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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. 

Chasing Shadows The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck

Chasing Shadows The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck

Author: Tim Lane, Elliot Cartledge Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2015

Initial investigations have already uncovered details previously unknown to the public, while some of the cricket world's giant figures have volunteered due praise - and criticism - for this remarkable figure. Tim Lane and co-author Elliot Cartledge will explore the 'Roebuck phenomenon', how this seemingly awkward and eccentric intellectual giant became, briefly, an English cricket captain, was embroiled in a long-standing feud with the likes of Ian Botham and Viv Richards, gained adulation throughout the sub-continent and Australasia and established what was essentially a homespun charity to put scores of impoverished Africans through secondary schooling and university. Along with the recollections and revelations of colleague and confidante Tim Lane, the book will feature in its telling the likes of Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Ian Chappell, Mark Nicholas, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Kerry O'Keefe, Martin Crowe, Mike Coward, Jim Maxwell and many others, including members of the Roebuck family. The book has one supreme quality: it is fair-minded - Martin Flanagan, Sydney Morning Herald This first-class work of investigative reporting tracks down key figures who shed crucial light on Roebuck's life, while resisting pat conclusions. - Steven Carroll, Canberra Times This tantalising kaleidoscope of a book, which honours the complexity of the man while rigorously pursuing the truth. - Steven Carroll, Canberra Times There could be no more difficult person to interperet - Tim Lane, Sunday Age

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Ted Hughes The Unauthorised Life

Author: Jonathan Bate Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

A magisterial life of Ted Hughes - identified recently as the only English poet since the First World War with a claim to true greatness and one of Britain's most important writers - to be published on National Poetry Day by prize-winning biographer Jonathan Bate. Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is one of Britain's most important poets, a poet of claws and cages: Jaguar, Hawk and Crow. Event and animal are turned to myth in his work. Yet he is also a poet of deep tenderness, of restorative memory steeped in the English literary tradition. A poet of motion and force, of rivers, light and redemption, of beasts in brooding landscapes. With an equal gift for poetry and prose, and with a soul as capacious as any poet who has lived, he was also a prolific children's writer and has been hailed as the greatest English letter-writer since John Keats. With his magnetic personality and an insatiable appetite for friendship, for love and for life, he also attracted more scandal than any poet since Lord Byron. At the centre of this book is Hughes's lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife, Sylvia Plath, the saddest and most infamous moment in the public history of modern poetry. Ted Hughes left behind him a more complete archive of notes and journals than any other major poet, including thousands of pages of drafts, unpublished poems and memorandum books that make up an almost complete record of Hughes's inner life, preserved by him for posterity.

The Lost Tudor Princess A Life of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox

The Lost Tudor Princess A Life of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox

Author: Alison Weir Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

She ranked high at the court of her uncle, Henry VIII, and was lady of honour to five of his wives. Beautiful and tempestuous, she created scandal, not just once, but twice, by falling in love with unsuitable men. Fortunately, the marriage arranged for her turned into a love match. Throughout her life her dynastic ties to two crowns proved hazardous. A born political intriguer, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London on three occasions, once under sentence of death. She helped to bring about one of the most notorious royal marriages of the sixteenth century, but it brought her only tragedy. Her son and her husband were brutally murdered, and there were rumours that she herself was poisoned. She warred with two queens, Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. A brave survivor, she was instrumental in securing the Stuart succession to the throne of England for her grandson. Her story deserves to be better known.

More Letters of Note Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

More Letters of Note Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

Author: Shaun Usher Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

More Letters of Note is another rich and inspiring collection, which reminds us that much of what matters in our lives finds its way into our letters. These letters deliver the same mix of the heartfelt, the historically significant, the tragic, the comic and the unexpected. Discover David Bowie's response to his first piece of fan mail from America and even Albus Dumbledore writing to a reader applying for the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts. Including letters from: Jane Austen, Richard Burton, Helen Keller, Alan Turing, Albus Dumbledore, Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry James, Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, Gerald Durrell, Janis Joplin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Janis Joplin, Hunter S. Thompson, C. G. Jung, Katherine Mansfield, Marge Simpson, David Bowie, Dorothy Parker, Buckminster Fuller, Beatrix Potter, Che Guevara, Evelyn Waugh, Charlotte Bronte and many more.

The House by the Lake

The House by the Lake

Author: Thomas Harding Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/09/2015

In the spring of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Berlin with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake. It was her 'soul place', she said - a sanctuary she had been forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power. The trip was a chance to see the house one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Twenty years later Thomas returned to Berlin. The house now stood empty, derelict, soon to be demolished. A concrete footpath cut through the garden, marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades. Elsewhere were signs of what the house had once been - blue tiles showing behind wallpaper, photographs fallen between floorboards, flagstones covered in dirt. Evidence of five families who had made the house their home over a tumultuous century. The House by the Lake is a ground breaking work of history, revealing the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. Moving from the late nineteenth century to the present day, from the devastation of two world wars to the dividing and reuniting of a nation, it is a story of domestic joy and contentment, of terrible grief and tragedy, and of a hatred handed down through the generations. It is the long-awaited new work from the best-selling author of Hanns and Rudolf.

Unscripted My Ten Years in Telly

Unscripted My Ten Years in Telly

Author: Alan Sugar Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/09/2015

Alan describes how he lost patience with some of the luvvies, wafflers and wannabees he encountered along the way, and tells us what he really thought of some of the tasks and candidates he came across during the making of The Apprentice, giving his reaction to the egos and the backbiting as well as the genuine talent that shone through. He explains how he brought on board Nick Hewer, Margaret Mountford and Karren Brady, what became of the winners when the cameras stopped rolling - and how working on the show has inspired him and many others. As with his previous books, What You See Is What You Get and The Way I See It, there is no ghostwriter; this is written by the man himself. And, as ever, it is honest, funny and outspoken - Alan Sugar at his entertaining best.

I'll Never Write My Memoirs

I'll Never Write My Memoirs

Author: Grace Jones Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/09/2015

Born in 1948 into a family of ministers in Kingston, Jamaica, the statuesque and strikingly beautiful Grace Jones lived with her family in Syracuse, NY, before launching a career as a model in New York City. Gaining fame as the cover girl for such publications as Vogue and Elle, Jones's flamboyant look proved to be a hit on the New York City nightclub circuit and she became a darling of the disco scene, which led to a recording contract and a substantial following among gay men. With her sexually charged, outrageous live shows, Grace soon earned the title of 'Queen of the Gay Discos'. When she moved to Paris in 1970, the French fashion scene embraced her unusual, androgynous looks and, in addition to cover work, she dominated the runways of designers like Yves St. Laurent and befriended the likes of Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld. While there, she shared an apartment with Jerry Hall and Jessica Lange and became artist Jean-Paul Goude's muse - he also fathered her son Paulo. (Grace was married twice - to a producer and a bodyguard - and she dated Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren for four years.) But with the dawn of the '80s came a massive anti-disco movement across the U.S., leading to Grace Jones focusing on more new wave and experimental-based work, putting her 21/2 octave voice to good use. She is as known for her unique look as she is for her music and has influenced the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Annie Lennox.

White Road A Pilgrimage of Sorts

White Road A Pilgrimage of Sorts

Author: Edmund de Waal Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/09/2015

'Other things in the world are white but for me porcelain comes first.' A handful of clay from a Chinese hillside carries a promise: that mixed with the right materials, it might survive the fire of the kiln, and fuse into porcelain - translucent, luminous, white. Acclaimed writer and potter Edmund de Waal sets out on a quest - a journey that begins in the dusty city of Jingdezhen in China and travels on to Venice, Versailles, Dublin, Dresden, the Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina and the hills of Cornwall to tell the history of porcelain. Along the way, he meets the witnesses to its creation; those who were inspired, made rich or heartsick by it, and the many whose livelihoods, minds and bodies were broken by this obsession. It spans a thousand years and reaches into some of the most tragic moments of recent times.

Strictly Bruce Stories of My Life

Strictly Bruce Stories of My Life

Author: Bruce Forsyth Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/09/2015

Nice to see you, to see you...? A dancer, comedian, singer, actor, musician and all-round entertainer, Bruce achieved national recognition as the host of Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the 1950s. With his classic one-man shows, appearances alongside some of the world's greatest performers, and hugely popular TV shows ranging from The Generation Game to Strictly Come Dancing, he is a household name renowned for putting a smile on the nation's face. Charting his life story from talented young lad growing up in north London to achieving national treasure status, Strictly Bruce is full of dazzling photographs and warm anecdotes spanning eight decades of Bruce's life, man and boy.

From the Horse’s Mouth
… or the Groom’s

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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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