David McKie - Author

About the Author

David McKie was deputy editor of the Guardian from 1975 to 1984 and wrote both its 'Smallweed' and 'Elsewhere' columns. His books include Jabez - shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Award and the Saga Award for Wit - Great British Bus Journeys and McKie's Gazetteer.

Featured books by David McKie

What's in a Surname? A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker

What's in a Surname? A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker

Author: David McKie Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/07/2014

This is the Sunday Times bestseller. Surnames are much more than convenient identity tags; they are windows into our families' pasts. Some suggest ancestral trades (Butcher, Smith, Roper) or physical appearance (Long, Brown, Thynne). Some provide clues to where we come from (McDonald, Evans, Patel). And some - Rymer, Brocklebank, Stolbof - offer a hint of something just a little more exotic or esoteric. All are grist to the mill for David McKie who, in What's in a Surname?, sets off on a journey around Britain to find out how such appellations have evolved and what they tell us about ourselves. En route he looks at the surname's tentative beginnings in medieval times, and the myriad routes by which particular names became established. He considers some curious byways: the rise and fall of the multi-barrel surname and the Victorian reinvention of 'embarrassing' surnames among them. He considers whether fortune favours those whose surnames come at the beginning of the alphabet. And he celebrates the remarkable and the quirky, from the fearsome Ridley (the cry of which once struck terror in the hearts of their neighbours) to the legend-encrusted Tichborne, whose most famous holders were destined to suffer misfortune and controversy. Elegiac and amusing by turns, he offers a wonderfully entertaining wander along the footpaths of the nation's history and culture, celebrating not just the Smiths and Joneses of these islands but the Chaceporcs and Swetinbeddes, too.

Bright Particular Stars A Gallery of Glorious British Eccentrics

Bright Particular Stars A Gallery of Glorious British Eccentrics

Author: David McKie Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2011

In Bright Particular Stars, David McKie examines the impact of twenty-six remarkable visionaries on twenty-six unremarkable British locations. From Broadway in the Cotswolds, where the Victorian bibliomaniac Sir Thomas Phillipps nurtured dreams of possessing every book in the world, to Kilwinning in Scotland, where in 1839 the Earl of Eglinton mounted a tournament that was Renaissance in its extravagance and disastrous in its execution, he has created a vivid patchwork of arresting narratives that together illuminate some of the most secret - but most extraordinary - byways of our national and local history. Some figures, including Mary Macarthur, who helped the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath win the right to a fair wage in 1910, were good to the point of saintliness; others mixed the admirable with the morally dubious: the composer Peter Warlock rented a cottage in the Kentish village of Eynsford where he composed a gentle song cycle, but set net curtains twitching by his hard drinking and naked motorbike riding. In Bright Particular Stars quiet, unassuming streetscapes are transformed in to beguiling, eccentric and uproarious sites of action which - through the eyes of David McKie - are once more filled with the great triumphs and failures of the visionaries that have each, in their own way, helped shape our island's rich and chequered history.

Other books by David McKie

Riding Route 94 An Accidental Journey through the Story of Britain

Riding Route 94 An Accidental Journey through the Story of Britain

Author: David McKie Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/06/2017

On previous journeys through Britain, David McKie headed for places he had heard of and was eager to see. But how true, how representative a picture of the country could that provide? What, he wondered, might happen if he let chance dictate his itinerary? McKie decides to travel only where he was taken by buses with the number 94, stopping off along the way to visit often unexpected places. Chance also takes the form of unexpected encounters at the bus stop or stumbling across some fascinating slice of local history in a country churchyard. Eschewing such simplistic generalisations as the `north-south divide', he nonetheless finds themes emerging: Why do some communities thrive and grow while others seem set on a course of inevitable decline - sometimes even communities living cheek by jowl? What kind of urban landscape have we inherited from the post-war planners, whose best intentions too often took little account of how people actually want to live? And how much are our opportunities and expectations shaped by the communities we are born into? These buses will take David McKie across the idyllic Isle of Mull (where the driver pauses to let him drink in the view), to the furthest reaches of Cornwall (`in England, but certainly not of England'), through the post-industrial landscape of Middlesbrough, and to a whole host of places, some privileged, some bereft, some in between. On this journey readers will discover unfamiliar places for the first time and see familiar places through fresh eyes.

What's in a Surname? A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker

What's in a Surname? A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker

Author: David McKie Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/07/2014

This is the Sunday Times bestseller. Surnames are much more than convenient identity tags; they are windows into our families' pasts. Some suggest ancestral trades (Butcher, Smith, Roper) or physical appearance (Long, Brown, Thynne). Some provide clues to where we come from (McDonald, Evans, Patel). And some - Rymer, Brocklebank, Stolbof - offer a hint of something just a little more exotic or esoteric. All are grist to the mill for David McKie who, in What's in a Surname?, sets off on a journey around Britain to find out how such appellations have evolved and what they tell us about ourselves. En route he looks at the surname's tentative beginnings in medieval times, and the myriad routes by which particular names became established. He considers some curious byways: the rise and fall of the multi-barrel surname and the Victorian reinvention of 'embarrassing' surnames among them. He considers whether fortune favours those whose surnames come at the beginning of the alphabet. And he celebrates the remarkable and the quirky, from the fearsome Ridley (the cry of which once struck terror in the hearts of their neighbours) to the legend-encrusted Tichborne, whose most famous holders were destined to suffer misfortune and controversy. Elegiac and amusing by turns, he offers a wonderfully entertaining wander along the footpaths of the nation's history and culture, celebrating not just the Smiths and Joneses of these islands but the Chaceporcs and Swetinbeddes, too.

Great British Bus Journeys Travels Through Unfamous Places

Great British Bus Journeys Travels Through Unfamous Places

Author: David McKie Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2011

'Buy a ticket and get on board.' Sunday Herald Starting on a green bus in Leeds and culminating atop the number 94 as it speeds towards Trafalgar Square, in Great British Bus Journeys David McKie travels to some of Britain's most unfashionable and unfamous places - using our least reliable method of transport. From the Forest of Bowland to Bradwell-on-Sea via a white-knuckle ride on the Glasgow night bus, Great British Bus Journeys offers a unique tour of our land, rich with history, legend and personality.

Bright Particular Stars A Gallery of Glorious British Eccentrics

Bright Particular Stars A Gallery of Glorious British Eccentrics

Author: David McKie Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2011

In Bright Particular Stars, David McKie examines the impact of twenty-six remarkable visionaries on twenty-six unremarkable British locations. From Broadway in the Cotswolds, where the Victorian bibliomaniac Sir Thomas Phillipps nurtured dreams of possessing every book in the world, to Kilwinning in Scotland, where in 1839 the Earl of Eglinton mounted a tournament that was Renaissance in its extravagance and disastrous in its execution, he has created a vivid patchwork of arresting narratives that together illuminate some of the most secret - but most extraordinary - byways of our national and local history. Some figures, including Mary Macarthur, who helped the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath win the right to a fair wage in 1910, were good to the point of saintliness; others mixed the admirable with the morally dubious: the composer Peter Warlock rented a cottage in the Kentish village of Eynsford where he composed a gentle song cycle, but set net curtains twitching by his hard drinking and naked motorbike riding. In Bright Particular Stars quiet, unassuming streetscapes are transformed in to beguiling, eccentric and uproarious sites of action which - through the eyes of David McKie - are once more filled with the great triumphs and failures of the visionaries that have each, in their own way, helped shape our island's rich and chequered history.

Mckie's Gazetteer A Local History of Britain

Mckie's Gazetteer A Local History of Britain

Author: David McKie Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2010

McKie's Gazetteer takes its readers on a journey through the hidden history of Great Britain. From Castle Dangerous in South Lanarkshire to Defiance Platform in Cornwall, David McKie relates the anecdotes and arguments, heroes and villains that comprise Britain's rich local history. Read of the tragic demise of Mr Marvell (Andrew's father) in the Humber; discover where the only Knockin Shop in the country remains open; or wonder at the tale of Sir William the Kent Messiah, who, armed with two pistols, a sword and a bugle, claimed that he was the reincarnation of Christ and then murdered the local plumber wielding his warrant for arrest. David McKie's search for Britain's best-kept secrets will entertain and enthral in equal measure.

Jabez The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Rogue

Jabez The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Rogue

Author: David McKie Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/02/2005

Jabez, as he was universally known, was a business man, philanthropist, politician, temperance campaigner and charmer. He was also an astonishing scoundrel - a liar, adulterer and cheat - who perpetrated the most destructive fraud of the nineteenth century. When the Liberator building society collapsed under the weight of its own extravagant malpractice, thousands of people were left defrauded and destitute. Jabez, the Liberator's moving spirit, immediately took flight to Argentina, accompanied (scandalously) by a female ward half his age. Eventually, a determined Scotland Yard detective caught up withJabez, and kidnapped him on a high-speed train across South America from whence he was hauled back to justice. David McKie's account of the rise and fall of this charismatic swindler brings the man and the times trumpeting to life.McKie describes the massive charm offensives, the growth and collapse of the vast Jabez empire, his scandalous escape and dramatic extradition, and the sensational show trail that followed.

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