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Christopher Sandford - Author

About the Author

Books by Christopher Sandford

The Final Innings

The Final Innings

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/08/2020

THE declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 brought an end to the second (and as yet, final) Golden Age of English cricket. Over 200 first-class English players signed up to fight in that first year; 52 never came back. In many ways, the summer of 1939 was the end of innocence. Using unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, Christopher Sandford recreates that last summer, looking at men like George Macaulay, who took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket but was struck down while serving with the RAF in 1940; Maurice Turnbull, the England all-rounder who fell during the Normandy landings; and Hedley Verity, who still holds cricketing records, but who died in the invasion of Sicily. Few English cricket teams began their first post-war season without holding memorial ceremonies for the men they had lost: The Final Innings pays homage not only to these men, but to the lost innocence, heroism and human endurance of the age.

Keeper of Style

Keeper of Style

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/09/2019

The life and times of Middlesex and England wicketkeeper-batsman John 'JT' Murray, one of the acknowledged greats of English post-war cricket. Irresistibly cool, glamorous and apparently unapproachable, Murray was Christopher Sandford's consuming hero at the time the author was confined in an English seaside boarding school in the 60s. Twenty or more years later, the two became friends. In 2017 Murray eventually succumbed to a decade-long campaign and agreed to share in full his lifetime's reminiscences, recounting his experiences of a quarter of a century as a professional English sportsman. Murray proved unfailingly generous and humorous (if by no means uncritical) in his accounts of the great Tests, the tours and the parade of celebrities, sporting and otherwise, he encountered. This treasure trove of stories - described not just in the dry accountancy of scores and averages, but in droll anecdotal detail - lies at the heart of a unique cricket book illustrated by photographs, letters and notes from Murray's own collection.

The Final Innings

The Final Innings

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/07/2019

THE declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 brought an end to the second (and as yet, final) Golden Age of English cricket. Over 200 first-class English players signed up to fight in that first year; 52 never came back. In many ways, the summer of 1939 was the end of innocence. Using unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, Christopher Sandford recreates that last summer, looking at men like George Macaulay, who took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket but was struck down while serving with the RAF in 1940; Maurice Turnbull, the England all-rounder who fell during the Normandy landings; and Hedley Verity, who still holds cricketing records, but who died in the invasion of Sicily. Few English cricket teams began their first post-war season without holding memorial ceremonies for the men they had lost: The Final Innings pays homage not only to these men, but to the lost innocence, heroism and human endurance of the age.

Zeebrugge

Zeebrugge

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/03/2018

The combined forces invasion of the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on 23 April 1918 remains one of Britain's most glorious military undertakings; not quite as epic a failure as the charge of the Light Brigade, or as well publicised as the Dam Busters raid, but with many of the same basic ingredients. A force drawn from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines set out on ships and submarines to try to block the key strategic port, in a bold attempt to stem the catastrophic losses being inflicted on British shipping by German submarines. It meant attacking a heavily fortified German naval base. The tide, calm weather and the right wind direction for a smoke screen were crucial to the plan. Judged purely on results, it can only be considered a partial strategic success. Casualties were high and the base only partially blocked. Nonetheless, it came to represent the embodiment of the bulldog spirit, the peculiarly British fighting elan, the belief that anything was possible with enough dash and daring. The essential story of the Zeebrugge mission has been told before, but never through the direct, first-hand accounts of its survivors - including that of Lieutenant Richard Sandford, VC, the acknowledged hero of the day, and the author's great uncle. The fire and bloodshed of the occasion is the book's centrepiece, but there is also room for the family and private lives of the men who volunteered in their hundreds for what they knew effectively to be a suicide mission. Zeebrugge gives a very real sense of the existence of the ordinary British men and women of 100 years ago - made extraordinary by their role in what Winston Churchill called the 'most intrepid and heroic single armed adventure of the Great War.'

Union Jack

Union Jack

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/02/2018

John F. Kennedy carried on a lifelong love affair with England and the English. From his speaking style to his tastes in art, architecture, theatre, music and clothes, his personality reflected his deep affinity for a certain kind of idealised Englishness. Setting his work against a backdrop of some of the twentieth century's most profound events - the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War and its arms race - noted biographer Christopher Sandford tracks Kennedy's exploits in Great Britain between 1935 and 1963, and looks in depth at the unique way Britain shaped JFK throughout his adult life and how he in turn charmed British society.

The Man who Would be Sherlock

The Man who Would be Sherlock

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/07/2017

When Arthur Conan Doyle was a lonely 7-year-old schoolboy at pre-prep Newington Academy in Edinburgh, a French emigre named Eugene Chantrelle was engaged there to teach Modern Languages. A few years later, Chantrelle would be hanged for the particularly grisly murder of his wife, marking the beginning of Conan Doyle's own association with some of the bloodiest crimes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This early link between actual crime and the greatest detective story writer of all time is one of many. Conan Doyle would also go on to play a leading role in the notorious case of the young Anglo-Indian lawyer George Edalji, convicted and imprisoned as the `mad ripper' who supposedly prowled the fields around his Staffordshire home by night looking for animals to mutilate; and the equally chilling story of Oscar Slater and his alleged murder of an elderly spinster as she sat in her Glasgow home one winter's night in 1908, a crime with a spectacular denouement 18 years later. Using freshly available evidence and eyewitness testimony, Christopher Sandford follows these links and draws out the connections between Conan Doyle's literary output and factual criminality, a pattern that will enthral and surprise the legions of Sherlock Holmes fans. In a sense, Conan Doyle wanted to be Sherlock - to be a man who could bring order and justice to a terrible world.

Harold and Jack

Harold and Jack

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/08/2014

This is the story of the many-layered relationship between two iconic leaders of the mid-twentieth century--British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and American President John F. Kennedy. Based on previously unquoted papers and private letters between both the leaders themselves and their families, more than half of which are available for the first time, critically acclaimed biographer Christopher Sandford reveals a host of new insights into the ways these two very different men managed to bring order out of chaos in an age of precarious nuclear balance. Sandford traces the emotional undercurrents that linked Macmillan and JFK--and sometimes estranged them. The author's personalized narrative delves into the maneuverings behind the scenes of major political events: dealing with the disastrous Bay of Pigs episode in Cuba, responding to the provocative Soviet act of building the Berlin Wall, the tense back-and-forth consultations during the Cuban missile crisis, and the serious disagreement between the two allies over the Skybolt nuclear deterrent, which almost caused a major rift in US-British relations. Also presented are vivid portraits of the two first ladies and many extracts from personal papers that reveal the human factor rarely glimpsed by the public. With a wealth of new information in an engaging narrative, this book offers a vividly told historical account of two key figures of twentieth-century history, whose legacy helped shape our world today.

The Final Over

The Final Over

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2014

Shortlisted for the 2015 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award. Shortlisted for the Cross British Sports Book of the Year 2015 (Cricket category). August 1914 brought an end to the `Golden Age' of English cricket. At least 210 professional cricketers (out of a total of 278 registered) signed up to fight, of whom 34 were killed. Cricket stands as both a statistical and very human representation of the price paid in British blood as a whole. The sunbaked atmosphere of English society's last carefree weeks is graced by some of the Corinthian greats of their day, like Lord Lionel Tennyson and the polymath C.B. Fry, brought alive through the words of their own letters and diaries, both on the sports fields of England and in the bloody trenches of France. This is the very personal story of how some of the greatest characters ever known in English sport performed some of their greatest feats against the ticking clock of events in Europe, and the moving, sometimes tragic, story of how they met the `great adventure'.

The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years

The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2013

In 1962 Mick Jagger was a bright, well-scrubbed boy (planning a career in the civil service), while Keith Richards was learning how to smoke and to swivel a six-shooter. Add the mercurial Brian Jones (who'd been effectively run out of Cheltenham for theft, multiple impregnations and playing blues guitar) and the wryly opinionated Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, and the potential was obvious. During the 1960s and 70s the Rolling Stones were the polarising figures in Britain, admired in some quarters for their flamboyance, creativity and salacious lifestyles, and reviled elsewhere for the same reasons. Confidently expected never to reach 30 they are now approaching their seventies and, in 2012, will have been together for 50 years. In The Rolling Stones, Christopher Sandford tells thehuman drama at the centre of the Rolling Stones story. Sandford has carried out interviews with those close to the Stones, family members (including Mick's parents), the group's fans and contemporaries - even examined their previously unreleased FBI files. Like no other book before The Rolling Stoneswill make sense of the rich brew of clever invention and opportunism, of talent, good fortune, insecurity, self-destructiveness, and of drugs, sex and other excess, that made the Stones who they are.

Houdini & Conan Doyle

Houdini & Conan Doyle

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/10/2011

In the early 20th century, in the English-speaking world, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were two of the most feted and famous men alive. And their relationship is extraordinary: As strange as it may seem Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the ultra-rational detective Sherlock Holmes, was a believer in Spiritualism. He came to his belief, that one could communicate with the dead, after his son was killed in World War I, and became an expert in the field. Harry Houdini, the world's foremost magician, was a friend of Conan Doyle's, but was sceptical of his belief in the supernatural. Houdini took every opportunity to use his knowledge of illusion to expose psychics who he thought were fakes, particularly incensed by their exploitation of grief and insecurity. Based on original research, this sensational dual biography of two popular geniuses conjures up the early 20th century and the fame, personality and competing beliefs.

Houdini & Conan Doyle

Houdini & Conan Doyle

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/10/2011

In the early 20th century, in the English-speaking world, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were two of the most feted and famous men alive. And their relationship is extraordinary: As strange as it may seem Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the ultra-rational detective Sherlock Holmes, was a believer in Spiritualism. He came to his belief, that one could communicate with the dead, after his son was killed in World War I, and became an expert in the field. Harry Houdini, the world's foremost magician, was a friend of Conan Doyle's, but was sceptical of his belief in the supernatural. Houdini took every opportunity to use his knowledge of illusion to expose psychics who he thought were fakes, particularly incensed by their exploitation of grief and insecurity. Based on original research, this sensational dual biography of two popular geniuses conjures up the early 20th century and the fame, personality and competing beliefs.

Houdini & Conan Doyle

Houdini & Conan Doyle

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2011

In the early 20th century, in the English-speaking world, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were two of the most feted and famous men alive. And their relationship is extraordinary: As strange as it may seem Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the ultra-rational detective Sherlock Holmes, was a believer in Spiritualism. He came to his belief, that one could communicate with the dead, after his son was killed in World War I, and became an expert in the field. Harry Houdini, the world's foremost magician, was a friend of Conan Doyle's, but was sceptical of his belief in the supernatural. Houdini took every opportunity to use his knowledge of illusion to expose psychics who he thought were fakes, particularly incensed by their exploitation of grief and insecurity. Based on original research, this sensational dual biography of two popular geniuses conjures up the early 20th century and the fame, personality and competing beliefs.

Imran Khan

Imran Khan

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/10/2009

The definitive biography of Imran Khan, the former Pakistan cricket captain and all-rounder - the Oxbridge graduate and vociferous campaigner; the devout Muslim whose kaleidoscopic social life flooded the gossip columns; the man who raised $60 million for cancer research and who is now one of the most important political figures in Pakistan. On one thing, Imran Khan's friends and enemies agree: it all began with the leopard print satin trousers. In November 1974, the Cricketer International published an article about the new elite group of young talented players, 'into concepts like fashion and pop music', and bent on challenging cricket's eternal stereotypes. Of the five featured stars on the cover, a superbly hirsute 21-year-old wearing a tight black shirt and gaudy trousers, with a facial expression of supreme self-confidence, stood out. Imran Khan has always been a controversial figure, a man who gives rise to hot debate on account of his strong conviction and hard line views. From his achievements on the cricket field as the Pakistan captain who captured the World Cup and the game's best all-rounder in history, through to his racy social life - the practising Muslim boogieing on the dancefloor of Annabel's, 'an astonishing lovemaker', according to one overnight partner, praised by Diana Princess of Wales, close friend to his then wife Jemima Goldsmith, as a 'devoted husband' - the Imran story is full of colour and contradictions. Acclaimed biographer Christopher Sandford has approached a richly varied cast list of Imran associates past and present - from Geoff Boycott, Javed Miandad, Mike Brearley, David Gower and John Major through to Nelson Mandela and close acquaintances male and female such as Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, John Major, Keith Richards, sources close to the late Princess of Wales and Pakistan's General Musharraf. Imran Khan himself has agreed to be interviewed for the book and given Sandford exclusive access to his inner sanctum.

McQueen

McQueen

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/02/2003

The biography of the original Mr. Cool, Steve McQueen. The actor who perhaps, first epitomised the Action Hero; a complex man, prone to casual affairs and violence, yet capable of helping those more unfortunate than him.

McQueen

McQueen

Author: Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/10/2002

A full and frank portrait of the complex man behind the icon of cool. Steve McQueen, one of the first 'cool' film stars, remains a cultural icon the world over. His image is used to sell everything from cars, to beer, to a range of dolls. From the Cincinnati Kid to Frank Bullitt, Tom Crown to Papillon, his roles exemplified a certain school of male charm, as well as grit and a hint of menace. McQueen was born in 1930 into a poor Mid-western family to a highly strung mother and truant father. In and out of reform school from a young age, he was eventually made a ward of court and the resulting sense of abandonment never left him. His big break came with the TV Saga Wanted: Dead or Alive and the now cult-classic B-movie The Blob. Just two years later he was one of the leading lights of tinseltown. Sandford goes on to chart McQueen's phenomenal Hollywood career, starring in some of the world's best-loved films, in tandem with his turbulent private life: his marriages, his bisexuality, the drink, the fast cars, casual sex and violence. As a close friend has remarked: 'You couldn't peg him. He wanted to be memorable as an actor - but in his private life you got the impression he was trying to speed up, to get into the next hour without quite living out the last one.' As Sandford reveals, McQueen's public demeanour of studied nonchalance hid chronic self-destrutive urges which emerged in his favourite hobbies, including bare-knuckle boxing and porsche-racing, as well as several suicide attempts. His 'lost' years at the very height of his fame are illuminated with disclosures of rampant addiction, bizarre health cures, fringe religion and androgyny. McQueen died in 1980 at a 'wellness' clinic in New Mexico, having been earlier diagnosed with lung cancer . His last words were 'Lo hice' - Spanish for 'I did it'. Sandford has spoken to a wide range of McQueen's contemporaries - Hollywood stars, friends and family - and discovered the man behind the myth, the abandoned little boy underneath the movie-god swagger.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Author: Christopher Sandford, Christopher Sandford Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/12/2001

In this compelling biography, Christopher Sandford explores the full, inside story of Kurt Cobain. From the disruptive childhood which had such a crucial impact on Cobain's personality to the ambitious career musician who, as a friend said, lunged for success , and the worldwide breakthrough of Nirvana's Nevermind, Sandford also writes about Cobain's stormy marriage to Courtney Love, his heroin addiction, and how he became more and more of a recluse. Finally, he writes of the crisis when, in April 1994, Cobain turned a shotgun on himself and became a martyr for disaffected youth. The result is a saga of success and corruption which John Peel has called the ultimate rock and roll morality story .