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David Thomson - Author

About the Author

David Thomson (1914-1988) was born in India of Scottish parents. After returning to Britain, he sustained an eye injury when aged eleven. This made school impossible for him until the age of fourteen and impaired his vision for the rest of his life. He was sent to stay with his grandmother in Nairn, and taught by private tutors. During and after university, Thomson took tutoring jobs, staying with one family in Ireland for almost ten years. These Scottish and Irish experiences were explicitly translated into his writing, most particularly in Nairn in Darkness and Light (1987), and Woodbrook (1974). From 1943 Thomson spent twenty-six years working for the BBC as a writer and producer of radio documentaries, writing many distinguished programmes. His love of the natural world, rural communities and oral traditions came together in the unforgettable style of The People of the Sea, his first book. He met his wife in 1952, whilst working for UNESCO, and continued to write fiction, children's fiction and non-fiction until his death.

Featured books by David Thomson

Other books by David Thomson

The Returned They Left to Wage Jihad, Now They're Back

The Returned They Left to Wage Jihad, Now They're Back

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/05/2018

Since 2012, hundreds of men and women have left Western countries to join jihadist groups fighting in Syria. Many are still there, many have been killed, but some have chosen to return to their countries of origin. French Journalist David Thomson met some of those who came back. Bilel, Yassin, Zoubeir, Lena, each has a different profile and story. Some have returned disgusted by the violence of the Syrian battlefields, or the terrorist attacks that have struck across Europe; they try to become forgotten, living under extreme surveillance. Others return seriously wounded or psychologically destroyed. Others still are in jail, a breeding ground for broader radicalization. And some have come back to continue to carry out jihad in Europe. In utmost secrecy, David Thomson gathered their testimonies and recounts them in this remarkable and revealing book. With ISIS losing ground on all fronts, the steady flow of jihadists returning to Europe represents one of the greatest challenges facing countries across the continent. This nuanced analysis of the social, religious, political, familial and psychological factors that push people to violent extremism is more necessary now than ever. It will be essential reading for all those seeking to understand how we might address this threat.

The Returned They Left to Wage Jihad, Now They're Back

The Returned They Left to Wage Jihad, Now They're Back

Author: David Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/05/2018

Since 2012, hundreds of men and women have left Western countries to join jihadist groups fighting in Syria. Many are still there, many have been killed, but some have chosen to return to their countries of origin. French Journalist David Thomson met some of those who came back. Bilel, Yassin, Zoubeir, Lena, each has a different profile and story. Some have returned disgusted by the violence of the Syrian battlefields, or the terrorist attacks that have struck across Europe; they try to become forgotten, living under extreme surveillance. Others return seriously wounded or psychologically destroyed. Others still are in jail, a breeding ground for broader radicalization. And some have come back to continue to carry out jihad in Europe. In utmost secrecy, David Thomson gathered their testimonies and recounts them in this remarkable and revealing book. With ISIS losing ground on all fronts, the steady flow of jihadists returning to Europe represents one of the greatest challenges facing countries across the continent. This nuanced analysis of the social, religious, political, familial and psychological factors that push people to violent extremism is more necessary now than ever. It will be essential reading for all those seeking to understand how we might address this threat.

The People Of The Sea Celtic Tales of the Seal-Folk

The People Of The Sea Celtic Tales of the Seal-Folk

Author: David Thomson, Seamus Heaney, David Thomson, Stewart Sanderson Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

When David Thomson took a journey to the sea coasts of Scotland and Ireland to seek out the legend of the selchies - mythological creatures who transform from seals into humans - a magical world emerged. Men were rescued by seals in stormy seas, took seal-women for their wives and had their children suckled by seal-mothers. Timeless and haunting, The People of the Sea retains its spellbinding charm and brings to life the enchanting stories of these mysterious creatures of Celtic folklore.

Warner Bros The Making of an American Movie Studio

Warner Bros The Making of an American Movie Studio

Author: David Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2017

Behind the scenes at the legendary Warner Brothers film studio, where four immigrant brothers transformed themselves into the moguls and masters of American fantasy Warner Bros charts the rise of an unpromising film studio from its shaky beginnings in the early twentieth century through its ascent to the pinnacle of Hollywood influence and popularity. The Warner Brothers-Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack-arrived in America as unschooled Jewish immigrants, yet they founded a studio that became the smartest, toughest, and most radical in all of Hollywood. David Thomson provides fascinating and original interpretations of Warner Brothers pictures from the pioneering talkie The Jazz Singer through black-and-white musicals, gangster movies, and such dramatic romances as Casablanca, East of Eden, and Bonnie and Clyde. He recounts the storied exploits of the studio's larger-than-life stars, among them Al Jolson, James Cagney, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Doris Day, and Bugs Bunny. The Warner brothers' cultural impact was so profound, Thomson writes, that their studio became one of the enterprises that helped us see there might be an American dream out there.

Television A Biography

Television A Biography

Author: David Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2016

In just a few years, what used to be an immobile piece of living room furniture, which one had to sit in front of at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near-endless supply of content available when and how viewers want it. With this phenomenon now a common cultural theme, a writer of David Thomson's stature delivering a critical history, or biography of the six-decade television era, will be a significant event which could not be more timely. With Television, the critic and film historian, who wrote what Sight and Sound's readers called the most important film book of the last 50 years, has finally turned his unique powers of observation to the medium that has swallowed film whole. Over 22 thematically organized chapters, Thomson brings his provocatively insightful and unique voice to the life of what was television. David Thomson surveying a Boschian landscape, illuminated by that singular glow always on and peopled by everyone from Donna Reed to Dennis Potter, will be the first complete history of the defining medium of our time.

Guide to Growing Pineapples under Glass

Guide to Growing Pineapples under Glass

Author: David Thomson Format: eBook Release Date: 26/08/2016

All aspects of pineapple cultivation in the greenhouse are dealt with in this handy volume written by an expert on the subject. Thoroughly recommended reading for the budding gardener, it contains a wealth of information forming a complete how-to guide. This book contains classic material dating back to the 1900s and before. The content has been carefully selected for its interest and relevance to a modern audience.

Guide to Cultivating Melons Under Glass

Guide to Cultivating Melons Under Glass

Author: David Thomson Format: eBook Release Date: 26/08/2016

Contents Include: Growing Melons in Dung-beds or Pits; Sowing the Seed, and Management of Young Plants; Training and Stopping; Soil and Planting, etc; Moulding Up - Temperature; Impregnation, Watering, etc; Forms of Houses - Depths of Soil; Preparing the Plants, Planting; Watering; Temperature and Syringing; Ventilation; Impregnation, Training and Stopping; Very Early Forcing; Varieties; Insects and Diseases. This book contains classic material dating back to the 1900s and before. The content has been carefully selected for its interest and relevance to a modern audience.

How to Watch a Movie

How to Watch a Movie

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/05/2016

From one of the most admired critics of our time, brilliant insights into the act of watching movies and an enlightening discussion about how to derive more from any film experience. Since first publishing his landmark Biographical Dictionary of Film in 1975 (now in its sixth edition), David Thomson has been one of the most trusted authorities on all things cinema. Now, he offers his most inventive exploration of the medium yet: guiding us through each element of the viewing experience, considering the significance of everything from what we see and hear on screen - actors, shots, cuts, dialogue, music - to the specifics of how, where, and with whom we do the viewing. With customary candour and wit, Thomson delivers keen analyses of a range of films from classics such as Psycho and Citizen Kane to contemporary fare such as 12 Years a Slave and All Is Lost, revealing how to more deeply appreciate both the artistry and manipulation of film, and how watching movies approaches something like watching life itself. Discerning, funny and utterly unique, How to Watch a Movie is a welcome twist on the classic proverb: Give a movie fan a film, she'll be entertained for an hour or two; teach a movie fan to watch, her experience will be enriched forever.

Why Acting Matters

Why Acting Matters

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2016

A provocative, highly engaging essay on the art of pretending on the stage, on screen, and in daily life Does acting matter? David Thomson, one of our most respected and insightful writers on movies and theater, answers this question with intelligence and wit. In this fresh and thought-provoking essay, Thomson tackles this most elusive of subjects, examining the allure of the performing arts for both the artist and the audience member while addressing the paradoxes inherent in acting itself. He reflects on the casting process, on stage versus film acting, and on the cult of celebrity. The art and considerable craft of such gifted artists as Meryl Streep, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, and others are scrupulously appraised here, as are notions of good and bad acting. Thomson's exploration is at once a meditation on and a celebration of a unique and much beloved, often misunderstood, and occasionally derided art form. He argues that acting not only matters but is essential and inescapable, as well as dangerous, chronic, transformative, and exhilarating, be it on the theatrical stage, on the movie screen, or as part of our everyday lives.

Breaking Bad The Official Book

Breaking Bad The Official Book

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/04/2015

One of the most critically acclaimed series ever produced, Breaking Bad won legions of avid viewers who debated its every nuance as they followed the story of how terminally ill high-school teacher Walter White becomes a criminal-mastermind drug kingpin. This one-of-a-kind volume-adapted and expanded from the interactive e-book Breaking Bad: Alchemy-is the only official guide to the show. It covers the evolution of Breaking Bad from the pilot to the final episode and beyond, and highlights the unique elements that made the series so magnetic. It's filled with insider secrets about the making of the show and the meanings behind its iconography, as well a complete series timeline, exclusive interviews with creator Vince Gilligan, and a new introduction from noted film critic David Thomson. In addition to exploring how this epic came to be, Thomson sets Breaking Bad in the context of both crime literature and long-form television. Illustrated with more than 300 images and insightful captions by Thomson, this must-have volume offers the most thorough look at Breaking Bad, which Thompson believes is not only a great TV show (winning 108 industry awards and nominated for 260) but one of the most significant works of fiction in the new century.

Why Acting Matters

Why Acting Matters

Author: David Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/02/2015

A provocative, highly engaging essay on the art of pretending on the stage, on screen, and in daily life Does acting matter? David Thomson, one of our most respected and insightful writers on movies and theater, answers this question with intelligence and wit. In this fresh and thought-provoking essay, Thomson tackles this most elusive of subjects, examining the allure of the performing arts for both the artist and the audience member while addressing the paradoxes inherent in acting itself. He reflects on the casting process, on stage versus film acting, and on the cult of celebrity. The art and considerable craft of such gifted artists as Meryl Streep, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, and others are scrupulously appraised here, as are notions of good and bad acting. Thomson's exploration is at once a meditation on and a celebration of a unique and much beloved, often misunderstood, and occasionally derided art form. He argues that acting not only matters but is essential and inescapable, as well as dangerous, chronic, transformative, and exhilarating, be it on the theatrical stage, on the movie screen, or as part of our everyday lives.

New Biographical Dictionary Of Film 6th Edition

New Biographical Dictionary Of Film 6th Edition

Author: David Thomson Format: eBook Release Date: 13/11/2014

With more than one hundred new entries, from Amy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cary Joji Fukunaga to Joaquin Phoenix, Mia Wasikowska and Robin Wright, and completely updated, here from David Thomson - 'The greatest living writer on the movies' (John Banville, New Statesman); 'Our most argumentative and trustworthy historian of the screen' (Michael Ondaatje) - is the latest edition of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which topped Sight & Sound's poll of international critics and writers as THE BEST FILM BOOK EVER WRITTEN.

Moments that Made the Movies

Moments that Made the Movies

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/09/2014

In the first fully illustrated work of his illustrious career, David Thomson re-examines a series of moments - which readers will experience in beautifully reproduced imagery - from seventy-two carefully selected films across a hundred-year time span. His moments range from a set of Eadward Muybridge's pioneering photographs to sequences in films from the classic - Citizen Kane , Sunset Boulevard and The Red Shoes - to the unexpected - The Piano Teacher , Burn After Reading - immersing the reader via a groundbreaking marriage of imagery and the author's accompanying narrative. David Thomson's evocative, unflinching prose and profound understanding of what makes film and art form identify him as one of the great film writers of our time, making it likely that Moments that Made the Movies will be widely viewed as an important classic on the subject of international cinema.

The Big Screen The Story of the Movies and What They Did to Us

The Big Screen The Story of the Movies and What They Did to Us

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/10/2013

In this triumphant work David Thomson, one of film's greatest living experts and author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, tells the enthralling story of the movies and how they have shaped us. Sunday Times, New Statesman, The Times, Guardian, Observer and Independent BOOKS OF THE YEAR Taking us around the globe, through time and across multiple media, Thomson tracks the ways in which we were initially enchanted by this mesmerizing imitation of life and let movies - the stories, the stars, the look - show us how to live. But at the same time he shows us how movies, offering a seductive escape from the everyday reality and its responsibilities, have made it possible for us to evade life altogether. The entranced audience has become a model for powerless citizens trying to pursue happiness by sitting quietly in a dark room. Does the big screen take us out into the world, or merely mesmerize us? That is Thomson's question in this great adventure of a book. A passionate feat of storytelling that is vital to anyone trying to make sense of the age of screens - the age that, more than ever, we are living in.

The Moment of Psycho How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder

The Moment of Psycho How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/11/2010

It was made like a television movie, and completed in less than three months. It killed off its star in forty minutes. There was no happy ending. And it offered the most violent scene to date in American film, punctuated by shrieking strings that seared the national consciousness. Nothing like Psycho had existed before the movie industry- even America itself- would never be the same. In The Moment of Psycho , film critic David Thomson situates Psycho in Alfred Hitchcock's career, recreating the mood and time when the seminal film erupted onto film screens worldwide. Thomson shows that Psycho was not just a sensation in film: it altered the very nature of our desires. Sex, violence, and horror took on new life. Psycho , all of a sudden, represented all America wanted from a film- and, as Thomson brilliantly demonstrates, still does.

'Have You Seen...?' a Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films including masterpieces, oddities and guilty pleasures (with just a few disasters)

'Have You Seen...?' a Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films including masterpieces, oddities and guilty pleasures (with just a few disasters)

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/03/2010

David Thomson's 'Have You Seen?' - A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films is a quirky, idiosyncratic and hugely entertaining look at a century of cinema. This is veteran film writer David Thomson's personal, irreverent, hilarious and utterly original take on the 1,000 films he has most loved - and hated - from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein to Zabriskie Point, from esteemed classics to forgotten curiosities, guilty pleasures to noir treats, horror gems to kitsch disasters. The result is probably the most enjoyable film book you will ever read (and you'll never think about The Sound of Music in the same way again). 'Delightful ... it's like having the most film-literate pal you can imagine sitting beside you in a multiplex' Independent 'A joy ... he's incapable of writing a boring sentence' Evening Standard Books of the Year 'This book sets the bar. There isn't a more intelligent, insightful and provocative guide to individual movies in the world' Financial Times 'Every reader's simple instinct will be to plunge into the heart of it' Sunday Times 'A dazzlingly authoritative treat ... crammed with insight and epigram' Observer 'Eccentric, brilliant, scholarly, perverse, witty, egocentric and infuriating, sometimes all at once' Philip French 'He enrages, exasperates, but never leaves one indifferent' The Times Books of the Year David Thomson is, among many other things, author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its fourth edition. His recent books include a biography of Nicole Kidman, Fan Tan (a novel written in collaboration with Marlon Brando) and The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood.

Moment of Psycho

Moment of Psycho

Author: David Thomson Format: eBook Release Date: 24/11/2009

It was made like a television movie, and completed in less than three months. It killed off its star in forty minutes. There was no happy ending. And it offered the most violent scene to date in American film, punctuated by shrieking strings that seared the national consciousness. Nothing like Psycho had existed before; the movie industryeven America itselfwould never be the same.In The Moment of Psycho, film critic David Thomson situates Psycho in Alfred Hitchcock's career, recreating the mood and time when the seminal film erupted onto film screens worldwide. Thomson shows that Psycho was not just a sensation in film: it altered the very nature of our desires. Sex, violence, and horror took on new life. Psycho, all of a sudden, represented all America wanted from a filmand, as Thomson brilliantly demonstrates, still does.

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2007

Nicole Kidman, Oscar winner, is more than a movie star. She is the leading female celebrity icon of our age, her face and body appear in the media the world over, and she often commands a salary of over 10 million dollars a picture. However, there is something mysterious and not quite settled about her, which is why David Thomson, one of the world's greatest film critics, knew he had to write about her. Whilst there may (just) be more attractive women on the screen, none has such a talent for transforming herself. This is a biography of a curly-red-haired girl from Australia who has become a world-famous actress. It is a searching treatment of the acting and business career, and a tribute by an admirer to a woman who has it in her to move millions of strangers.

Personality In Politics

Personality In Politics

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/03/2007

Suspects

Suspects

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/03/2007

Democracy In France The Third And Fourth Republics

Democracy In France The Third And Fourth Republics

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/11/2006

The Whole Equation A History of Hollywood

The Whole Equation A History of Hollywood

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2006

A book that sees Hollywood as an idea, a trick, a religion even that swept the world, a book that knows what the bosses did, and why and how, but which also feels the impact on the mass audiences in the dark auditoriums. There isn't a book that explains - even at a basic level - how the business, the money, of pictures operates. THE WHOLE EQUATION takes the history and describes the grand panorama so that the reader knows how he or she fitted in, along with Bogart, the Marx Brothers and Daryl Zanuck. The business is the neglected aspect of the story, neglected because its truths threaten the alleged magic, the romance of the movies. Yet, the money is the true sexual secret of Hollywood, and David Thomson leaves the reader quite clear, that amid all the hype and pretension, we should always 'follow the money'.

The Alien Quartet

The Alien Quartet

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/10/2000

This pocket book details many different aspects of the Alien films - the different directors, the making of the films, the themes, the actors, the tensions on the set, indeed everything anyone could possibly want to know about them.

Rosebud: The Story Of Orson Welles

Rosebud: The Story Of Orson Welles

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/1997

Rosebud is a riveting and powerful portrait of the rise and fall of one of Hollywood's greatest innovators - the man who brought us Citizen Kane and then lost himself to obesity, small talk and conjuring tricks on daytime television. With humour, pace and the twists of a mystery story, acclaimed film critic and writer David Thomson probes the essential questions surrounding Welles, exploring the ferocious energy and demonic intellect behind the boy genius. Challenging, idiosyncratic, compelling: Rosebud understands Welles as no other study has, and in a way that leaves the reader breathless, amused and deeply moved by the wonder that was once Orson.

The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/1997

Thi stext shows how The Big Sleep signalled a change in the nature of Hollywood cinema, as the director Howard Hawks shot extra scenes, fun scenes, to replace the ones in which the murders are explained, and in so doing left the plot unresolved.

Woodbrook

Woodbrook

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/11/1993

Woodbrook is a rare house that gives its name to a small, rural area in Ireland, not far from the old port of Sligo. It has been owned since the seventeenth century by the Anglo-Irish Kirkwoods. In 1932, David Thomson, aged eighteen, went there are a tutor. He stayed for ten years. This memoir, acknowledged as a masterpiece, grew out of two great loves - for Woodbrook and for Phoebe, his pupil. In it he builds up a delicate, lyrical picture of a gentle pre-war society, of Irish history and troubled Anglo-Irish relations, and of a delightful family. Above all, his story reverberates with the enchantment of falling in love and with the desolation of bereavement.

Showman Life of David O. Selznick

Showman Life of David O. Selznick

Author: David Thomson Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/02/1993

The authorized biography of this Hollywood producer, who made REBECCA and GONE WITH THE WIND, looking at his career from his swift rise to prominence to the collapse of his empire.

Europe Since Napoleon

Europe Since Napoleon

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/11/1990

A history of Europe since Napoleon, covering all of the main topics of that period.

Nairn In Darkness And Light

Nairn In Darkness And Light

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/1988

Set in the 1920s, this marvellously sensitive autobiography recreates the varied community of Nairn, with its fishermen and townsfolk, its crofters and its prosperous upper-middle-classes. Nairn has witnessed many of the triumphs and tragedies of Scottish history, and these are recalled with intuitive understanding. But it is also the scene of David Thomson's formative years when he suffered an eye injury which nearly blinded him and shaped his whole future. Winner of the McVitie's Prize and the first NCR Book Award For Non-Fiction

France: Empire and Republic, 1850-1940 Historical Documents

France: Empire and Republic, 1850-1940 Historical Documents

Author: David Thomson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/1968

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