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.
The story of the author’s mother dying of breast cancer in the 60s and how the attitudes of the period demanded that the whole nasty business be kept quiet especially hidden from the children. It’s a very difficult subject, handled in a warm and interesting manner which cannot help but be immensely sad.
On Saturday, 23 October 2010, Sonia Oatley waved off her 15-year-old daughter, Becca, to meet Joshua Davies, a former boyfriend. Becca's hope was that the two of them would get back together, but it was not to be. By 3pm, oddly, she stopped answering her mobile. By 7.30 she was officially declared missing. And at 10am the following morning, while Sonia and the family were out searching, came the call that is every parent's worst nightmare. The police had found the body of a young girl in local woodland: she'd been bludgeoned to death with a rock. Bye, Mam, I Love You is the story of Rebecca Aylward's murder - a slaying that was described by an incredulous media as having been committed for 'the price of a breakfast'. But, as soon became clear, this was no crime of passion. Becca's death had apparently been many months in the planning, by a calculating, cold-blooded killer. From the immediate arrest of 16-year-old Joshua Davies, to the lengthy investigation and harrowing five week trial that convicted him, this book is both an expression of a mother's love and her pride in a daughter who had so much to live for, as well as an insight into the mind of a brutal murderer.
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2014. Run or Die by Kilian Jornet - The inspirational memoir of the most dominating endurance athlete of his generation. (The New York Times). Kilian Jornet has conquered some of the toughest physical tests on the planet. He has run up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro faster than any other human being, and struck down world records in every challenge that has been proposed - all before the age of 25. Dominating ultra marathons and races at altitude, he has redefined what is possible in running, astonishing competitors with his near-superhuman fitness and ability. In Run or Die Kilian shares his passion, inviting readers into a fascinating world rich with the beauty of rugged trails and mountain vistas, the pulse-pounding drama of racing, and an intense love for sport and the landscapes that surround him. In turns inspiring, insightful, candid, and deeply personal, this is a book written from the heart of the world's greatest endurance runner, for whom life presents one simple choice: Run. Or die. This is the next must-have read for those who enjoyed the endurance books Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes. Trail running's first true breakout star . (Runner's World). Kilian Jornet is a world champion ultra-runner, climber and ski mountaineer (a combination of skiing and mountaineering). He was raised in the mountains of Eastern Spain and at 18 months old would hike four to five hours at a time. In 2013 Jornet broke the world speed record to ascend and descend the 14,692-foot Matterhorn mountain. Jornet's time was 2 hours and 52 minutes. The push typically takes climbers around 12 hours. Kilian Jornet was voted the presitigious 'Adventurer of the Year 2014' award by National Geographic magazine, in honour of his latest project to break speed records up and down the world's 7 tallest mountains. The 4-year-project finishes with a running attempt up Everest in 2016.
Showing anything is possible when determination meets talent, two-time World MotoGP champion Casey Stoner shares his incredible journey from being a Queensland toddler with an extraordinary ability on a motorbike to his decision to retire at 27 with nothing left to prove. For the first time, he tells of his early family life, the development of his riding skills and why his parents decided to sell everything and travel from Australia to Europe to chase the dream and support his aim to become World Champion when he was only 14 years old. As fearless with his opinions as he is on the racetrack, Casey includes all the highs and lows of his life so far: the real reason he left for Europe so young, his thoughts on racing as it stands today, the riders' hierarchy, the politics of racing, the importance of family, his battle with illness and why he decided to turn his back on a multimillion-dollar contract when he was still winning. And he also lets us in on some of the new goals he has set for himself.
The proud custodian of Brazil's illustrious number 10, in the summer of 2014 Neymar has the chance that eluded the likes of Pele, Zico and Ronaldinho before him - to wear the iconic shirt in a World Cup on home soil. It promises to be the ultimate showcase for his flair and finishing. Aged just 22, it is the only major tournament he has yet to compete in. He became the poster boy for Brazilian club side Santos while still a teenager, starring as they enjoyed domestic success and lifted South America's Copa Libertadores for the first time since Pele's days at the club. A 57 million euro move to Barcelona followed as he teamed up with Leo Messi, forming one of the most fearsome partnerships in football's history. Luca Caioli, author of bestselling biographies of Messi and Ronaldo, looks back on Neymar's unstoppable rise with exclusive private access to his friends and family, coaches, teammates and adoring fans.
In November 2013, Martin O'Neill was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland's national football team, with Roy Keane as his assistant manager. For Ireland, and for football itself, the coming together of these two legends is a dream combination. Martin O'Neill is one of the most brilliant, successful and intriguing of the new managers to emerge from British football. This new and revised edition of Simon Moss's acclaimed biography brings O'Neill's story right up to date, offering a rare insight into the beliefs, lifestyle and ambitions of this private and complex football man. A talented midfielder who played for Nottingham Forest and then Manchester City in between spells at Norwich, O'Neill captained Northern Ireland in the 1982 World Cup - the first Roman Catholic to do so - when his side reached the quarter-finals, famously beating the hosts, Spain, on the way. Ending his playing career in 1985, his managerial stock grew with the years; under his tutelage, Leicester City went from under-achieving first-division outfit to League Cup winners. However, it was at Celtic that O'Neill was to enjoy his most trophy-laden years, winning an unprecedented treble in his first season before narrowly missing out on UEFA Cup glory a year later. Having left Celtic, his 'spiritual home', to care for his wife as she battled cancer, he returned to football in 2006, first with Aston Villa and then, less happily, with Sunderland. Then came the call from Ireland - For any football fan, this is the definitive biography of the man known during his Celtic days as 'Martin the Magnificent'.
Morella Kayman's was destined to be an opera singer until she developed cancer in her twenties. Her husband was then diagnosed with pre-senile dementia and as so little was known about the condition Morella contacted the press. Her story was picked up in a national newspaper and within a week Morella had been flooded with mail. One letter was from a fellow carer and after meeting up, the two decided to form The Alzheimer's Society. From very humble beginnings in 1979, the Society now has over 20,000 members and Morella has raised millions for the charity. With a foreword by Fiona Phillips, Morella's rich and colourful life story will be a support to anyone who has lived through the challenges of Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Her incredible determination and chutzpah continues to inspire and in 2012 she was awarded the MBE for her work with Alzheimer's.
Bobby Womack is a true legend, a phenomenally gifted musician with 40 albums and 30 million record sales to his name. He wrote the classic tracks 'It's All Over Now' (a smash for the Rolling Stones), 'Across 110th Street', 'Lookin' For a Love' and 'Woman's Gotta Have It'. Their success helped him to escape the ghetto and become a star, but battles with the record industry and hard drugs almost wiped him out. Behind his beautiful music lies a life scorched by more than its fair share of tragedy. Having trod the harsh edge of the music business for decades, in Midnight Mover he tells his explosive story for the first time. From his poor childhood growing up in Cleveland and his early forays into music with his four brothers in the 1950s, Womack tells how he found success with his family gospel group The Valentinos. He describes his act being whipped into shape by James Brown, life on the 'chitlin' circuit' with Jimi Hendrix, being on the road with the likes of Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett and recording in the studio with Eric Clapton and Elvis Presley. But success came at a price. His personal life was never far from heartache and pain. Womack lost his friend and mentor Sam Cooke when the soul star was gunned down in a motel. He incurred the wrath of many when, at the age of just 21, he married Cooke's widow Barbara. His escape from the criticism was to turn to drugs and his friend Sly Stone, leading him to spend years as one of biggest party animals in Los Angeles. The years of riotous abuse took its toll on Womack and those closest to him, including Janis Joplin, who spent her last night drinking with the singer. His marriage to Barbara broke up, his brother Harry was brutally murdered and he tragically lost two sons. But Womack's talent, searing guitar and soulful voice always shone through. His stellar career has woven a colourful path through the history of Soul and provides a vital link between 1950s gospel and some of the greatest Rock and R&B music put to record. Now in his 60s, clean and back from the brink, Womack is cited as an influence by myriad musicians and remains the epitome of cool. Honest, insightful and unflinching, this is the authentic voice of the Midnight Mover, a hard-working legend of music whose every day has been lived to the full.
In Dante in Love, A. N. Wilson presents a glittering study of an artist and his world, arguing that without an understanding of medieval Florence, it is impossible to comprehend the meaning of Dante's great poem. He explains how the Italian States were at that time locked into violent feuds, mirrored in the ferocious competition between the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy. He explores Dante's preoccupations with classical mythology, numerology and the great Christian philosophers which inform every line of the Comedy. Dante in Love also lays bare the enigma of the man who never wrote about the mother of his children, yet immortalized the mysterious Beatrice, whom he barely knew. With a biographer's eye for detail and a novelist's comprehension of the creative process, A N Wilson paints a masterful portrait of Dante Alighieri and unlocks one of the seminal works of literature for a new generation of readers.
In 1990 Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about video games and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo. The battle was vicious, relentless and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and schoolyards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the US against Japan. Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It's the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.
Elizabeth of York would have ruled England, but for the fact that she was a woman. The eldest daughter of Edward IV, at seventeen she was relegated from pampered princess to bastard fugitive, but the probable murders of her brothers, the Princes in the Tower, left Elizabeth heiress to the royal House of York, and in 1486, Henry VII, first sovereign of the House of Tudor, married her, thus uniting the red and white roses of Lancaster and York. Elizabeth is an enigma. She had schemed to marry Richard III, the man who had deposed and probably killed her brothers, and it is likely that she then intrigued to put Henry Tudor on the throne. Yet after marriage, a picture emerges of a model consort, mild, pious, generous and fruitful. It has been said that Elizabeth was distrusted and kept in subjection by Henry VII and her formidable mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort, but contemporary evidence shows that Elizabeth was, in fact, influential, and may have been involved at the highest level in one of the most controversial mysteries of the age. Alison Weir builds an intriguing portrait of this beloved queen, placing her in the context of the magnificent, ceremonious, often brutal, world she inhabited, and revealing the woman behind the myth, showing that differing historical perceptions of Elizabeth can be reconciled.
From the Horse’s Mouth
… or the Groom’s
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