Non-Fiction

Biographies & Autobiographies

  • TOLR
    Rio Ferdinand
    (1)
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    Manchester United and England legend Rio Ferdinand's BBC documentary Being Mum and Dad was one of the most heartbreaking shows of the year. It found the former footballer describing the experiences he went through after losing his wife, Rebecca, to cancer in 2015 and Rio talked candidly about how it felt to suddenly find himself a single parent and taking on the role of both mother and father.

    In Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad, Rio shares how his grief has affected every aspect of his life and aims to inspire and help any others who have found themselves in similar situations, especially men who have a habit of bottling up their emotions. Honest and courageous, this is a very emotional and important book.

    He also looks back on happier times, describing how he met Rebecca and fondly recalling their wedding. Rio reveals the advice and support that helped him piece his life back together and encourages readers to find the help they need in tough times.
  • How to be Champion - Hardback - 9781409174301 - Sarah Millican
    HCSM
    Sarah Millican
    (1)
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    Sarah Millican is one of Britain's favourite comedians and in her autobiography she recalls some of the daftest and funniest experiences of her life.

    From being contacted by an old school bully to living in your childhood bedroom in your 30s and being unceremoniously dumped in a Frankie & Benny's, this is an honest and hilarious book full of confessions about life and all its embarrassments.

    She also talks about how she was good at school but not so adept at making friends; the way she changed her life for the better after her divorce; and the excitement (!) of IBS .
  • CSSVE
    Rebecca Stott
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    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is the Costa Biography Award Winner 2017

    Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is a fascinating yet shocking memoir about her experiences growing up in - and breaking away from - a fundamentalist Christian cult.

    Any readers who were left stunned and captivated by Bad Blood and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal will find themselves fully immersed in this incredible true story. Rebecca recalls how her father begged her to help him write a memoir while on his deathbed. He wanted to talk about his family's experiences in a fundamentalist Christian sect but every time he reached a certain point, the painful memories all became too much.

    The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan and lived by a number of strict rules - women had to wear headscarves and any non-sect books were banned. Although Rebecca was born into the sect, she needed to know more about their culture and would intelligent yet dangerous questions while growing up. She soon discovered her father, an influential preacher, had been asking the same questions.

    Here Rebecca talks about her father's ongoing struggle between faith and doubt and how this affected their relationship and livelihood for a long time after breaking away...
  • Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years - Hardback - 9781509809592 - Nelson Mandela
    NMDL
    Nelson Mandela
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    Dare Not Linger is a fascinating, thought-provoking and poignant biography of Nelson Mandela's time as president of South Africa. It draws on Mandela's writings during this time and has been completed by Mandla Langa and features a prologue from Mandela's widow, Graca Machel.

    In 1994, Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa and in his five years in office, he managed to transform a nation that had been divided by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy where everyone was considered equal.

    Mandela kept many detailed notes during his time in charge and this fascinating book reveals how he and his team changed SA for the better. It shows all of the challenges he had to overcome in his quest to achieve his dream of a liberated South Africa.
  • A Bientot - Hardback - 9781782438618 - Roger Moore
    RMAB
    Roger Moore
    (1)
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    Roger Moore, the much-missed actor who played James Bond in a series of classic films, reflected on life and ageing in A bientot, a book that was sent to his publisher shortly before he passed away.

    He looks back on his life in a very charming and human way and remembers everything from life-changing moments from his childhood to those times when he thought 'what might have been' and the increasingly tricky aspect of keeping up with the changing times.

    There is also talk of the joys and frustrations of travel and accounts of how family life can bring about both unparalleled moments of happiness and intense periods of sadness. This book features Roger's very own sketches and offers a glimpse into an endearing, witty and unpretentious man.
  • MKMI
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    Drawing on declassified documents, private family archives and interviews with retired MI5 officers as well as the families of MI5 agents, Matt Charman's M reveals not just the shadowy world of espionage but also the brilliant, enigmatic man at its centre - Maxwell Knight.

    A nature enthusiast and jazz obsessive, Knight is seen as one of MI5's greatest spymasters and he's often credited with doing more than anyone to break up British fascism during the Second World War. Known to agents and colleagues simply as M (and rumoured to be the inspiration for the character of the same name in the James Bond series), Knight did not have many qualifications but is credited with transforming the agency e.g. he was the first in MI5 to grasp the potential of training female agents.

    This book sheds light on seven of the men and women Knight recruited and the impact they had on our history as they infiltrated some of the most dangerous political organisations around. These brave men and women's identities have never been revealed before and now it is finally possible to celebrate these courageous, selfless individuals and their world-changing actions.
  • Colder - Hardback - 9781471153556 - Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bt OBE
    CLDR
    Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bt OBE
    (1)
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    Sir Ranulph Fiennes is Britain's greatest living polar explorer and this book provides a visual guide to the trials and tribulations he has gone through while on his expeditions.

    Fully illustrated, the book (with some adventures that were previously published in the narrative memoir, Cold) has maps, diary notes and personal photography from Fiennes' expeditions including the Transglobal Expedition and his unsupported crossings of Antarctica.

    The detailed maps showcase his routes across the various arctic landscapes he has traversed and there are captions that provide analysis of exactly what he has achieved. The book is not only full of stunning scenery, but also shows how Fiennes has pushed the boundaries of the human body in cold conditions.
  • WHKG
    Leanda de Lisle
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    As the man in charge at the time the nation entered the Civil War, Charles I's reign is one of the most dramatic in history. However, Charles as a man was an elusive individual. He is often regarded as weak and his wife, Henrietta Maria, as spoilt but Leanda de Lisle's thoroughly researched biography reveals him to be principled and brave but also blinkered.

    Charles I is revealed to be a complex man who pays the price for bringing radical change; Henrietta Maria a warrior queen and political player as impressive as any Tudor. This book also focuses on the cousins who befriended and betrayed the royal couple - the peacocking Henry Holland, whose brother engineered the king's fall and the 'last Boleyn girl' Lucy Carlisle.

    This is an almost unbelievable story that ties in everything from populist politicians and religious war to a new media and reshaping of the nation where women vied with men for power.
  • ELRV
    Nicola Tallis
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    Nicola Tallis unveils the story of Lettice Knollys, one of the most prominent women of the Elizabethan era.

    Cousin to Elizabeth I (and also quite likely to be an illegitimate granddaughter of Henry VIII), Lettice had a life full of both dizzying highs and dreadful lows. She was a darling of the court who became embroiled in a love triangle with Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I.

    She was plagued by scandals of both affairs and murder and eventually lost a husband and son to the executioner's axe. Based on meticulous research, this book looks at the impact Lettice had on the period and her role in some of its defining events.
  • Hillsborough Voices - Hardback - 9780091955618 - Kevin Sampson
    HLVC
    Kevin Sampson
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    On 15 April 1989, the world witnessed one of the worst football disasters occur at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. 96 people were crushed to death and another 766 injured in a tragedy that was later admitted to have been exacerbated by police failures.

    Written by Kevin Sampson - a man who was actually in the stands on that fateful day and who has close connections with the Justice campaign - this book contains exhaustive and exclusive interviews with people who have become familiar public figures and many who are telling their heart-rending stories for the first time.

    From the tragic events of the day itself to the shocking aftermath that has taken years to resolve, this book interweaves the views of the people who were there with the families and friends of those who died, along with the observations of the people who played key roles in the long search for the truth.
  • Firestarter - Hardback - 9781472236715 - Ben Stokes
    BSFI
    Ben Stokes
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    Ben Stokes is one of the most exciting talents in cricket today. Not cast in the same mould as the majority of English cricketers, he is fiery, combative and gladitorial. In this stunning autobiography, he talks about his love for the sport and how he has managed to achieve so much in so little time.

    An all-rounder who bats, bowls and fields at full throttle, he describes how he spent his childhood in New Zealand and then found a home in Cumbria with his family when he was just 11. This move sparked off a career that saw him playing county cricket for Durham and then the England team.

    He looks over the most pivotal moments in his career so far - from thrashing the fastest ever Test century at Lord's to achieving the quickest ever Test double-hundred by an Englishman. Ben puts in 100% effort and commitment every time he steps onto the field of play; this is his story and is a must-read for cricket fans.
  • The Zoo Quest Expeditions - Hardback - 9781473664401 - Sir David Attenborough
    DAZQ
    Sir David Attenborough
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    Sir David Attenborough, the nation's favourite broadcaster, started his career at the the BBC all the way back in 1954 when he presented Zoo Quest - a show that gave him the opportunity to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo's collection.

    The expeditions were all filmed and this experience completely changed David's life. It also changed the way the public viewed the natural world and the animal kingdom.

    This book, originally published in the 1950s and now republished to mark 65 years since he joined the BBC, finds David looking back at his experiences making the show and is full of jaw-dropping stories about all kinds of animals. He explains all about his adventures with wit and charm and reveals how much it meant to spread his love of nature to the wider world.
  • The Freedom Trails: Escaping Hitler - Hardback - 9781509865826
    FTEH
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    A companion to the brilliant Channel 4 series of the same name, The Freedom Trails: Escaping Hitler tells the incredible story of some of the brave individuals who managed to escape Nazi Germany.

    Over 5,000 British, Commonwealth and American servicemen made the journey over the Pyrenees, the Slovenian mountains and the Italian alps and many died en route. However, the brave men and women of the resistance still managed to defy the odds and keep the routes open.

    Among those you'll read about are Blondie Haslar, the leader of the Cockleshell Heroes, US airman Chuck Yaeger (whose story was retold in The Right Stuff) and Andree de Jongh, a young woman who risked her life to smuggle men through occupied France and survived being sent to two concentration camps.

    Based on in-depth research and interviews with survivors as well as his own experiences walking the trails, broadcaster and former Royal Marine Monty Halls book is dramatic and gripping from first page to last.
  • HMHB
    Giovanna Fletcher
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    After being awarded the Celebrity Mum of the Year title, Giovanna Fletcher talks about what a positive and uplifting experience raising children is in Happy Mum, Happy Baby.

    Although she covers the physical, mental and emotional challenges faced by mothers, Giovanna focuses on the positives of family life and explains the lessons she has learned through her parenthood journey so far.

    Married to McFly's Tom Fletcher, Giovanna and her family are hugely popular and in this book she encourages you to be confident in yourself as a parent and celebrates how putting a focus on being a happy and confident mum can inspire babies and children to also be happier.
  • Pet Subjects - Hardback - 9781781316153 - Peter Wedderburn
    PTSB
    Peter Wedderburn
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    Pete Wedderburn is the Telegraph's resident vet and in Pet Subjects, he recalls some of his favourite animal patients.

    From animals big to small, Pete the Vet has seen it all. He recalls both the heart-warming and heartbreaking moments from his career and tells them all with a tender and witty turn of phrase.

    Among the critters you'll get to read about are Apollo the hamster, Nero the cat and Ned the terrier.
  • The Story of Beatrix Potter - Hardback - 9781909881808 - Sarah Gristwood
    SOBP
    Sarah Gristwood
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    As well as being the creator of classic characters including Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Squirrel Nutkin, Beatrix Potter lived an extraordinary life of her own.

    This biography from Sarah Gristwood unveils just how extraordinary Beatrix's life was. Describing her as a woman of contradictions (a sheltered Victorian daughter who grew into an astute modern businesswoman; a talented artist who became a scientific expert; a famous author who gave everything up to be a farmer...), this book follows the key turning points in Beatrix's life.

    From her brief first engagement to her happy second marriage and how she drew inspiration from her childhood pets and beloved locations in the Lake District, this book also explores Beatrix's last 30 years - when she abandoned books and worked as a farmer and conservationist, saving thousands of acres of the Lake District that still thrive today.
  • Spaceman - Hardback - 9781471149528 - Mike Massimino
    SPMM
    Mike Massimino
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    Mike Massimino always wanted to be a spaceman. Even being rejected by NASA twice could not stop him achieving his dream. This is his inspirational story.

    Combining high science with thrilling adventure, Mike reveals how even when he was told his eyesight was too poor to be an astronaut, he wouldn't give up on his goal - he simply trained his eyes to be better and was accepted by NASA at the third time of asking.

    This was the beginning of an 18-year career (1996-2014) that found him servicing the Hubble telescope, walking in space and even being the first man to tweet from space. Mike talks movingly about the Columbia tragedy and how it felt to step into a space shuttle following this horrific experience.

    Vivid and awe-inspiring, he also provides a fascinating insight into the hard work, camaraderie and sheet guts it takes to step into space and live as an astronaut.
  • The Trial of Adolf Hitler - Hardback - 9781447251118 - David King
    TOAH
    David King
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    On 8 November, 1923, Adolf Hitler stormed into a beer hall in Munich, fired his pistol in the air and declared the start of a revolution.

    Seventeen hours later and he was on the run from the police, with his career seemingly in tatters. All that remained of his bold move was a trail of destruction... Written by historian David King, this is the true story of the monumental criminal proceeding that followed as Hitler and nine other suspects were charged with high treason.

    While reporters from all over the world came to witness the trial, things clicked into place for Hitler and he ended up hailing the fiasco of the beer hall putsch as a victory for the fledgling Nazi Party. This trial thrust Hitler into the limelight and provided him and set him on his journey to power.

    Using trial transcripts, police files and a host of sources, including 500 documents recently discovered from the Landsberg Prison record office, King's The Trial of Adolf Hitler explains how this failure of the justice system changed the world forever.
  • Absolute Pandemonium - Hardback - 9780283072314 - Brian Blessed
    APBB
    Brian Blessed
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    Actor. Film star. Martial artist. Mountaineer. Trained undertaker. Unlikely diplomat. There's no one quite like Brian Blessed and in his new autobiography, Absolute Pandemonium, the national treasure takes readers on a riotous journey from his childhood to finding fame.

    Told in his own words (you can even hear his bellowing voice as you read!), Brain leaves no detail to the imagination as he regales readers with tales such as falling for Katharine Hepburn on the set of The Trojan Women, suffering some unfortunate wire problems when he's hoisted to the heavens on the set of Flash Gordon and charming George Lucas to land the part of Boss Nass in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

    There are far less 'Hollywood' stories along the way, too, where Brian takes secret revenge on his headmistress (and her very big bottom), woos his wife Hildegard Neil and braves the shocking death toll on the hit drama series My Family and Other Animals...

    A perfect book for his many, many fans and those with an interest in film and theatre, Brian Bessed's autobiography is hilarious, light-hearted and very, very loud.
  • A Life in Football: My Autobiography - Hardback - 9781472123589 - Ian Wright
    ALIF
    Ian Wright
    (1)
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    One of the most recognisable - and possibly loudest - characters in football, Arsenal legend Ian Wright talks about the career that took him from non-league football to Highbury and then into punditry in his highly entertaining memoir, A Life in Football.

    A fantastic gift for any football fan, you can hear Wrighty's voice as he reveals all about what it was like playing for Crystal Palace and then moving on to Arsenal where he won trophies and broke records galore. While at the Gunners, the team evolved from George Graham's supposedly 'Boring, boring Arsenal' into a thrilling team managed by Arsene Wenger. Wrighty explains what it was like to be part of this revolution and also discusses his fabourite team mates, what it meant to break Arsenal's goalscoring record and what he really thinks of Tottenham Hotspur...

    He also talks about more personal issues; touching upon everything from spending a week in prison to presenting on primetime television.
  • SMIM
    Nicholas Shakespeare
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    Historian Nicholas Shakespeare reveals how Winston Churchill almost didn't become prime minister following the fall of Neville Chamberlain's government in May, 1940...

    Showing how easily events could have gone in a different direction, this biography explains how Churchill was to blame for a disastrous battle in Norway before then going on to rise to the most powerful post in the country just weeks later.

    Based on fascinating new research that delves deep into the backgrounds of all the key players in the government during World War II, this book offers a new perspective on Churchill's election and leadership (as well as the personal issues that appeared) while also covering the dramatic action that took place on the battlefield in Norway.
  • Dear Cancer, Love Victoria - Hardback - 9781409172949 - Victoria Derbyshire
    DCLV
    Victoria Derbyshire
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    This is BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire's moving account of how she dealt with the devastating news she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Told with honesty and openness, her diary (which she has written daily since she was 9 years old) reveals why she decided to live out her treatment and recovery in the spotlight and how she used it to inspire thousands of others to seek diagnosis and help.

    She discusses all of the key moments in candid detail, including the moment she woke up to find her right breast had collapsed, how she went about telling her partner and children and the trials of her mastectomy and chemotherapy.

    She also talks about her joy at finishing treatment and returning to work. This is a hugely affecting and heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting story about a brave struggle against a terrible illness.
  • JOAN
    Simon Fenwick
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    This is the first ever biography of Joan Leigh Fermor - a social beauty, professional photographer and muse who made a huge cultural impact during the 1930s.

    Although her husband, the author and soldier Patrick Leigh Fermor, has been written about extensively, little is known about Joan. This book, written by acclaimed archivist Simon Fenwick, reveals her to be a woman who defied the social conventions of the times and how, despite her family's wealthy status, she managed to earn her own living.

    Joan met and mingled with some of the leading lights of 1930s bohemia including John Betjeman, Evelyn Waugh and Maurice Bowra and was a regular feature in gossip columns for her affairs, fashion and travels.

    This book covers her marriages and fall-outs and reveals her to be a highly intellectual and sexual woman who lived life to the full, no matter what the consequences.
  • RMLP
    Prue Leith
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    Thanks to her no-nonsense approach to cooking, Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith is one of Britain's favourite foodies. This is her eye-opening life story, told in her own words. She looks over her eventful career, home life and relationships with heart, humour and honesty.

    Prue Leith has always described herself as greedy, but this autobiography shows that is not necessarily the case. A South African who came to London in the early '60s and opened her Leith's restaurant shortly after, she was a famed food critic by the turn of the '70s and here she recalls how her love of food inspired such a glorious career.

    She reveals how her passion for food has helped her in every aspect of her life and also looks back over everything from the birth of her son and the adoption of her daughter to her affairs. It's a warts-and-all approach that will have you laughing, crying and understanding why good food is so important to Prue.