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In their own words or from the pen of a biographer, the lives of others hold a magnetic intrigue. Indulge your curiosity here… Read and find out more about the lives of well-known figures. Want more inspiration? Head to our 'Best Autobiographies Ever' blog post filled with recommendations from our bookish friends.
John Simpson, the BBC's World correspondent now famous for wearing a burka to be the first correspondent into Kabul and ahead of all the military, continues his memoirs looking at his childhood in the 40s and 50s ... somewhat strange but fascinating
An outstanding collection of revelation, reflection and memory from eleven international bestselling authors
Whether you know anything about Russian history or not (as in my case) you'll find Gannibal's narrative gripping and compelling and it's elegantly written too. Few stories can match that of Adam Petrovich Gannibal, adopted son of Peter the Great, ancestor of Pushkin and of a bevy of British aristocrats including the Mountbattens, for swashbuckling adventure. Until now little was known about his real life, which turns out to have been even more fascinating and bizarre than the legend of this 'Russian Othello'. In a thrilling hybrid of travelogue and historical detective story, Hugh Barnes investigates Gannibal’s half-forgotten African background (was he an Ethiopian prince or even a slave?), before unearthing lost documents and new clues that help to reconstruct the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man.
Winner of the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Non-Fiction. Internationally acclaimed Israeli author of some eighteen books gives us the story of his childhood, the birth of a nation, the portrait of a family and one of the most touching memoirs you’ll read for a long time. From the war-torn streets of Jerusalem in the 1940s and 1950s, he dives back into 120 years of family history from Russia, Lithuania and the Ukraine. It’s got to be read.
The author was a ballerina and it shows in the love of her subject and her art. She has also written a couple of novels and that style shines through too. A lovely book.
The authorised biography, 640 pages, meticulously researched. With access to private papers and by talking to countless people, Coldstream has written the definitive work which is also wonderfully readable. Bogardeâ€™s own account of his childhood, unavailable for some years, A Postillion Struck by Lightening (Phoenix) is republished at the same time.
The life story of American outlaw, Oliver Curtis Perry, an East Coast â€œBilly the Kidâ€ who enjoyed similar headline status in his time but not the same romantic reputation through to today. This is the story of his colourful life both in crime and in jail.
The popular broadcaster’s tale of a happy loving childhood, with the knowledge that he was adopted not concerning him at all. Then, as an adult, he goes in search of his natural mother and dark secrets unfold. This is powerful, emotional, startling and highly readable; a lovely book.
Some years ago this spunky author took over an olive farm in Italy and wrote about it beautifully in Extra Virgin and Ripe for the Picking; you must read them. Well now she has fallen in love with a Southern Italian and is off to meet the family. She’s a delight – so observant, sympathetic and warm.
The story of the man, the journalist, foreign correspondent and broadcaster and although his private life is revealed, it is his work that obviously dominates this 464 page book. He reported from 53 countries, won numerous awards and shines through these pages as a very decent person living an extraordinary life.
As a journalist and broadcaster in China, Xinran encouraged women to come forward and tell their tales. The result was astonishing and The Good Women of China, the seminal book, developed from the material. This extraordinary story expands one of those tales. It tells of a wife’s search for her husband in Tibet, a love story, a history, a clash of cultures. Quite devastating.
The tale of a farmer’s bride, wife and then deserted wife – divorcee. Funny, sad and for the non-farming community, highly informative. Readers of her Times column will know what to expect and love it, newcomers will be completely captivated. It’s great.
There are people who just read biographies, interested only in the details of the lives of real people. There are others, like us, who enjoy dipping a toe, every now and then, into the deep inviting waters of the biography pool, to see first-hand the experiences of a person, past or present, who captures our imagination or pique’s our interest. From the First Man on the Moon to the latest winner of a jungle-based reality TV programme; sport-star to leading politician; religious leader to Arctic explorer, the choice is vast!
Want more inspiration? Head to our 'Best Autobiographies Ever' blog post filled with recommendations from our bookish friends.