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Discover the true stories of the people who run the world and those who have fought for it in our extensive range of political, military and historical biographies and autobiographies. Our biographies will make a fantastic present for those interested in history and other non-fiction!

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Political, Military & Historical Biographies

Discover the true stories of the people who run the world and those who have fought for it in our extensive range of political, military and historical biographies and autobiographies. Our biographies will make a fantastic present for those interested in history and other non-fiction!

  • To War With the Walkers

    Annabel Venning

    Product Code: WWTW
    Hardback
    Hand-picked favourites
    How would it feel if all your sons and daughters were caught up in war?

    Annabel Venning tells the incredible true story of four brothers and two sisters (the Walker children including her grandfather, Walker) who were swept along by the momentous events of the Second World War.

    She reveals how each sibling faced an extraordinary struggle for survival despite their vastly different circumstances: Harold was a surgeon and Ruth a nurse while Peter, Edward and Walter all fought on the frontline. Meanwhile, glamorous Bee had her sights set on everlasting happiness with an American suitor...
    •   Buy 2 selected products for £15 Offer details
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    • £7.99
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  • Churchill: The Life

    Max Arthur

    Product Code: URCH
    Hardback
    Hand-picked favourites
    Commemorating 50 years since the death of Winston Churchil, this is a unique illustrated biography for anyone interested in the history of Britain.

    It includes rare and previously unpublished images from the vaults of the Churchill Archive Centre and family pictures from the Broadwater collection. Written by historian Max Arthur, the book covers everything from Churchill's youth and early military career through to the First and Second World Wars and his post-war life.

    Endlessly fascinating, it includes timelines, speech drafts, telegrams and insights into Churchill's key influences, acquaintances and family.
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  • The Man Who Was Saturday

    Patrick Bishop

    Product Code: MWWS
    Hardback
    (1)
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    Published to mark the 40th anniversary of his death, The Man Who Was Saturday is Patrick Bishop's eye-opening and action-packed biography of Airey Neave - a World War II hero, spymaster and politician who was murdered in the House of Commons car park in 1979.

    Examining the life, war and death of Airey, this book reveals how he was the first British officer to escape from Colditz and how (while using the code name 'Saturday') he became a key figure in the IS9 escape which helped hundreds of Allies out of Occupied Europe.

    As well as getting mixed up in several great spy scandals, Airey was also a trained lawyer who served indictments on the Nazi leaders during the Nuremburg war trial. As if that wasn't enough, he was also the man who helped get Margaret Thatcher into power in 1975...

    His death in 1979 is just as remarkable as his life. A bomb was placed beneath his car while he was driving up the ramp of the House of Commons underground car park, killing him instantly and although the murder was claimed by Irish Republican group the INLA, the killers have never been identified.
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  • Churchill

    Christopher Catherwood

    Product Code: CHLL
    Hardback
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    Leading Winston Churchill scholar Dr. Christopher Catherwood reveals what the former prime minister - a man often declared the greatest statesman to have ever lived - was like as a man in this painstakingly researched biography. It's packed with photographs and artefacts from the former PM's life.

    Drawing on archive interviews, artworks and personal notes for some of Churchill's most famous and inspiring wartime speeches, this book explores his hidden history in detail. From being homesick while at boarding school to his successes and failures (he disastrous Gallipoli campaign and his blind spot over India), it reveals him to be a powerful, colourful and remarkable character.

    This is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated in political history and those who have gained an interest in the politician after seeing John Lithgow in The Crown or Gary Oldman's Oscar-winning performance in The Darkest Hour.
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  • Some Sunny Day

    Product Code: SSDY
    Hardback
    Hand-picked favourites
    At 94 years old, Madge Lambert is one of the few remaining women to have served as a nurse during the Burma Campaign between 1944 and 1945. It was while working here that she met her husband, Captain Basil Lambert. The couple have a love of dance that saw them appear on a Strictly Come Dancing Remembrance Day special.

    Based on first-hand research and meetings with Madge, Robert Blair's biography celebrates their romance, explaining how they met in the most desperate of times. Joining the troopship when she was just 20 years old and not long qualified, she was based in Chittachong on the Indian border, close to a fierce battle between the Allied forces and the Japanese.

    Madge spent long and exhausting hours nursing badly injured soldiers and eventually met Basil. This is a heart-warming and poignant account of how their burgeoning romance survived the final few months of war - and has thrived ever since.
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  • In My Life - Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson

    Product Code: AJML
    Hardback
    (1)
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    Former home secretary Alan Johnson celebrates his love of music in this marvellously entertaining memoir.

    He recalls first hearing Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly's True Love on the radio as a child in the 1950s and how this led to a lifelong passion. He fondly remembers humming Elvis Costello's Watching the Detectives while working as a postman and celebrates his love of artists ranging from Lonnie Donegan and The Beatles to David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.

    A great read for music lovers and those who are interested in politics, this book lets you discover more about Alan Johnson the man while also transporting you back to a world of jukeboxes full of unashamedly romantic love songs and heartbreaking ballads.
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  • White King

    Leanda de Lisle

    Product Code: WHKG
    Hardback
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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.
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  • Mapping Shakespeare

    Jeremy Black

    Product Code: MPSH
    Hardback
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    This visual exploration of the time in which William Shakespeare lived is filled with jaw-dropping facts and observations. It considers what The Bard was like as a man and covers the cultural changes that took place during his lifetime - 1564-1616.

    From the time of the Tudors to Elizabeth I's reign and the first of the Stuart kings, this book reflects the political changes that were reflected in his works and explains how he worked through maps and illustrations to look at how powerful people viewed their positions in the world.

    Author Jeremy Black also explores the locations of Shakespeare's plays and examines the reasons why he chose to set them in these locations.
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  • The Spy and the Traitor

    Ben MacIntyre

    Product Code: BXIOU
    Paperback
    *Shortlisted for the 2018 Ballie Gifford Prize* 'THE BEST TRUE SPY STORY I HAVE EVER READ' JOHN LE CARRE A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain's greatest historians On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia. So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of spying. Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of espionage, betrayal and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever...
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  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

    Elena Favilli

    Product Code: AXDIA
    Hardback 7 years +
    (4)
    What if a princess didn't marry went on to become an astronaut? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom?

    Illustrated by 60 female artists from every corner of the globe, this essential book introduces children to 100 remarkable women including Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.

    A truly empowering, moving and inspirational read.

    This title was shortlisted for 2018's British Book Award Children's Book of the Year.
    • £16.00
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  • The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz

    Jeremy Dronfield

    Product Code: BZHTM
    Paperback
    Pre-order the inspiring true story of a father and son's fight to stay together and survive the Holocaust, for anyone captivated by The Choice and The Tattooist of Auschwitz. 'An emotionally devastating story of courage - and survival' i Paper 'Extraordinary' Observer _______ Where there is family, there is hope . . . Vienna, 1930s. The Kleinmann family live a simple, ordinary life. Gustav works as a furniture upholsterer while Tini keeps their modest apartment. Their greatest joy is their children: Fritz, Edith, Herta and Kurt. But after the Nazis annex Austria, the Kleinmanns' world rapidly shifts before their eyes. Neighbours turn on them, the business is seized, as the threat to the family becomes ever greater. Gustav and Fritz are among the first to be taken. Nazi police send the pair to Buchenwald in Germany, the beginning of an unimaginable ordeal. Over the months of suffering that follow, there is one constant that keeps them alive: the love between father and son. Then, they discover that Gustav will be transferred to Auschwitz, a certain death sentence, and Fritz is faced with a choice: let his father to die alone, or join him... Based on Gustav's secret diary and meticulous archival research, this book tells the Kleinemanns' story for the first time - a story of love and courage in the face of unparalleled horrors. The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz is a reminder of the worst and the best of humanity, of the strength of family ties and the human spirit.
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  • Battle Scars

    Jason Fox

    Product Code: BXHRD
    Paperback
    Jason Fox, the star of Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Win and The Real Narcos, reveals what really happens at (and after!) war with Battle Scars.

    All of the events depicted in this book took place during the last decade (Jason's time serving as an elite operator for the SBS) but the names and locations have been redacted to protect the security of all involved.

    He reveals all about the gunfights, daring escapes and hostage rescues and then evaluates the psychological devastation these experiences have contributed to. It's a powerful account of bravery and superhuman courage both on and away from a war zone.
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  • Becoming

    Michelle Obama

    Product Code: BSYYW
    Hardback
    This powerful memoir by the former First Lady of the United States sees Michelle Obama reflect on her experiences in life and how they shaped her world.

    From her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to meeting her future husband Barack Obama while working as an attorney, Michelle revisits intimate moments and uses her lively wit to describe her triumphs and disappointments throughout life.

    She also offers an insight into her role in the White House and what it means to her to be an advocate for women all around the world. Her warm, wise and revelatory words are able to resonate with readers as they enjoy her inspiring story.
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  • First Man In

    Ant Middleton

    Product Code: BUKIX
    Paperback
    Former Special Boat Service (SBS) sniper Ant Middleton tells his incredible life story in this exhilarating and jaw-dropping autobiography.

    He offers an insight into Special Forces training and how you're programmed to understand failure is not an option. He also talks about the lessons he's learned and the personal tragedies he's suffered along the way.
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  • Escape

    Barbie Probert-Wright

    Product Code: BXGJX
    Paperback
    Two sisters. One extraordinary true story. Germany, 1945. Trapped between advancing armies, stranded hundreds of miles from their mother, and with their father missing in action, sisters Barbie and Eva were confronted with an impossible choice. Should they stay and face invasion or risk their lives to find their mother? Together, they set out on a perilous three-hundred mile journey on foot across a country ravaged by war. Fuelled by courage and love, Eva and seven-year-old Barbie encounter incredible hardship, extraordinary bravery, and overwhelming generosity. Against all odds, they both survived. But neither sister came out of the journey unscathed . . . This is the powerful true story of their escape.
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  • Bloody Brilliant Women

    Cathy Newman

    Product Code: BUOEW
    Paperback
    `A litany of fresh heroes to make the embattled heart sing' Caitlin Moran `Newman is a brilliant writer' Observer A fresh, opinionated history of all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school but didn't. For hundreds of years we have heard about the great men of history, but what about herstory? In this freewheeling history of modern Britain, Cathy Newman writes about the pioneering women who defied the odds to make careers for themselves and alter the course of modern history; women who achieved what they achieved while dismantling hostile, entrenched views about their place in society. Their role in transforming Britain is fundamental, far greater than has generally been acknowledged, and not just in the arts or education but in fields like medicine, politics, law, engineering and the military. While a few of the women in this book are now household names, many have faded into oblivion, their personal and collective achievements mere footnotes in history. We know of Emmeline Pankhurst, Vera Brittain, Marie Stopes and Beatrice Webb. But who remembers engineer and motorbike racer Beatrice Shilling, whose ingenious device for the Spitfires' Rolls-Royce Merlin fixed an often-fatal flaw, allowing the RAF's planes to beat the German in the Battle of Britain? Or Dorothy Lawrence, the journalist who achieved her ambition to become a WW1 correspondent by pretending to be a man? And developmental biologist Anne McLaren, whose work in genetics paved the way for in vitro fertilisation? Blending meticulous research with information gleaned from memoirs, diaries, letters, novels and other secondary sources, Bloody Brilliant Women uses the stories of some extraordinary lives to tell the tale of 20th and 21st century Britain. It is a history for women and men. A history for our times.
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  • Madame Fourcade's Secret War

    Lynne Olson

    Product Code: BYGTI
    Hardback
    The little-known true story of the woman who headed the largest spy network in Vichy France during World War II. In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of Alliance, a vast Resistance organisation - the only woman to hold such a role. Brave, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country's conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance - and as a result, the Gestapo pursued its members relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including Fourcade's own lover and many of her key spies. Fourcade herself lived on the run and was captured twice by the Nazis. Both times she managed to escape. Though so many of her agents died defending their country, Fourcade survived the occupation to become active in post-war French politics. Now, in a dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.
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  • SAS Ghost Patrol

    Damien Lewis

    Product Code: BOOCS
    Paperback
    Acclaimed historian Damien Lewis' SAS Ghost Patrol: The Ultra-secret Unit that Posed as Nazi Stormtrooper is a book that looks at one of the most explosive moments of the Second World War - the day in 1942 when the SAS donned Nazi uniforms in a mission that was deemed beyond top secret....
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  • Permanent Record

    Edward Snowden

    Product Code: BZUOZ
    Hardback
    Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government's system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down. In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it. Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online - a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet's conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.
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  • Say Nothing

    Patrick Radden Keefe

    Product Code: BZGLM
    Paperback
    WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING 2019 A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER `A must read' Gillian Flynn One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of the brutal crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades. With gripping, forensic reportage and lyrical, vivid detail, Say Nothing weaves the stories of Jean McConville and her family with those of Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA as a front-line soldier, who bombed the Old Bailey when barely out of her teens; Gerry Adams, who helped bring an end to the fighting but denied his IRA past; Brendan Hughes, a fearsome IRA commander who turned on Adams after the peace process and broke the IRA's code of silence; and other indelible figures. Keefe captures the intrigue, the drama and the profound human cost of the Troubles. This is a searing chronicle of the lengths that people are willing to go to in pursuit of a political ideal, and the ways in which societies mend - or don't - in the aftermath of a long and bloody conflict.
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  • The Volunteer

    Jack Fairweather

    Product Code: BXYVR
    Hardback
    Totally gripping ... fascinating, revelatory and surreal -- Simon Sebag Montefiore How do you keep fighting in the face of unimaginable horror? This is untold story of one of the greatest heroes of the Second World War. In the Summer of 1940, after the Nazi occupation of Poland, an underground operative called Witold Pilecki accepted a mission to uncover the fate of thousands of people being interred at a new concentration camp on the border of the Reich. His mission was to report on Nazi crimes and raise a secret army to stage an uprising. The name of the detention centre -- Auschwitz. It was only after arriving at the camp that he started to discover the Nazi's terrifying designs. Over the next two and half years, Witold forged an underground army that smuggled evidence of Nazi atrocities out of Auschwitz. His reports from the camp were to shape the Allies response to the Holocaust - yet his story was all but forgotten for decades. This is the first major account of his amazing journey, drawing on exclusive family papers and recently declassified files as well as unpublished accounts from the camp's fighters to show how he saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The result is a enthralling story of resistance and heroism against the most horrific circumstances, and one man's attempt to change the course of history.
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  • Elizabeth's Rival

    Nicola Tallis

    Product Code: BSZEQ
    Paperback
    'Nicola Tallis, one of our great popular historians.' Alison Weir The first biography of Lettice Knollys, one of the most prominent women of the Elizabethan era. Cousin to Elizabeth I - and very likely also Henry VIII's illegitimate granddaughter - Lettice Knollys had a life of dizzying highs and pitiful lows. Darling of the court, entangled in a love triangle with Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I, banished from court, plagued by scandals of affairs and murder, embroiled in treason, Lettice would go on to lose a husband and beloved son to the executioner's axe. Living to the astonishing age of ninety-one, Lettice's tale gives us a remarkable, personal lens on to the grand sweep of the Tudor Age, with those closest to her often at the heart of the events that defined it. In the first ever biography of this extraordinary woman, Nicola Tallis's dramatic narrative takes us through those events, including the religious turmoil, plots and intrigues of Mary, Queen of Scots, attempted coups, and bloody Irish conflicts, among others. Surviving well into the reign of Charles I, Lettice truly was the last of the great Elizabethans.
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  • The Long Walk

    Slavomir Rawicz

    Product Code: AALEG
    Paperback
    This is one of the world's greatest stories of adventure, survival and escape. SlavomirRawicz was a young Polish cavalry officer. On 9th November 1939, he was arrested by the Russians and after brutal interrogation in Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison and a farce of a trial, he was sentenced to 25 years' hard labour in the Gulags, for 'spying'. After a three-month journey to Siberia in the depths of winter, he escaped with six companions, realising that to stay in the camp meant almost certain death. In June 1941, they crossed the trans-Siberian railway and headed south, climbing into Tibet and, finally, freedom nine months later in March 1942, after travelling on foot for 4,000 miles through some of the harshest regions in the world, including the Gobi Desert. By the end, he weighed just five stone and 3 of the 7 had died.
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  • Churchill

    Andrew Roberts

    Product Code: BZIOX
    Paperback
    THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, ECONOMIST, DAILY TELEGRAPH, EVENING STANDARD, OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Undoubtedly the best single-volume life of Churchill ever written' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times A magnificently fresh and unexpected biography of Churchill, by one of Britain's most acclaimed historians Winston Churchill towers over every other figure in twentieth-century British history. By the time of his death at the age of 90 in 1965, many thought him to be the greatest man in the world. There have been over a thousand previous biographies of Churchill. Andrew Roberts now draws on over forty new sources, including the private diaries of King George VI, used in no previous Churchill biography to depict him more intimately and persuasively than any of its predecessors. The book in no way conceals Churchill's faults and it allows the reader to appreciate his virtues and character in full: his titanic capacity for work (and drink), his ability see the big picture, his willingness to take risks and insistence on being where the action was, his good humour even in the most desperate circumstances, the breadth and strength of his friendships and his extraordinary propensity to burst into tears at unexpected moments. Above all, it shows us the wellsprings of his personality - his lifelong desire to please his father (even long after his father's death) but aristocratic disdain for the opinions of almost everyone else, his love of the British Empire, his sense of history and its connection to the present. During the Second World War, Churchill summoned a particular scientist to see him several times for technical advice. 'It was the same whenever we met', wrote the young man, 'I had a feeling of being recharged by a source of living power.' Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's emissary, wrote 'Wherever he was, there was a battlefront.' Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Churchill's essential partner in strategy and most severe critic in private, wrote in his diary, 'I thank God I was given such an opportunity of working alongside such a man, and of having my eyes opened to the fact that occasionally such supermen exist on this earth.'
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Become acquainted with the most well-known and important individuals in the world in our range of political, military and historical biographies and autobiographies. Whether you want to know about life behind closed doors at Downing Street or how it feels to run into battle, you’ll find the best biographies and autobiographies in our range.

Fascinating life stories

From kings and queen to prime ministers, military leaders and beyond, our range is filled to the brim with fascinating and eye-opening accounts and memoirs of the lives of the nation’s most widely recognised individuals.

Unearth tales of the past

These biographies and autobiographies cover some of the most interesting stories and events from the past. If you’re a history buff you’ll love exploring these fascinating reads.