Becoming Mr Nice

by Amber Marks

Biographies & Autobiographies Non-Fiction Books of the Month

LoveReading Expert Review of Becoming Mr Nice

Featuring a staggering depth of visual archival material curated by his daughter, this makes the perfect companion to the one and only Howard Marks’ Mr Nice autobiography.

Meticulously and compellingly curated by his daughter, Amber Marks, Becoming Mr Nice presents a personal, kaleidoscopic visual compendium of Howard Marks’ life, from the Welsh Valleys, to the spires of Oxford, to life on the run, to court transcripts of his Old Bailey trial, and beyond.

Through the likes of gig tickets, Oxford University paraphernalia, family photos, official documents, private letters, handwritten notes and Marks’ previously unpublished account of his fugitive years, this offers fresh, fascinating insights into the life of a truly fascinating - and funny - character. For example, Howard’s description of applying for the newly created position of UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator in the Cabinet Office (Drugs Czar, in his words) is characteristically comic: "Realising that by legalising all drugs, I could fulfil the brief easily and quickly, I wrote to the Cabinet Office". Though his application (and qualifications for the post) were mightily impressive, he wasn’t shortlisted for interview, but the whole exchange is hilarious, and superbly presented. Related, Amber Marks’ background as a researcher and barrister is very much in evidence throughout - the book has been put together perfectly, and she and her father worked on preserving many of the artefacts featured in the book together during the final years of his life. 

Joanne Owen

Becoming Mr Nice Synopsis

Welcome to the personal archives of Britain's biggest dope smuggler.

For 40 years Howard Marks traversed the globe: an international businessman who became an inmate in America's toughest penitentiary before standing for election in the United Kingdom.

Becoming Mr Nice reveals an extraordinary montage of previously unseen material from his roller-coaster life, interwoven with his daughter's incisively researched and deadpan commentary. It includes surveillance footage, intelligence reports, phone transcripts, the business cards and letterheads used as trading fronts, driving licences and passport applications in multiple identities, and cryptic faxes from the Far East. But more than that, it offers a vista onto his many and varied experiences and escapades, through notebooks, personal items and correspondence with the bizarre, wonderful, comic or downright suspicious characters who surrounded him.

It includes extracts from a lavishly detailed and hitherto unpublished account of Howard's years on the run (written in confidence for the benefit of his otherwise baffled defence team) together with transcripts from his trial at the Old Bailey, in which he successfully claimed that his involvement in the biggest ever importation of cannabis into the United Kingdom was on behalf of the secret services.

Peppered with comic observations from Howard's private letters, this book provides a uniquely personal insight into one of Britain's most remarkable characters. Becoming Mr Nice is the essential companion volume to Marks' million-copy-selling autobiography Mr Nice and a comprehensive, illustrated introduction to Howard Marks for a new generation.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780857303936
Publication date: 26th August 2021
Author: Amber Marks
Publisher: No Exit Press an imprint of Oldcastle Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 192 pages
Primary Genre Biographies & Autobiographies
Other Genres:

What To Read After Becoming Mr Nice

The Familia Grande
Windswept & Interesting
Diddly Squat

Amber Marks Press Reviews

Praise for Howard Marks

'An urban legend, a dedicated human rights campaigner, a smuggling overlord, a counterculture champion, a respected academic, an outstanding author, a DJ, a hilarious comedian, a skilful raconteur, and a loving father. A man who never compromised his values even in the face of overwhelming adversity' - Simon Doherty, Huff Post

'Howard was a hero of the counterculture-a piratical raconteur with a voice like Richard Burton and the features of a rock star' - Tim Burgess, Newsweek

'The Marco Polo of the drug traffic' - Thomas V. Cash, special agent in charge of the Miami division of the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

'True modern-day folk hero' - James Brown

'Britain's best-known and most charming drug smuggler' - Guardian

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780857303936
Publication date: 26/08/2021
Format: Hardback

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