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Mark Bostridge is a biographer and literary critic who lives in London.
He is the biographer of Florence Nightingale. (source:the Guardian)
The Fateful Year by Mark Bostridge is the story of England in 1914. War with Germany, so often imagined and predicted, finally broke out when people were least prepared for it. Here, among a crowded cast of unforgettable characters, are suffragettes, armed with axes, destroying works of art, schoolchildren going on strike in support of their teachers, and celebrity aviators thrilling spectators by looping the loop. A theatrical diva prepares to shock her audience, while an English poet in the making sets out on a midsummer railway journey that will result in the creation of a poem that remains loved and widely known to this day. With the coming of war, England is beset by rumour and foreboding. There is hysteria about German spies, fears of invasion, while patriotic women hand out white feathers to men who have failed to rush to their country's defence. In the book's final pages, a bomb falls from the air onto British soil for the first time, and people live in expectation of air raids. As 1914 fades out, England is preparing itself for the prospect of a war of long duration. Mark Bostridge won the Gladstone Memorial Prize at Oxford University. His first book Vera Brittain: A Life was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize, the NCR NonFiction Award, and the Fawcett Prize. His books also include the bestselling Letters from a Lost Generation; Lives for Sale, a collection of biographers' tales; Because You Died, a selection of Vera Brittain's First World War poetry and prose; and Florence Nightingale: The Woman and her Legend, which was named as a Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2008 and awarded the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. He is currently consultant on the forthcoming feature film of Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 27 November 2008. A very absorbing book on the life of Florence Nightingale. Probably nothing else out there as in depth or as interestingly written.
Winner of the Elizabeth Longford prize for Historical Biography 'Engrossing' Claire Tomalin / 'Superb' Sunday Times / 'A triumph' Daily Mail Whether honoured and admired or criticized and ridiculed, Florence Nightingale has invariably been misrepresented and misunderstood. As the Lady with the Lamp, ministering to the wounded and dying of the Crimean War, she offers an enduring image of sentimental appeal and one that is permanently lodged in our national consciousness. But the awesome scale of her achievements over the course of her 90 years is infinitely more troubling - and inspiring - than this mythical simplification. From her tireless campaigning and staggering intellectual abilities to her tortured relationship with her sister and her distressing medical condition, this vivid and immensely readable biography draws on a wealth of unpublished material and previously unseen family papers, disentangling the myth from the reality and reinvigorating with new life one of the most iconic figures in modern British history. 'Enthralling' Guardian 'Excellent' Spectator 'Hugely readable' Lancet 'Gripping and faultless' Observer, Books of the Year 'Remarkable. A subtle, scholarly and immensely readable portrait. Scrupulous, thoughtful and clear-eyed. A masterly achievement' Financial Times 'It will not be superseded for generations to come' Sunday Telegraph
'Most of us have them, and many of us would regard our lifelong relationships with our brothers and sisters as a primal bond which cannot be broken'. In this absorbing book Mark Bostridge draws on select interviews with brothers and sisters, including a wide range of European and American historical and literary examples and even his own complex relationship with his brother, to provide insightful commentary on the multifaceted nature of siblingship.
Vera Brittain and the First World War tells the remarkable story of the author behind Testament of Youth whilst charting the book's ascent to become one of the most loved memoirs of the First World War period. Such interest is set to expand even more in this centenary year of the war's outbreak. In the midst of her studies at Oxford when war broke out across Europe, Vera Brittain left university in 1915 to become a V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Detachment) nurse, treating soldiers in London, Malta and Etaples in France. The events of the First World War were to have an enormous impact on her life. Four of Brittain's closest friends including her fiance Roland Leighton and her brother Edward Brittain MC were killed in action, sparking a lifelong commitment to pacifism. In 1933 she published Testament of Youth, the first of three books dealing with her experience of war. In equal measures courageous, tragic and deeply fascinating, Testament of Youth is one of the most compelling and important works of war literature ever to have been written by a British woman. Mark Bostridge's Vera Brittain and the First World War, published to coincide with the film of Testament of Youth, explores the effects of the First World War on Vera Brittain, both in terms of her personal life and in terms of its effect on her development as a writer and her eventual decision to become a pacifist. Taking advantage of the interest generated by the film, it will bring her story to a new generation and incorporate the most up-to-date research. It will also include a short essay 'From Book to Film', describing the process of turning Testament of Youth into a major feature film. This will include interviews with the production staff and actors, as well as with members of Vera Brittain's family, including Shirley Williams. The film, which has been scripted by Juliette Towhidi and is being produced by BBC Films and Heyday Films, the makers of Harry Potter, is currently in production. Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) stars as Brittain, with Kit Harington (Game of Thrones, Pompeii) playing her fiance Roland Leighton.
Nothing in the papers, not the most vivid and heart-rending descriptions, have made me realise war like your letters' Vera Brittain to Roland Leighton, 17 April 1915. This selection of letters, written between 1913 & 1918, between Vera Brittain and four young men - her fiance Roland Leighton, her brother Edward and their close friends Victor Richardson & Geoffrey Thurlow present a remarkable and profoundly moving portrait of five young people caught up in the cataclysm of total war. Roland, 'Monseigneur', is the 'leader' & his letters most clearly trace the path leading from idealism to disillusionment. Edward, ' Immaculate of the Trenches', was orderly & controlled, down even to his attire. Geoffrey, the 'non-militarist at heart' had not rushed to enlist but put aside his objections to the war for patriotism's sake. Victor on the other hand, possessed a very sweet character and was known as 'Father Confessor'. An important historical testimony telling a powerful story of idealism, disillusionment and personal tragedy.
Biography is well recognised as a peculiarly British vice. This new anthology is a collection of essays by some of the best biographers now writing in Britain. They tell of the ups and downs of life writing: of problems with families and friends of their subjects, of shocking new discoveries, and of bitter professional rivalries. Essays in favour of biography, others that describe disenchantment with an attempt to capture another human being in the pages of a book. First published in the autumn of 2004 - to coincide with the appearance of the most important British publishing enterprise of the new century to date, the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - this new in paperback edition of Lives For Sale is full of amusing anecdotes and fascinating experiences retold by some of the masters of the form, including Michael Holroyd, Claire Tomalin, Fiona MacCarthy, Graham Robb, Andrew Roberts, Hermione Lee, Margaret Forster, Jenny Uglow, Antonia Fraser, as well as contributions from the rising generation, and an essay by Beryl Bainbridge on 'Waiting for the Biographer'.