A Survivor's Flight from Nazi-Occupied Vienna Through Wartime France
Literary editor of a Viennese newspaper, Moriz Scheyer was forced to flee the Nazis, only to be arrested when they invaded France. In this memoir, begun in hiding in a French convent in 1943 and found in an attic half a century after its author’s death, he recalls his incarceration in a concentration camp, escape, contact with the Resistance, and many threats to his life.
Born to sharecroppers in Georgia, Martin Luther King, Sr. (1899–1984) was a prominent Baptist preacher. This memoir, first published in 1980, recounts his struggles against racism, and his fatherly pride and anxiety as his son became the leading light of the Civil Rights movement.
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.
Memoirs of an Ambulance Driver
With dark humour and compassion, NHS ambulance driver Kit Wharton recounts the most memorable emergency calls to which he has responded over the last 12 years, punctuating them with his memories of a childhood overshadowed by his parents' alcoholism.
Some Sunny Day
Born in 1917, Dame Vera Lynn was 92 when she realized that her great age gave a better perspective (she wrote her first autobiography in her fifties) and she had to 'get everything down on paper in a final account'. Here then is the life of 'an ordinary girl from an ordinary family with a voice that you could recognize' – but also an embodiment of British spirit during the Second World War.
Just the Job, Lad
Having relocated from the streets of London to a rural North Yorkshire beat in the late 1990s, village bobby Mike Pannett encountered everything from local drug dealers and anti-hunt protestors to eccentric residents and leaky cottage roofs, as he recounts in this gentle, humorous memoir.
Splendours and Miseries
The flamboyant Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A has been at the heart of Britain’s high society for half a century. Amusing and often acerbic, his diaries chronicle two decades of parties, meetings and tussles over funding, with a cast of characters including Margaret Thatcher, the Royal Family, David Hockney, Mick Jagger and Rudolph Nureyev. This new edition includes entries omitted when the diaries were first published.
A Memoir of War and Love
After three decades as the BBC’s war correspondent, Fergal Keane explores in this memoir how his fascination with conflict is rooted in his Irish ancestry. Through the recollections of friends and family he investigates the story of his grandmother, Hannah Purtill, her brother Mick and his friend Con Brosnan, who fought the British during the War of Independence in 1919–21. Opposing them was Tobias O’Sullivan, a policeman who believed it was his duty to uphold the law.
Your Loving Friend, Stanley
The Great War Correspondence Between Stanley Spencer and Desmond Chute
While serving as an orderly at a military hospital during the First World War, the artist Stanley Spencer met Desmond Chute, the aesthetic son of a Bristol theatre family, who introduced him to classical literature and the Confessions of St Augustine. These 31 letters document their friendship, Spencer’s combat in Macedonia and his evocative memories of the village of Cookham. Illustrated with facsimiles and Spencer’s own drawings, they shed light on his artistic development.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine
The Last Diaries
The diaries of Tony Benn (1925-2014) provide an unparalleled commentary on Britain's political life between his election to Parliament in 1950 and the first decade of this century. This final volume covers the years 2007-2009 and includes observations on the 2008 financial crisis, the collapse of Gordon Brown's premiership and Benn's personal reflections on the challenges and compensations of old age. Edited by Ruth Winstone.
An Editor's Life
For half a century, Diana Athill edited, coaxed, nursed and, at times, coerced a succession of novelists from Jean Rhys to Timothy Mo into producing their finest work. Elegant, clear-sighted and self- deprecating, her memoirs offer a wise and often very funny account of a life in publishing; a life in which the parade of literary luminaries takes second place to Athill's sheer love of language and literature.
A Field Full of Butterflies
Memories of a Romany Childhood
Born in a Gypsy wagon in 1938, Rosemary Penfold grew up amid the fields of Somerset. In this memoir, she recounts the love and losses, hopes and struggles, traditions and prejudices of a close-knit community faced with a rapidly changing world. This moving testament to a disappearing way of life took her to the finals of Alan Titchmarsh’s People’s Author competition.
I Know Nothing!
Much loved as the Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, Andrew Sachs (1930-2016) was born in Berlin rather than Barcelona and fled to England in 1938 after his father was arrested by the Gestapo. In this compelling and often hilarious memoir he tells of his early years in showbiz, the success of the infamous Torquay hotel, and his acting career beyond Fawlty, which included Shakespeare, Dustin Hoffman's Quartet, a stint as Father Brown, and Snowy in BBC Radio 5's Tintin.
The Diaries of a Military Wife During the Second World War
While her husband was serving as a British Army captain, Evelyn Shillington travelled with him whenever she could. She kept a regular diary starting with their arrival home from Hong Kong in 1935, through the turbulence of the Second World War, to a stint in post-war Italy in 1946. As well as commenting on the political situation, the diaries include gossip, humour and even a meeting with Princess Elizabeth.
The Lost Landscape
A Writer's Coming of Age
In this candid and moving memoir, one of America’s most acclaimed novelists recounts her tough rural upbringing in upstate New York. Through the eyes of her younger self, the book evokes the emotions of childhood and adolescence, from early friendships to her first encounters with death. Recalling her burgeoning desire to tell stories about the world and the people she meets, Oates reveals how those experiences coloured her later writing.
Moab Is My Washpot
From joining the ‘train boys’ en route to boarding school, aged eight, to ‘Cambridge Scholar Elect’ signing up for temporary teaching work, aged twenty, Stephen Fry narrates his progress through adolescent misery and love affairs, expulsion, prison and criminal conviction. Disarmingly honest and full of engrossing digressions, Fry’s gay coming-of-age autobiography has been described as ‘a pleasure to read, mixing the outrageous acts with sensible opinions in bewildering confusion’ (Financial Times). Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
This Long Pursuit
Reflections of a Romantic Biographer
In this ‘inside account of a biographer at work’, the renowned biographer of Coleridge and Shelley, Richard Holmes, reflects upon the principles that have guided his work, his life and his ‘strange, unappeased sense of some continuous, intense and inescapable pursuit’. He goes on exploring the art of biography through essays on five women, Margaret Cavendish, Zélide, Madame de Staël, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Somerville, and the ‘afterlives’ of Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, Blake and the painter Thomas Lawrence.
Out of Time
1966 and the End of Old-Fashioned Britain
Peter Chapman was 18 years old in 1966, the year of Harold Wilson, the seamen’s strike, London ‘swinging’ to a soundtrack of Beatles and Rolling Stones, and England’s victory in the World Cup. Chapman, whose hopes of being a professional footballer had been dashed, but who would become an outstanding football journalist, gives a vivid picture of the lost world of Britain in the Sixties from the perspective of his world in Islington, north London.
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.
Kathleen and Frank
The Autobiography of a Family
Using his mother’s diary and letters, the novelist Christopher Isherwood relates 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, rising hemlines and social change – a world brought to an end by the Great War during which Frank Isherwood was killed.
Memories of a Rascal's 1950s Childhood
With a turbulent home life, the young Peter Stockley found adventure and a sense of belonging with his gang, ‘the Scallywags’, in 1950s Liverpool. Their joyful but sometimes dangerous escapades, including exploring bombed-out houses and swimming in rat-infested canals, shaped the rest of his life and he recounts with nostalgia and humour some of his adventures. Slightly off-mint.
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.
My Adventures as a Spy
In this book, written in 1915, the founder of the Boy Scout movement outlines the different types of spies, explains basic espionage techniques and describes his own adventures as a young army officer serving in military intelligence in Malta before the First World War.
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.
H-Bombs & Hula Girls
Operation Grapple 1957 and the Last Royal Navy Gunroom at Sea
As part of Operation Grapple, Britain’s H-bomb testing programme, the light fleet carrier HMS Warrior set off from Portsmouth in February 1957 for Christmas Island in the South Pacific. In the Gunroom were ten junior officers (including the author) who weeks later would witness the detonation of Britain’s first thermonuclear device. This month-by-month account of their voyage, which examines the logistics behind the testing, describes their naval duties and celebrates their unfaltering comradeship.
The Vanity Fair Diaries
During the 1980s, Tina Brown spent eight years in New York as editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Her diaries tell the inside story of rivalries, scoops and groundbreaking covers – from the Reagan kiss to a naked, pregnant Demi Moore – that helped the magazine sell millions.
Baggage of Empire
Reporting Politics and Industry in the Shadow of Imperial Decline
The former BBC industrial editor Martin Adeney blends memoir and history as he surveys the ruins of great industries and the rise of Thatcherism to reveal how the long decline of the British Empire has shaped the nation.
A Powerful True Story
Returning to Ireland after 50 years, Gordon Lewis began to investigate the secrets of his childhood, only to be told not to go ‘digging up that old stuff’. Brought up in the 1950s in a secretive Catholic hostel for unmarried women, he had little idea of the hardships his mother had suffered, or her determination to keep her child, in defiance of an intolerant society.
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.
The Biography of Gerald Wiener
A Jewish child saved by the Kindertransport, twelve-year-old Gerald Wiener left his family in Berlin in 1939. This biography describes how, from inauspicious beginnings in Nazi Germany, Wiener went on to become a distinguished scientist in the field of animal genetics in Britain.
A Wood of One's Own
After years in London, Ruth Pavey wanted to reconnect with the countryside and plant a wood of her own. Combining childhood memories, local history and nature writing, she tells how she bought four acres of scrubland in the Somerset Levels and set about transforming it, tree by tree, into a haven for wildlife. Illustrated with her own drawings, this is an account of the challenges she faced, the satisfaction she achieved, and the local characters she encountered.
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.
A Life of Crime
The Memoirs of a High Court Judge
Harry Ognall reflects on the responsibilities of a lifetime in the law courts of Leeds and London and the well-known cases he worked on. Having prosecuted the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, he presided as judge over the trials of Colin Stagg (accused of being the ‘Wimbledon Common murderer’) and the first UK doctor taken to court for assisting in euthanasia.
Love Among the Ruins
A Memoir of Life and Love in Hamburg, 1945
The author and activist Harry Leslie Smith recalls how, as an RAF serviceman stationed in Hamburg, he met the love of his life, a young German woman named Frieda. In a city reduced to rubble by Allied bombing, and populated with refugees, black-marketeers, corrupt businessmen and cynical soldiers, their relationship flourished, despite suspicion and disapproval on both sides. Slightly off-mint.
Billy Brown, I'll Tell Your Mother
The winner of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s ‘People’s Author’ competition recalls his adventures growing up in the close-knit neighbourhood of post-war Brixton, where reports of his mischief could be quick to reach his mother's ears. Nevertheless, he scoured bombsites and markets, selling everything from bricks to horse dung, amid spivs, barrow boys and new arrivals from the West Indies, and found himself in more scrapes than most.
'We Ain't Got No Drink, Pa'
A Little Girl's Struggle to Survive in the Slums of 1920s South-East London
Hilda Kemp grew up in the slums of Bermondsey in the 1930s depression with her father, a heavy-drinking docker who regularly beat his wife and child. Her granddaughter Cathryn has brought to life the stories she heard as a child of her nan playing in the dockyards, stealing coal from barges and dodging the rag-and-bone man, all set against a background of inner-city deprivation.
In a long career working for the BBC, ITN and Sky News, award-winning journalist Jeremy Thompson travelled the world to report on events including the Tiananmen Square massacre and the release of Nelson Mandela. His autobiography offers a glimpse behind the scenes in the newsroom and shares both poignant and amusing moments during assignments, from the Miners’ Strike to the election of Donald Trump.
Breaking the Code
Westminster Diaries 1990–2007
As MP for Chester and a government whip, Gyles Brandreth had a ringside seat at Westminster from the fall of Margaret Thatcher to the election of Tony Blair. His frank and often funny diaries provide an insight into the workings of modern government, profiles of the key players, and the first insider's account of the secret world of the Whips' Office. This updated edition continues the story to the arrival of David Cameron as Tory leader.
My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London
Legend has it that without its ravens the Tower of London would crumble into dust and the kingdom would fall, so there are always at least six ravens living at the Tower. Another resident, Yeoman Warder Chris Skaife, is the Ravenmaster, responsible for the birds’ safety and welfare. Chris’s love for his charges is obvious from his light-hearted account of their work together and his character sketches of the seven ravens: Munin, Merlina, Erin, Rocky, Jubilee II, Gripp II and Harris.