloids. Throughout much of his life he kept an intimate diary, published here for the first time. Perceptive, humorous and indiscreet, it reveals the conflicted man behind the public image: proud, passionate, fiercely intelligent, awesomely well-read, yet self-lacerating and insecure.
Time to be in Earnest
A Fragment of Autobiography
PD James (1920–2014) was not only the most stylish and intelligent crime writer of her generation – she was an influential figure in politics, culture and the media. In this, her only autobiographical work, she considers the year leading up to her 78th birthday, and looks back over her past: growing up in the 1920s and ’30s, giving birth during an air raid, working for the Home Office forensic department, and her career as a novelist.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
In this touching memoir, the luminous Italian Oscar-winner reflects on her life, from her infancy in war-torn Naples to the dizzy heights of worldwide fame. Each chapter begins with an object such as a letter or a photograph that brings back memories: of her family; of her late husband, Carlo Ponti; of friends and co-stars such as Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando and Richard Burton; and of the joy and satisfaction of being a mother and a grandmother.
Testament of Youth
An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900–1925
In this elegiac memoir, Vera Brittain (1893–1970) recalls her experiences during the First World War, when she abandoned her Oxford studies to enlist as a nurse in the armed services, and saw the hopes of her generation turn to despair during a conflict in which she lost all the men she loved. With a foreword by her daughter Shirley Williams. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
by Celia Birtwell
Textile designer Celia Birtwell (b.1941) was one of British fashion's most fêted figures in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a muse for David Hockney whose painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy featured Birtwell and her then-husband Ossie Clark. Her colourful and vibrant designs for clothes and home fabrics, often featuring flowers, animals and birds, are lavishly illustrated in this scrapbook, alongside photos from her life and career, comments from friends and colleagues, and her own reminiscences and observations.
Peake in China
Memoirs of Ernest Cromwell Peake
Dr Ernest Peake (1874-1950), the father of Mervyn Peake, was a newly qualified doctor when he was sent to China by the London Missionary Society in 1899, and he practised medicine in Hunan province and Tientsin until 1923. These memoirs describe his experience of 'the Celestial Empire' during a period that saw the violent end of Manchu rule and the start of the Chinese Republic. The memoirs are published here for the first time, with an introduction by Hilary Spurling.
A Life in Pictures
Glasgow-born Alasdair Gray (b.1934) is perhaps better known for such novels as Lanark: A Life in Four Books (1981) than his art. But he has spent a lifetime making murals, portraits, landscapes and illustrations, which are reproduced copiously in this substantial volume of 'autopictography'. The accompanying text, which is forthright and insightful, narrates how his work has developed from the 1950s to the present, including many stories highlighting the influence of friends and family on his artistic direction.
The Last Nights of Cleopatra
Having arrived in Alexandria in the winter of 2010–2011 with the intention of working on his eighth attempt at a biography of Cleopatra, Peter Stothard, a former editor of The Times, found his plans spoiled by the onset of the Arab Spring. The book he writes is a chronicle of his stay in the city, visiting ancient sites amid the gathering political storm, but it is also a fragmentary memoir of his youth, glimpsed through the history of Cleopatra.
Have You Been Good?
The granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, Vanessa Nicolson was born to an illustrious name and an unhappy marriage. In this brutally frank, bittersweet memoir, she chronicles her reckless childhood and disjointed youth, summer holidays at Sissinghurst Castle, and life at a liberal boarding school. Interlinked with her story is that of her daughter Rosa, who died at the age of 19. The result is a powerful meditation on love and loss, cultural privilege and emotional deprivation.
There's no one quite like Brian Blessed: actor, storyteller, mountaineer and coffin-maker. In this frank, riotous memoir he recalls his childhood in a Yorkshire mining town, his breakthrough on Z Cars, falling for Katharine Hepburn, raising hell with Peter O'Toole, meeting the love of his life, the actress Hildegard Neil – and punching Harold Pinter down a flight of stairs. ‘No long dramatic pauses this time, Harold; he got one right on the side of the jaw. Wham!’
Hemingway in Love
His Own Story
In 1961, a few weeks before Hemingway took his own life, AE Hotchner visited his old friend for the last time. What the writer told him formed the final piece of the mystery Hemingway had been revealing down the years: the story of the affair that destroyed his marriage, and the woman who haunted his life and fiction. Withheld for decades out of consideration for his widow, this frank account reveals an unknown Hemingway: humble, thoughtful and full of regret.