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.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts at the Hay Festival on 29 May 2011. The King's Speech is an intimate portrait of the British monarchy at a time of its greatest crisis, seen through the eyes of an Australian commoner who was proud to serve, and save, his King.
1944, a small British force quartered on the Indian border faced over 15,000 Japanese troops, the ensuing battle was desperate, hand-to-hand fighting, strangling, grenades, swords and guns – anything to stave off the Japanese attack. Fergal Keane’s account is balanced, detailed and full of human stories; the memories of participants from both sides detail the battle and its aftermath. Fergal Keane immerses the reader in the fighting, blow-by-blow, we tremble at the outcome. No glorification or drum-beating here, a sober, magnificent account of combat and desperation. Like for Like Reading Quartered Safe out Here, George MacDonald FraserDefeat into Victory, Sir William Slim
Jay O'Donnell, a former Royal Navy Search and Rescue diver, has seen - and lived - it all culminating in the rescue of 26 crew from the MSC Napoli disaster in Cornwall, January 2007 - where he was decorated for his courage and refusal to give up in appalling conditions - this title offers a tribute to the Royal Navy's search and rescue crews.
The Stig gets his kit off and reveals how he came to be Top Gear's iconic racing driver and so much more - including what it's like to thrash an Aston Martin DBS, train for the Army and face the terror of Jeremy Clarkson's underwear! When the Black Stig disappeared off the end of an aircraft carrier in 2003, we were introduced to The White Stig. Faster. Stranger. Harder to keep clean. And ever since, millions have wondered - who is The Man in the White Suit? They're about to find out. Ben Collins caught the car the bug young, kicking his dad's boss in the balls for not giving him a company Jag. This was the attitude that eventually led him to spend seven years sharing a cabin with Jeremy Clarkson's underwear, James May's PhD thesis and Richard Hammond's hairspray. Because he is The Stig.
May 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. The extraordinary story of the development and spread of the English language, from Dark Age Britain to the age of the Internet. The Story of English is a fascinating tale of linguistic, social and cultural transformation, and one that is accessibly and authoritatively told by an author in perfect command of his material.
No-one knows a city like the people who live there - so who better to relate the history of Paris than its inhabitants through the ages? Taking us from 1750 to the new millennium, Graham Robb's Parisians is at once a book to read from cover to cover, to lose yourself in, to dip in and out of at leisure, and a book to return to again and again - rather like the city itself, in fact.
A touching and insightful memoir of a young gypsy girl growing up with her family in a long-gone world, by a finalist from THE PEOPLE'S AUTHOR competition on THE ALAN TITCHMARSH SHOW. Rosemary's story is a moving testament to a forgotten world and a rapidly disappearing way of life.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 14 April 2011. The author has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Royal Family, and has had a fascination with the story of the Duchess of Windsor since he was a young man. This book brings a fresh perspective on the story by focussing on the later years of exile.
Longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2010.In this gripping new book, Simon Barnes brings together his 50 sporting heroes of the last 50 years and looks at what it is that elevates them to a state of grace and greatness.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 28 April 2011. One from the Hart is the story of a resourceful, empowered woman and her atypical celebrity life. Stefanie tells her tale with the candour, wit, and wisdom that have come to embody the woman herself.
April 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. At first I thought this was just a good quality picture book about a Miniature Schnauzer and it took my fancy because my daughter has one. In fact the simple and well written story, told from the dog’s perspective, has an underlying poignancy as he tries to understand his owner’s sadness, which makes you smile and empathise. It shows that looking after something or someone else can stop us centering on ourselves in these recession filled times. It will of course appeal to dog lovers but also to those of all ages, male and female, who are feeling down about life and need to appreciate the good things. The photos have a quirky modern look which makes the book different and even children, who might miss out on the moral of the story, would like them. Highly endearing to keep for yourself or a lovely gift to amuse or cheer someone up whatever their circumstances.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 7 April 2011. 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, an event that is being celebrated nationally and internationally. As THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH explored the history of our language, so THE BOOK OF BOOKS reveals the extraordinary and still-felt impact of a work created 400 years ago.
From the Horse’s Mouth
… or the Groom’s
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!
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