Biographies & Autobiographies

Political, Military & Historical

  • WEWR
    Johnny Mercer
    • £6.99
    • RRP £18.99
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    Mixing heart-stopping action with powerful and poignant insights into the reality of war, MP Johnny Mercer reveals all about his journey from young commando to a captain with one of the most pressurised and skilled jobs in the army.

    Having served in the army for 12 years, Joint Fires Controller Johnny was tasked with the job of bringing down artillery and air strikes in close proximity to his own troops on his third tour of Afghanistan. He was based in an area riddled with Taliban leaders and faced danger with every patrol. He was determined to protect his men, but then one morning everything changed...

    In his autobiography, Johnny looks back on his commando training and transports you right into the heat, blood and chaos of battle. With brutal and unflinching honesty, he describes what it feels like to risk your life every day and the painful process of watching friends die. He also recalls the way he took the fight back to the enemy with a relentless efficiency that cost him personally.

    When he arrived back in the UK, Johnny was shocked by the lack of care available for veterans and their families and vowed to run for Parliament in the hope that he could make a difference.
  • COXJ
    Brendan Cox
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    • RRP £16.99
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    Jo Cox was a daughter, mother, wife, sister, MP, humanitarian and activist who believed in the power of community and cared for so many others - especially those less fortunate than her.

    Her murder in 2016 shook the nation and in the aftermath of her death, her husband Brendan urged the general public to remember what she stood for during her life rather than the way she died.

    This poignant memoir looks back at all the good things Jo did during her life and the successful campaigns she ran. Brendan also looks to the future and explains the ways in which he plans to honour her legacy by continuing to push for a more inclusive and positive society.

    The publication of this book coincides with the launch of greatgettogether.org, an event that finds communities coming together to celebrate all the things they have in common.
  • JAAH
    Lucy Worsley
    (1)
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    • RRP £25.00
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    It's now 200 years since the death of Jane Austen and historian and television presenter Lucy Worsley is marking the occasion with this captivating book that looks at what the influential novelist's home life was really like.

    Lucy examines the places and spaces that mattered to Jane and explains why she lived the way she did. She also explains how, despite her reputation, Jane's life was not full of country houses and ballrooms but was often a struggle.
    Although it's often said Jane, the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park, lived a 'life without incident', this thoroughly researched book explains how that wasn't always the case. It reveals Jane was a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. She also had at least five marriage prospects - but wouldn't settle for anyone who wouldn't match up to Mr. Darcy...
  • KHWD
    Josephine Wilkinson
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    • RRP £20.00
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    Katherine Howard was Henry VIII's Fifth Queen and this biography provides an in-depth look at her life right up until her beheading in 1542 for crimes of adultery and treason - one of the biggest scandals of the Tudor era.

    Having first come to court as a young girl of 14 years old, Katherine's fate was sealed from an early age. This book looks beyond the traditional story of her sexual exploits before she married the king and instead reveals a life blighted by child abuse, family ambition, religious conflict and political and sexual intrigue.

    Revealing Katherine as a bright and intelligent woman who tried to be a good wife to Henry, the book reveals how she was really no more than a child in a man's world - and the tragic victim of those who held positions of authority over her.
  • CSCTC
    Keggie Carew
    • £5.99
    • RRP £16.99
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    Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2016, Keggie Carew's Dadland is a story of war and grief, jealousy and madness and mischief and fierce love.

    A poignant exploration of what becomes of us as we grow old, it is full of Keggie's memories of her rather unorthodox but charming father. As her father Tom begins to lose his memory, Keggie tries to unravel his story but finds out so many surprising secrets.

    She learns that Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer and a law unto himself. He was also part of an elite SEO unit who was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerilla resistance in France, Burma and during the Second World War - and that was just the beginning...

    Dadland takes in elements of peace and war and then follows a painful path into dementia. It's a heartbreaking, powerful and perfectly poignant true story about an extraordinary 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.
  • URCH
    • £7.99
    • RRP £25.00
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    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.
  • APDPJ
    Emmeline Pankhurst
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £1.60
    Don't miss Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst in the major motion picture Suffragette. Emmeline Pankhurst was raised in a world that valued men over women. At fourteen she attended her first suffrage meeting and returned home a confirmed suffragist. Throughout her career she endured humiliation, prison, hunger strikes and the repeated frustration of her aims by men in power but she rose to become the guiding light of the Suffragette movement. This is Pankhurst's story, in her own words, of her struggle for equality.
  • ALYWY
    Chris Kyle
    (2)
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £1.80
    Highly detailed, frank and totally raw, Navy Seal Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper has been recently dramatised in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated film starring The Silver Linings Playbook's Bradley Cooper. If you've seen the film yet or not, the book is a must read!

    Hunted by his enemies, praised by his military brothers, Chris Kyle's life as the United States' most deadly marksman saw him kill a reported (although the actual figure is considered to be much higher) 150 enemy combatants. In his gripping memoir, American Sniper, Kyle shares the true story of his extraordinary decade-long career, including his multiple combat tours in Iraq and elsewhere from 1999-2009, and the difficulties he and his family faced when he returned home...

    A riveting read detailing how a Texan cowboy can become an expert marksman and feared assassin, American Sniper by Chris Kyle is a perfect read for fans Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor and No Easy Day by Mark Owen.
  • ALRRP
    Andrew Hodges
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    As portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film adaptation The Imitation Game, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a book that tells the true story of how Turing's contributions and genius significantly shortened the length of the Second World War.

    Written with great insight by Andrew Hodges, the book celebrates the achievements of a mysterious and highly intellectual individual. Alan Turing was a true pioneer, whose work can still be seen in the computers we use today and this book shows how Turing and his team managed to crack the German Enigma code while stationed at Bletchley Park.

    An extraordinary story, the book also looks at the appalling way Turing was treated by the British establishment following his achievements. A fascinating read about an - until recently - unsung British hero.
  • AQQRT
    Mitchell Zuckoff
    • £8.79
    • RRP £8.99
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    13 HOURS is the true account of the events of 11 September 2012, when terrorists attacked a US State Compound and a nearby CIA station in Libya, one of the most dangerous corners of the globe. On that fateful day, a team of six American security operators stationed in Benghazi fought to repel mounting enemy forces and escalating firepower, to protect the Americans stationed there, including the US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Going beyond the call of duty, the team ignored orders to stand down and instead choked back smoke, fought wave after wave of machine-gun fire and retook the Compound, averting tragedy on a much larger scale - although four Americans would not make it out alive. Recounting the 13 hours of the now infamous attack, this personal account is both blistering and compelling, and sets the story straight about what really happened on the ground, in the streets and on the rooftops.
  • APJNQ
    Charles Moore
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    This is the sensational second volume of Charles Moore's bestselling authorized biography of the Iron Lady. In June 1983, Margaret Thatcher won the biggest increase in a government's Parliamentary majority in British electoral history. Over the next four years, as Charles Moore relates in this central volume of his uniquely authoritative biography, Britain's first woman prime minister changed the course of her country's history and that of the world, often by sheer force of will. The book reveals as never before how she faced down the Miners' Strike, transformed relations with Europe, privatized the commanding heights of British industry and continued the reinvigoration of the British economy. It describes her role on the world stage with dramatic immediacy, identifying Mikhail Gorbachev as 'a man to do business with' before he became leader of the Soviet Union, and then persistently pushing him and Ronald Reagan, her great ideological soul mate, to order world affairs according to her vision. For the only time since Churchill, she ensured that Britain had a central place in dealings between the superpowers. But even at her zenith she was beset by difficulties. The beloved Reagan two-timed her during the US invasion of Grenada. She lost the minister to whom she was personally closest to scandal and almost had to resign as a result of the Westland affair. She found herself isolated within her own government over Europe. She was at odds with the Queen over the Commonwealth and South Africa. She bullied senior colleagues and she set in motion the poll tax. Both these last would later return to wound her, fatally. In all this, Charles Moore has had unprecedented access to all Mrs Thatcher's private and government papers. The participants in the events described have been so frank in interview that we feel we are eavesdropping on their conversations as they pass. We look over Mrs Thatcher's shoulder as she vigorously annotates documents, so seeing her views on many particular issues in detail, and we understand for the first time how closely she relied on a handful of trusted advisors to help shape her views and carry out her will. We see her as a public performer, an often anxious mother, a workaholic and the first woman in western democratic history who truly came to dominate her country in her time. In the early hours of 12 October 1984, during the Conservative party conference in Brighton, the IRA attempted to assassinate her. She carried on within hours to give her leader's speech at the conference (and later went on to sign the Anglo-Irish agreement). One of her many left-wing critics, watching her that day, said 'I don't approve of her as Prime Minister, but by God she's a great tank commander.' This titanic figure, with all her capacities and all her flaws, storms from these pages as from no other book.
  • AOOBM
    John Pearson
    • £8.79
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    The classic, bestselling account of the infamous Kray twins, now a major film, starring Tom Hardy. Reggie and Ronnie Kray ruled London's gangland during the 60s with a ruthlessness and viciousness that shocks even now. Building an empire of organised crime that has never been matched, the brothers swindled, extorted and terrorised - while enjoying a glittering celebrity status at the heart of the swinging 60s scene, until their downfall and imprisonment for life.
  • ALSKQ
    Laura Hillenbrand
    (1)
    • £8.79
    • RRP £8.99
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    Memorably brought to the big screen by director Angelina Jolie, Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini (played in the film by Jack O'Connell) - an Olympic athlete who served as an airman during the Second World War and went through a number of torturous experiences...

    After a troubled youth, Zamperini found solace in his running and took part in the Berlin Olympics, almost running a four-minute mile. During the war, the bomber Zamperini was flying in crashed into the Pacific Ocean - surviving this, Zamperini had to fend off everything from hunger and thirst to sharks and enemy aircraft attacks. But when saviour eventually came, Zamperini would be faced with his toughest experience yet...

    The extraordinary true story of a remarkable individual and a celebration of triumph against the most brutal of tribulations, this is a poignant read. You'll be inspired as you learn how Zamperini never gave up on hope and used his powers of endurance and resilience to survive every challenge that came his way...
  • AGWMO
    Mario Vargas Llosa
    • £8.89
    • RRP £8.99
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    As "The Dream of the Celt" opens, it is the summer of 1916 and Roger Casement awaits the hangman in London's Pentonville Prison. Dublin lies in ruins after the disastrous Easter Rising led by his comrades of the Irish Volunteers. He has been caught after landing from a German submarine. For the past year he has attempted to raise an Irish brigade from prisoners of war to fight alongside the Germans against the British Empire that awarded him a knighthood only a few years before. And now his petition for clemency is threatened by the leaking of his private diary and his secret life as a gay man...Vargas-Llosa, with his incomparable gift for powerful historical narrative, takes the reader on a journey back through a remarkable life dedicated to the exposure of barbaric treatment of indigenous peoples by European predators in the Congo and Amazonia. Casement was feted as one of the greatest humanitarians of the age. Now he is about to die ignominiously as a traitor.
  • ALJNL
    Malala Yousafzai
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
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    In 2009 Malala Yousafzai began writing a blog on BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley as the Taliban gained control, at times banning girls from attending school. When her identity was discovered, Malala began to appear in both Pakistani and international media, advocating the freedom to pursue education for all. In October 2011, gunmen boarded Malala's school bus and shot her in the face, a bullet passing through her head and into her shoulder. Remarkably, Malala survived the shooting. At a very young age, Malala Yousafzai has become a worldwide symbol of courage and hope. Her shooting has sparked a wave of solidarity across Pakistan, not to mention globally, for the right to education, freedom from terror and female emancipation.
  • AOMYE
    Mark Time
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
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    At 16, Mark Time wants to become either a geologist or a Royal Marines Commando. So which does he choose? Despite his love of basalt, he chooses the career that teaches him how to kill...and sh*t in plastic bags. Knowing his weak body will have to shape up to complete thirty weeks of commando training, Mark prepares for the Royal Marines by sleeping in his shed wearing only plastic bags. He braves pain by ordering his mate to attack him while trapped in a sleeping bag. He starves himself in a stupid urban survival exercise, turning down the offer of crispy pancakes from his bewildered mother. He is ready. Some might say for the nut house...Often hilarious and yet shockingly sobering, this is the true story of a boy who joins one of the world's most elite military units with only naivety and incompetence equalling his will to succeed.
  • AOIER
    Boris Johnson
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    'The must-read biography of the year.' Evening Standard 'He writes with gusto...the result is a book that is never boring, genuinely clever ...this book sizzles.' The Times 'The point of the Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference.' On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and written in conjunction with the Churchill Estate, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century. Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays - with characteristic wit and passion - a man of multiple contradictions, contagious bravery, breath-taking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity. Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the King to stay out of action on D-Day; he embraced large-scale strategic bombing, yet hated the destruction of war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was a celebrated journalist, a great orator and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was famous for his ability to combine wining and dining with many late nights of crucial wartime decision-making. His open-mindedness made him a pioneer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. Most of all, as Boris Johnson says, 'Churchill is the resounding human rebuttal to all who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces'. The Churchill Factor is a book to be enjoyed not only by anyone interested in history: it is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader.
  • AELVP
    Anne Frank
    • £8.79
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    This is the 70th Anniversary Edition. In the summer of 1942, fleeing the horrors of the Nazi occupation, Anne Frank and her family were forced into hiding in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse. Aged thirteen when she went into the secret annexe, Anne kept a diary in which she confided her innermost thoughts and feelings, movingly revealing how the eight people living under these extraordinary conditions coped with the daily threat of discovery and death, being cut off from the outside world, petty misunderstandings and the unbearable strain of living like prisoners. An intimate record of tension and struggle, adolescence and confinement, anger and heartbreak, this is the definitive edition of the diary of Anne Frank.
  • ADBPP
    Mahatma Gandhi
    • £10.59
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    Gandhi's non-violent struggles against racism, violence, and colonialism in South Africa and India had brought him to such a level of notoriety, adulation that when asked to write an autobiography midway through his career, he took it as an opportunity to explain himself. He feared the enthusiasm for his ideas tended to exceed a deeper understanding of his quest for truth rooted in devotion to God. His attempts to get closer to this divine power led him to seek purity through simple living, dietary practices, celibacy, and a life without violence. This is not a straightforward narrative biography. In "The Story of My Experiments with Truth", Gandhi offers his life story as a reference for those who would follow in his footsteps.
  • AGQSE
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
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    Total Recall is the unbelievably true story of Arnold Schwarzenegger's life. Born in the small city of Thal, Austria, in 1947, he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 21. Within ten years, he was a millionaire business man. After twenty years, he was the world's biggest movie star. In 2003, he was Governor of California and a household name around the world.
  • AIOUV
    Eric Lomax
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    During the Second World War Eric Lomax was forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway and was tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio. Left emotionally scarred and unable to form normal relationships, Lomax suffered for years until, with the help of his wife, Patti Lomax, and of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, he came terms with what happened. Fifty years after the terrible events, he was able to meet one of his tormentors. The Railway Man is a story of innocence betrayed, and of survival and courage in the face of horror.
  • ALQLM
    Vera Brittain
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    In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.