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Biographies and Autobiographies

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.

This Month's Featured Biography / Autobiography Books

Other Biography / Autobiography Books

Zero Six Bravo 60 Special Forces. 100,000 Enemy. The Explosive True Story

Zero Six Bravo 60 Special Forces. 100,000 Enemy. The Explosive True Story

Author: Damien Lewis Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/03/2014

Sunday Times No.1 bestseller. They were branded as cowards and accused of being the British Special Forces Squadron that ran away from the Iraqis. But nothing could be further from the truth. Ten years on, the story of these sixty men can finally be told. In March 2003 M Squadron - an SBS unit with SAS embeds - was sent 1,000 kilometres behind enemy lines on a true mission impossible, to take the surrender of the 100,000-strong Iraqi Army 5th Corps. From the very start their tasking earned the nickname 'Operation No Return'. Caught in a ferocious ambush by thousands of die-hard fanatics from Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen, plus the awesome firepower of the 5th Corps' heavy armour, and with eight of their vehicles bogged in Iraqi swamps, M Squadron launched a desperate bid to escape, inflicting massive damage on their enemies. Running low on fuel and ammunition, outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and outgunned, the elite operators destroyed sensitive kit and prepared for death or capture as the Iraqis closed their deadly trap. Zero Six Bravo recounts in vivid and compelling detail the most desperate battle fought by British and allied Special Forces trapped behind enemy lines since World War Two. It is a classic account of elite soldiering that ranks with Bravo Two Zero and the very greatest Special Forces missions of our time.

Zero Night The Untold Story of the Second World War's Most Daring Great Escape

Zero Night The Untold Story of the Second World War's Most Daring Great Escape

Author: Mark Felton Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/10/2014

Oflag VI-B, Warburg, Germany: On the night of 30 August 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 officers from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa staged the most audacious mass escape of the Second World War. It was the first 'Great Escape' - but instead of tunnelling, the escapers boldly went over the huge perimeter fences using wooden scaling contraptions. This was the notorious 'Warburg Wire Job', described by fellow prisoner and fighter ace Douglas Bader as 'the most brilliant escape conception of this war'. Months of meticulous planning and secret training hung in the balance during three minutes of mayhem as prisoners charged the camp's double perimeter fences. Telling this remarkable story in full for the first time, historian Mark Felton brilliantly evokes the suspense of the escape itself and the adventures of those who eluded the Germans, as well as the courage of the civilians who risked their lives to help them in enemy territory. Fantastically intimate and told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this is a rip-roaring adventure story, all the more thrilling for being true.

ebook of the month
Zeppelin Nights London in the First World War

Zeppelin Nights London in the First World War

Author: Jerry White Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2014

11pm, Tuesday 4 August 1914: with the declaration of war London becomes one of the greatest killing machines in human history. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers pass through the capital on their way to the front; wounded men are brought back to be treated in London's hospitals; and millions of shells are produced in its factories. The war changes London life for ever. Women escape the drudgery of domestic service to work as munitionettes. Full employment puts money into the pockets of the London poor for the first time. Self-appointed moral guardians seize the chance to clamp down on drink, frivolous entertainment and licentious behaviour. As the war drags on, gloom often descends on the capital. And at night London is plunged into darkness for fear of German bombers and Zeppelins that continue to raid the city. Yet despite daily casualty lists, food shortages and enemy bombing, Londoners are determined to get on with their lives and flock to cinemas and theatres, dance halls and shebeens, firmly resolved not to let Germans or puritans spoil their enjoyment. Peopled with patriots and pacifists, clergymen and thieves, bluestockings and prostitutes, Jerry White's magnificent panorama reveals a struggling yet flourishing city.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Author: Therese Anne Fowler Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/09/2013

'If ever a couple ...became an era, it was F Scott Fitzgerald and his glamorous flapper wife, Zelda. They were the Jazz Age.' - The Independent 'I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined...Look closer, and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.' When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen and he is a young army lieutenant. Before long, Zelda has fallen for him, even though Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. When he sells his first novel, she optimistically boards a train to New York, to marry him and take the rest as it comes. What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French riviera - where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein. Everything seems new and possible, but not even Jay Gatsby's parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous - sometimes infamous - husband? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.

ebook of the month
Young Winstone

Young Winstone

Author: Ray Winstone, Chris Heath Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/10/2014

Ray Winstone's amazing talent for bringing out the humanity buried inside his often brutal screen characters - violent offender in Scum, wife-beater in Nil by Mouth, retired blagger in Sexy Beast - has made him one of the most charismatic actors of his generation. But how do these uncompromising and often haunting performances square with his off-duty reputation as the ultimate salt-of-the-earth diamond geezer? The answer lies in the East End of his youth. Revisiting the bomb-sites and boozers of his childhood and adolescence, Ray Winstone takes the reader on an unforgettable tour of a cockney heartland which is at once irresistibly mythic and undeniably real. Told with its author's trademark blend of brutal directness and roguish wit, Young Winstone offers a fascinating social history of East London, as well as a school of hard knocks coming-of-age story with a powerful emotional punch.

ebook of the month
Young Winstone

Young Winstone

Author: Ray Winstone Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/06/2015

Ray Winstone's amazing talent for bringing out the humanity buried inside his often brutal screen characters - violent offender in Scum, wife-beater in Nil by Mouth, retired blagger in Sexy Beast - has made him one of the most charismatic actors of his generation. But how do these uncompromising and often haunting performances square with his off-duty reputation as the ultimate salt-of-the-earth diamond geezer? The answer lies in the East End of his youth. Revisiting the bomb-sites and boozers of his childhood and adolescence, Ray Winstone takes the reader on an unforgettable tour of a cockney heartland which is at once irresistibly mythic and undeniably real. Told with its author's trademark blend of brutal directness and roguish wit, Young Winstone offers a fascinating insight into the social history of East London, as well as a school of hard knocks coming-of-age story with a powerful emotional punch.

ebook of the month
Young Lawrence A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man

Young Lawrence A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man

Author: Anthony Sattin Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/07/2015

T. E. Lawrence was one of the most charismatic characters of the First World War; a young archaeologist who fought with the Arabs and wrote an epic and very personal account of their revolt against the Turks in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Yet this was not the first book to carry that iconic title. In 1914 the man who would become Lawrence of Arabia burnt the first Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a manuscript in which he described his adventures in the Middle East during the five years before the war. Anthony Sattin uncovers the story Lawrence wanted to conceal: the truth of his birth, his tortuous relationship with a dominant mother, his deep affection for an Arab boy, the intimate details of the extraordinary journeys he took through the region with which his name is forever connected and the personal reasons that drove him from being a student to becoming an archaeologist and a spy. Young Lawrence is the first book to focus on the story of T. E. Lawrence in his twenties, before the war, during the period he looked back on as his golden years. Using first-hand sources, museum records and Foreign Office documents, Sattin sets these adventures against the background of corrosive conflicts in Libya and the Balkans. He shows the simmering defiance of Arabs, Armenians and Kurds under Turkish domination, while uncovering the story of an exceptional young man searching for happiness, love and his place in the world until war changed his life forever.

ebook of the month

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!