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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. 

Stirling Moss The Authorised Biography

Stirling Moss The Authorised Biography

Author: Robert Edwards Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss raced professionally over 500 times until his near fatal crash in 1962. At the end of his racing career, he was the most famous Briton - no footballer, jockey, boxer or pop star has approached the national adulation Moss received. In this book Robert Edwards recounts the life of this extraordinary man, whose tally of wins was proportionately higher than that of any other driver, ever, by a wide margin. During his colourful racing career, Stirling Moss was incredibly gifted and competitive, and he has talked in detail to Robert Edwards about his eventful life, from the bullying at school which helped forge his competitive spirit to the crash that almost ended his life.

Lou Reed The Life

Lou Reed The Life

Author: Mick Wall Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Rock 'n' roll was Lou Reed's life. From recording one of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time with THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (1967), to heavy drug abuse and performing in front of the Pope, Lou Reed's story is one of great peaks and deep lows. Forever dedicated to his art, he became one of modern music's most legendary and seismic figures. Although a controversial, outspoken and undoubtedly misunderstood musician, Lou Reed's influence on popular culture cannot be overstated. He brought avant-garde to the mainstream with the Velvet Underground and his solo work was pronounced a revelation. Hit albums such as TRANSFORMER, SALLY CAN'T DANCE and BERLIN have cemented his name in the rock pantheon. A testament to his strength of character and true spirit, he was a creative and performer until the end, playing benefit gigs, featuring on new releases and, most poignantly, declaring that he was looking forward to 'being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future.' A true icon of rock 'n' roll - his legacy will live on in this book.

The Last Stalinist The Life of Santiago Carrillo

The Last Stalinist The Life of Santiago Carrillo

Author: Paul Preston Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/08/2014

The life of the complex, ruthless adversary of General Franco, whose life spanned much of Spain's turbulent 20th century. From 1939 to 1975, the Spanish Communist Party, effectively lead for two decades by Santiago Carrillo, was the most determined opponent of General Franco's Nationalist regime. Admired by many on the left as a revolutionary and a pillar of the anti-Franco struggle, and hated by others as a Stalinist gravedigger of the revolution, Santiago Carrillo was arguably the dictator's most consistent left-wing enemy. For many on the right, Carrillo was a monster to be vilified as a mass murderer for his activities during the Civil War. But his survival owed to certain qualities that he had in abundance - a capacity for hard work, stamina and endurance, writing and oratorical skills, intelligence and cunning - though honesty and loyalty were not among them. One by one he turned on those who helped him in his desire for advancement, revealing the ruthless streak that he shared with Franco, and a zeal for rewriting his past. Drawing on the numerous, continuously revised accounts Carillo created of his life, and contrasting them with those produced by his friends and enemies, Spain's greatest modern historian Paul Preston unravels the legend of a devastating and controversial figure at the heart of 20th-century Spanish politics.

Boy About Town

Boy About Town

Author: Tony Fletcher Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

'I was no longer fitting in at school. I was unsure of my friends, and they were increasingly unsure of me. I wanted to be a rock star. But while all around, voices were starting to break, acne beginning to appear, facial hair sprouting, I remained all flabby flesh and innate scruff, with a high-pitched whine and not a muscle to my name. I was the runt of the class and rarely allowed to forget it. I had no father at home to help me out, and could hardly talk to my mum. So I took solace in The Jam.' As a boy, Tony Fletcher frequently felt out of place. Yet somehow he secured a ringside seat for one of the most creative periods in British cultural history. Boy About Town tells the story of the bestselling author's formative years in the pre- and post-punk music scenes of London, counting down, from fifty to number one: attendance at seminal gigs and encounters with musical heroes; schoolboy projects that became national success stories; the style culture of punks, mods and skinheads and the tribal violence that enveloped them; life as a latchkey kid in a single-parent household; weekends on the football terraces in a quest for street credibility; and the teenage boy's unending obsession with losing his virginity. Boy About Town is an evocative, bittersweet, amusing and wholly original account of growing up and coming of age in the glory days of the 1970s.

Goldeneye Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica

Goldeneye Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica

Author: Matthew Parker Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/08/2014

A completely fascinating, authoritative and intriguing book - especially for anyone interested in Ian Fleming and the James Bond phenomenon . (William Boyd). Goldeneye: the story of Ian Fleming in Jamaica and the creation of British national icon, James Bond. From 1946 until the end of his life, Ian Fleming lived for two months of every year at Goldeneye - the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica's north coast. All the James Bond novels and stories were written here. Fleming adored the Jamaica he had discovered, at the time an imperial backwater that seemed unchanged from the glory days of the empire. Amid its stunning natural beauty, the austerity and decline of post-war Britain could be forgotten. For Fleming, Jamaica offered the perfect mixture of British old-fashioned conservatism and imperial values, alongside the dangerous and sensual: the same curious combination that made his novels so appealing, and successful. The spirit of the island - its exotic beauty, its unpredictability, its melancholy, its love of exaggeration and gothic melodrama - infuses his writing. Fleming threw himself into the island's hedonistic Jet Set party scene: Hollywood giants, and the cream of British aristocracy, the theatre, literary society and the secret services spent their time here drinking and bed-hopping. But while the whites partied, Jamaican blacks were rising up to demand respect and self-government. And as the imperial hero James Bond - projecting British power across the world - became ever more anachronistic and fantastical, so his popularity soared. Drawing on extensive interviews with Ian's family, his Jamaican lover Blanche Blackwell and many other islanders, Goldeneye is a beautifully written, revealing and original exploration of a crucially important part of Ian Fleming's life and work.

Operation Sealion How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940

Operation Sealion How Britain Crushed the German War Machine's Dreams of Invasion in 1940

Author: Leo McKinstry Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/08/2014

In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine was at its zenith. France, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries were all under occupation after a series of lightning military campaigns. Only Britain stood in the way of the complete triumph of Nazi tyranny. But for the first time in the war, Hitler did not prevail. The traditional narrative of 1940 holds that Britain was only saved from German conquest by the pluck of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The image of Dad's Army recruits training with broomsticks is a classic symbol of the nation's supposed desperation in the face of the threat from Operation Sealion, as the German plan for invasion was code-named. Yet as Leo McKinstry details, the British were far more ruthless and proficient than is usually recognised. The brilliance of the RAF was not an exception but part of a pattern of magnificent organisation. In almost every sphere of action, such as the destruction of the French naval fleet or the capture of German spies, Britain's approach reflected an uncompromising spirit of purpose and resolution. Using a wealth of primary materials from both British and German archives, Leo McKinstry provides a ground-breaking new assessment of the six fateful months in mid-1940, beginning with Winston Churchill's accession to power in May and culminating in Germany's abandonment of Operation Sealion.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Author: Ann Patchett Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Here, Ann Patchett shares entertaining and moving stories about her tumultuous childhood, her painful early divorce, the excitement of selling her first book, driving a Winnebago from Montana to Yellowstone Park, her joyous discovery of opera, scaling a six-foot wall in order to join the Los Angeles Police Department, the gradual loss of her beloved grandmother, starting her own bookshop in Nashville, her love for her very special dog and, of course, her eventual happy marriage. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a memoir both wide ranging and deeply personal, overflowing with close observation and emotional wisdom, told with wit, honesty and irresistible warmth.

On the Road Growing Up in Eight Journeys - My Early Years

On the Road Growing Up in Eight Journeys - My Early Years

Author: Richard Hammond Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

ON THE ROAD: GROWING UP IN EIGHT JOURNEYS - MY EARLY YEARS is a new form of autobiography, in which TOP GEAR presenter Richard Hammond tells the story of his early life through a series of significant driving episodes. He's a child in the back seat of Dad's car on the way to the seaside in Weston-Super-Mare. He's on his first bike, a red one, in Solihull, then on his first motorcycle, a Honda MTX50. He's at the wheel of his first car (and in the back with his first girlfriend). He is driving a furniture delivery van as part of his first job in and around Ripon. Now he is showing off with a friend, risking everything. ON THE ROAD is an emotional road map in which each chapter has its own registration number, and its own distinctive interior. Most importantly, each chapter sets off and arrives. ON THE ROAD surges on to its destination, reversing or moving quickly through the gears, reliving the central episodes and conflicts of Richard's life. Every chapter is a stage in a longer journey. Although there are precious few road-rage monologues against four-wheel drivers and men in vests in white vans, Richard Hammond's readers will quickly recognise the funny self-deprecating and balanced ease that has made him one of Britain's best-loved writers and television presenters.

Nothing but the Truth My Story

Nothing but the Truth My Story

Author: Vicky Pattison Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Vicky Pattison always had big dreams, but four years ago she was working in a call centre in Newcastle and those dreams looked like they might never come true. Could a new reality series, Geordie Shore, be the big break she had been waiting for? Chosen from among thousands of hopefuls to take part in the controversial show, outspoken and outrageous Vicky was an immediate hit. Finally she was on her way to becoming a star ...Living your life on screen isn't always easy, however, and Vicky soon found herself struggling to cope: her relationship was toxic, her weight ballooning and her self-esteem in tatters. It looked like the glamorous and confident Vicky Pattison everyone knew was gone for good. But you can't keep a good Geordie girl down and now, for the first time, Vicky will reveal how she has turned her life around - and dish the dirt on what really goes on in the Geordie Shore house. And Vicky's not afraid to turn the spotlight on herself, exposing the sensitive soul underneath her famously tough exterior and speaking frankly about her battle with her weight, her run-ins with the law and the painful truth about her tempestuous relationship with castmate Ricci. It's time for Vicky Pattison to tell the truth, the whole truth and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

One Good Egg An Illustrated Memoir

One Good Egg An Illustrated Memoir

Author: Suzy Becker Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

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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