Biographies & Autobiographies

Cultural & Literary

  • 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.
  • KGJN
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    The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta made headlines across the world in 2015 and this biography provides a compelling portrait of King John, the supposed tyrant leader who issued - and consequently rejected - the famous document that bound him and his successors to better behaviour.

    Extensively researched and written by Marc Morris, author of A Great and Terrible King and The Norman Conquest, the book examines whether King John was the familiar figure we all know from Robin Hood - a monarch who was greedy, cowardly, despicable and cruel.

    Throughout the book, the historian draws on contemporary chronicles and the king's own letters to show what John was really like. He argues he was dynamic, inventive and relentless, but also a very flawed individual whose rise to power involved treachery, rebellion and murder.

    The book also looks at the invasions by Wales, Scotland and Ireland that occurred under John's reign and the civil war and foreign invasion that brought upon his downfall.
  • WNTT
    Kevin Bridges
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    Rising to meteoric fame in next to no time, Kevin Bridges is now one of the nation's best-loved comics. But life wasn't always record-breaking shows at sell-out arenas for Kevin. In his new book, We Need to Talk About... Kevin Bridges, fans of the Glaswegian-born comic can discover the hilarious story of his life so far.

    Born in Clydebank, Kevin began life as a nervy, shy schoolboy. But as he approached his teens he found his true calling: being the class clown. Aged just 17, Kevin took to the stage for the first time and brought the house down. This guy was going somewhere; exactly where that somewhere was, who would have known? With plenty of hilarious stories to tell of his rise to fame, readers can discover the story of Britain's comic rising star - told with his trademark social commentary and sharp wit.

    With a BAFTA-nominated TV show and sold-out UK tour to his name already, at the tender age of just 27, Kevin Bridges is destined for stand-up super-stardom. Fans of Kevin Bridges will delight finding this memoir in their stocking this Christmas!
  • AOVXR
    Frederick Forsyth
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    Frederick Forsyth has seen it all. And lived to tell the tale. 'We all make mistakes, but starting the Third World War would have been a rather large one. To this day, I still maintain it was not entirely my fault. But I'm getting ahead of myself. During the course of my life, I've barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, been strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian civil war, and landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau. The Stasi arrested me, the Israelis regaled me, the IRA prompted a quick move from Ireland to England, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent - well, her actions were a bit more intimate. And that's just for starters. All of that I saw from the inside. But all that time I was, nonetheless, an outsider.' Trained first as a pilot, then as a journalist, Frederick Forsyth finally turned to fiction and became one of the most lauded thriller writers of our time. As exciting as his novels, Forsyth's autobiography is a candid look at an extraordinary life lived to the full, a life whose unique experiences have provided rich inspiration for thirteen internationally bestselling thrillers.
  • AAITD
    Maya Angelou
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    Maya Angelou's six volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration. In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town and suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother's lover. 'I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it's like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again' Maya Angelou
  • ARMBT
    Penrose Halson
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    In the spring of 1939, with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They found a tiny office on London's Bond Street and set about the delicate business of match-making. Drawing on the bureau's extensive archives, Penrose Halson - who many years later found herself the proprietor of the bureau - tells their story, and those of their clients. We meet a remarkable cross-section of British society in the 1940s: gents with a 'merry twinkle', potential fifth-columnists, nervous spinsters, isolated farmers seeking 'a nice quiet affekshunate girl' and girls looking 'exactly' like Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh, all desperately longing to find 'The One'. And thanks to Heather and Mary, they almost always did just that. A riveting glimpse of life and love during and after the war, Marriages Are Made in Bond Street is a heart-warming, touching and thoroughly absorbing account of a world gone by.
  • ADBFU
    Peter Ackroyd
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    Peter Ackroyd's marvellous biography is a living attempt to reach into the heart of Shakespeare.He creates an intimate and immediate connection with his subject, so that the book reads like the work of a contemporary - meeting Shakespeare afresh on his own ground.Written with intuition and imagination unique to Peter Ackroyd, this is a book by a writer about a writer, and a fascinating and detailed depiction of the world Shakespeare inhabited.
  • AQVIQ
    Nancy Costello
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    "At the conclusion of my discussions with one group of the Magdalene Women one of those present sang 'Whispering Hope'. A line from that song stays in my mind - 'when the dark midnight is over, watch for the breaking of day'. Let me hope that this day and this debate heralds a new dawn for all those who feared that the dark midnight might never end." Taoiseach Enda Kenny's State apology to the Magdalene women. On 19 February 2013 the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny apologized to the women who had been incarcerated in Ireland's Magdalene laundries. In the audience sat Steven O'Riordan, a documentary filmmaker and founder of the charity Magdalene Survivors Together. And by his side, waiting patiently for the words they'd been fighting to hear, were some of the women he had helped. For Nancy, Kathleen, Diane, Marie and Marina were confined in Magdalene laundries throughout Ireland during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The harrowing physical and psychological abuse they endured in the institutions, run on behalf of the State, led to a lifetime of shame and secrecy. Now, in WHISPERING HOPE, these women tell their stories for the first time. Their fight for justice and forged friendships has enabled them to move forward and have their voices heard, their individual accounts weaving together in an immensely powerful narrative that shines a light on a dark chapter in Ireland's history. Inspirational and moving, this is the story of five women brave enough to confront their past and strong enough to not let it define them.
  • ADRQR
    Stephen King
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    'Not since Dickens has a writer had so many readers by the throat ...King's imagination is vast. He knows how to engage the deepest sympathies of his readers ...It is part biography, part collection of tips for the aspiring writer. In the final chapters, King tells, in graphic details, the story of his recent accident ...a bizarre and absorbing story, told brillinatly by one of the great storytellers of our time' - GuardianIn June of 1999, Stephen King was hit by a van while walking along the shoulder of a country road in Maine. Six operations were required to save his life and mend his broken body. When he was finally able to sit up, he immediately started writing. This book is the extraordinary result.
  • AQXYC
    Roald Dahl
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    Boy, Roald Dahl's bestselling autobiography, is full of hilarious anecdotes about his childhood and school days, illustrated by Quentin Blake. As a boy, all sorts of unusual things happened to Roald Dahl. There was the time he and four school friends got their revenge on beastly Mrs Prachett in her sweet shop. There are stories of holidays in fishing boats, African adventures and the days of tasting chocolate for Cadbury's. You'll hear tales of horrible school bullies and the motor-car accident when Roald's nose was nearly sliced clean off...Roald Dahl vividly shares his memories; some are funny. Some are painful. Some are unpleasant. All are true. This reissue, in brand new Roald Dahl branding, includes 30 delightful line drawings by the inimitable Quentin Blake. You can listen to all of Roald Dahl's stories on Puffin Audiobooks, read by some very famous voices, including Kate Winslet, David Walliams and Steven Fry - and there are added squelchy sound effects from Pinewood Studios! Also look out for new Roald Dahl apps in the App store and Google Play- including the disgusting Twit or Miss! and House of Twits inspired by the revolting Twits.
  • ABLHC
    Judy Golding
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    The Children of Lovers is an interesting, intelligent memoir, written in an engaging and unsentimental style. In 1993, Golding died after an evening with the family, drunk and alone, at about 4am a bad time for a sufferer of night terrors... On the same night, in a nearby room, Judy had a prophetic dream that at last she could think and write whatever she liked. This book, so clear thinking and devoid of self-pity has emerged from that discovery. While William Golding may give The Children of Lovers its heft and weight, the author gives it wings, and her book takes flight in a light-spirited way that those brilliant, brilliant, demon-haunted novels never quite did.

  • AGEWH
    Paul Auster
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    Although Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, "God willing, strike sparks off each other". "Here and Now" is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, family, marriage, friendship, and love. Their correspondence offers an intimate and often amusing portrait of these two men as they explore the complexities of the here and now and is a reflection of two sharp intellects whose pleasure in each other's friendship is apparent on every page.
  • AGWML
    Fiona Maddocks
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    Best known today as a fine composer, the twelfth-century German abbess Hildegard of Bingen was also a religious leader and visionary, a poet, naturalist and writer of medical treatises. Despite her cloistered life she had strong, often controversial views on sex, love and marriage too - a woman astonishing in her own age, whose book of apocalyptic visions, Scivias, would alone have been enough to ensure her lasting fame. In this classic and highly praised biography - first published by Headline in 2001 - distinguished writer and journalist, Fiona Maddocks, draws on Hildegard's prolific writings to paint a portrait of her extraordinary life against the turbulent medieval background of crusade and schism, scientific discovery and cultural revolution. The great intellectual gifts and forceful character that emerge make her as fascinating as any figure in the Middle Ages. More than 800 years after her death, Pope Benedict XVI has made Hildegard a Saint and a Doctor of the Church (one of only four women). Fiona Maddocks has provided a short new preface to cover these tributes to an extraordinary and exceptional woman.
  • AABGO
    Bill Bryson
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    This short biography of William Shakespeare by world famous writer Bill Bryson brims with the author's inimitable wit and intelligence. Shakespeare's life, despite the scrutiny of generations of biographers and scholars, is still a thicket of myths and traditions, some preposterous, some conflicting, arranged around the few scant facts known about the Bard -- from his birth in Stratford to the bequest of his second best bed to his wife when he died. Following his international bestsellers 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' and 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid', Bill Bryson has written a short biography of William Shakespeare for the Eminent Lives series -- which seeks to pair great subjects with writers known for their strong sensibilities and sharp, lively points of view.
  • AAGMI
    James Shapiro
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    This work presents an intimate history of Shakespeare, following him through a single year that changed not only his fortunes, but the course of literature. How did Shakespeare go from being a talented poet and playwright to become one of the greatest writers who ever lived? In this one exhilarating year, we follow what he reads and writes, what he saw, and who he worked with as he invests in the new Globe theatre and creates four of his most famous plays - "Henry V", "Julius Caesar", "As You Like It", and, most remarkably, "Hamlet". This book brings the news, intrigue and flavour of the times together with wonderful detail about how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright, to create an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.
  • ACHGD
    Ernest Hemingway
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  • AQWWE
    Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
    • £8.79
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    This title was shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Biography Award. This is the secret story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Wonderland is part of our cultural heritage. But beneath the fairy tale lies the complex history of the author and his subject. Charles Dodgson was a quiet academic but his second self, Lewis Carroll, was a storyteller, innovator and avid collector of 'child-friends'. Carroll's imagination was to give Alice Liddell, his 'dream-child', a fictional alter ego that would never let her grow up. This is a biography that beautifully unravels the magic of Alice. It is a history of love and loss, innocence and ambiguity. It is the story of one man's need to make a Wonderland in a changing world.
  • ARCGC
    Charlotte Gordon
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    As Read On BBC Radio 4. "A gripping account of the heartbreaks and triumphs of two of history's most formidable female intellectuals, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley. Gordon has reunited mother and daughter through biography, beautifully weaving their narratives for the first time." (Amanda Foreman English feminist). Mary Wollstonecraft and author Mary Shelley were mother and daughter, yet these two extraordinary women never knew one another. Nevertheless, their passionate and pioneering lives remained closely intertwined, their choices, dreams and tragedies eerily similar. Both Marys became famous writers, fell in love with brilliant but impossible men, and were single mothers out of wedlock; both lived in exile, fought for their position in society and thought deeply about how we should live. They also broke every rigid convention thrust upon them: Wollstonecraft chased pirates in Scandinavia and sailed to Paris to witness the Revolution. Shelley eloped in a fishing boat with a married man and faced down bandits in Naples. Wollstonecraft proclaimed that women's liberty should matter to everyone. Not only did Wollstonecraft pen the landmark book, The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, her work ignited Romanticism, inspiring a whole new generation of writers, including her daughter. At just nineteen years old, Mary travelled around Italy with Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, and there wrote Frankenstein. Having pushed the boundaries of the literary form, she went on to become the editor of her husband's poetry - a feat of scholarship that established his posthumous reputation. For the first time, Romantic Outlaws brings together a pair of visionary women who should have shared a life, but who instead share a powerful literary and feminist legacy. This is inventive, illuminating, involving biography at its best.
  • ASOGS
    Claire Harman
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    Raised motherless on remote Yorkshire moors, watching five beloved siblings sicken and die, haunted by unrequited love: Charlotte Bronte's life has all the drama and tragedy of the great Gothic novels it inspired. Charlotte was a literary visionary, a feminist trailblazer and the driving force behind the whole Bronte family. She pushed Emily to publish Wuthering Heights and took charge of their precarious finances when her feckless brother turned to opium. In Jane Eyre she introduced the world to a brand new kind of heroine, modelled on herself: quiet but fiercely intelligent, burning with passion and potential. This is a truly gripping and illuminating account of one of our best-loved novelists.
  • ASOOH
    Jonathan Bate
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    With an introduction by Simon Callow Judgements about the quality of works of art begin in opinion. But for the last two hundred years only the wilfully perverse (and Tolstoy) have denied the validity of the opinion that Shakespeare was a genius. Who was Shakespeare? Why has his writing endured? And what makes it so endlessly adaptable to different times and cultures? Exploring Shakespeare's life, including questions of authorship and autobiography, and charting how his legacy has grown over the centuries, this extraordinary book asks how Shakespeare has come to be such a powerful symbol of genius. Written with lively passion and wit, The Genius of Shakespeare is a fascinating biography of the life - and afterlife - of our greatest poet. Jonathan Bate, one of the world's leading Shakespearean scholars, has shown how the legend of Shakespeare's genius was created and sustained, and how the man himself became a truly global phenomenon. 'The best modern book on Shakespeare' Sir Peter Hall
  • ALJXI
    James Bowen
    (1)
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    Readers have fallen in love with the tale of James and Bob, a street cat James found abandoned in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation and now James Bowen is back with the follow-up to A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob with a touching festive story of the inseparable pair titled A Gift from Bob.

    Looking back at the last Christmas they spent scraping a living together on the streets of London, the book details how Bob helped James through one of his toughest times by providing him with strength, friendship and inspiration - while also teaching him an important lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.

    An extraordinary real-life tale of the transcendence of friendship and love, A Gift from Bob is the ideal Christmas gift for anyone who has fallen for the pair's earlier books or for those who simply adore animals.
  • AENME
    Claire Tomalin
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    Claire Tomalin brings her extraordinary gifts of scholarship, fluent writing and empathy for her subjects to bear on one of our greatest, and most elusive, novelists. Widely acclaimed as the finest of Austen biographies, the book offers us "a brave, sharp-tongued character who fairly bounces off the page". (Val Hennesy). And along the way it gives us an "authoratative, graceful,succinct account of a wide swathe of English society which brilliantly illuminates' the novelist". (Victoria Glendinning).
  • AJXBG
    Laurie Lee
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    This is a beautiful new edition of Laurie Lee's celebrated autobiographical trilogy: Cider with Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War. 'I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began.' 'This trilogy is a sequence of early recollections, beginning with the dazzling lights and sounds of my first footings on earth in a steep Cotswold valley some three miles long. For nineteen years this was the limit of my world, then one midsummer morning I left home and walked to London and down the blazing length of Spain during the innocent days of the early thirties. Never had I felt so fat with time, so free to go where I would. Then such indulgence was suddenly broken by the savage outbreak of the Civil War..." (Laurie Lee).
  • AGWIF
    Jennifer Kloester
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    The ground-breaking biography of one of Britain's best-loved and best-selling novelists. Georgette Heyer remains an enduring international bestseller, read and loved by four generations of readers and extolled by today's bestselling authors. Despite her enormous popularity she never gave an interview or appeared in public. Georgette Heyer wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, when she was seventeen in order to amuse her convalescent brother. It was published in 1921 to instant success and it has never been out of print. A phenomenon even in her own lifetime, to this day she is the undisputed queen of regency romance. During ten years of research into Georgette Heyer's life and writing, Jennifer Kloester has had unlimited access to Heyer's notebooks and private papers and the Heyer family records, and exclusive access to several untapped archives of Heyer's early letters.