Biographies & Autobiographies

Political, Military & Historical Biographies

  • SMIM
    Nicholas Shakespeare
    • £7.99
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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To Catch a King - Hardback - 9780008153632 - Charles Spencer
    TCKG
    Charles Spencer
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    Charles Spencer's thrilling sequel to Killer of the King tells an old story with new eyes as it recalls the manhunt for Charles II that followed the rebellion that spurred his father's beheading in 1649.

    A true story packed with action and adventure, Spencer has thoroughly researched the events and uses Samuel Pepys account to reveal what happened.

    He explains how Charles relied on a variety of hiding places to hide Catholics from lethal persecution while on the run from Oliver Cromwell's armies and how in the 1650s, they returned the favour by saving his life...
  • QCAW
    Alison Weir
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    Queens of the Conquest is the first in a series of books that finds popular historical author Alison Weir telling the story of England's medieval queens.

    Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conquerer in his invasion of England in 1066 and ending with Empress Maud's turbulent reign, this book reveals the five Norman queens to be hugely influential figures in history. It also reveals how their lives were interconnected...

    Packed with tragedy, drama and moments of comedy, this book touches on subjects ranging from love to murder and war to betrayal. It's a fascinating page-turner that reveals all about the lives of England's queens after the Norman Conquest.
  • 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.
  • RCHD
    Chris Skidmore
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    Written by historian Chris Skidmore, Richard III reveals how the last Plantagenet king was one of the most significant figures from medieval times and how his actions and behaviour underlined the true nature of power during this era.

    Richard III is one of the most famous and controversial monarchs of all time. A loyal and dedicated nobleman, his personality was forged by experiences in exile and in combat. He was ambitious and successful and stunned the nation when he seized the throne and disinherited his nephews following the death of his brother, Edward IV.

    His two-year reign would end up being tumultuous and terrifying, culminating in his death on the battlefield at Bosworth. This extensively researched biography highlights Richard III as his contemporaries knew him...
  • 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.
  • Victoria & Albert - Hardback - 9780007968664 - Daisy Goodwin & Sara Sheridan
    VCAB
    Daisy Goodwin & Sara Sheridan
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    Tying in with the second series of ITV's hit drama series, Victoria, this book provides an in-depth look at the passionate and complicated relationship the Queen embarked on with Prince Albert.

    Both Victoria and Albert were both strong-willed and although they were brought together by an arranged marriage, this did not dampen the spark between them. They were first cousins but could not have had more different personalities - she was impulsive and emotional while he was cautious and logical. They were a very successful couple and this book looks at the differences between their public persona and their private lives.

    Based on the couple's letters and diaries, this book provides a tantalising glimpse into the life of the couple . It's full of rich historical detail and gives insight into this incredible relationship.

    There are also character profiles, interviews with actors and an overview of the production, costumes and props of the show.
  • CHAB
    Judith Flanders
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    Judith Flanders, an acclaimed social historian, looks over the history of Christmas in this cracking book. She reveals how the holiday has always mainly been about food, drink, revelry and presents.

    Among the jaw-dropping facts you'll learn are the reasons why people kiss under mistletoe, how Rudolph came to pull Santa's sleigh and how Coca Cola influenced the aesthetic.

    Perfect for anyone who loves all things Christmassy, this book also reveals when Christmas wrapping paper was first introduced (it's later than you think!) and that Hogmanay actually originates from France!
  • WEWR
    Johnny Mercer
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    • 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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    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.
  • KHWD
    Josephine Wilkinson
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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
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    • 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
    Max Arthur
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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
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    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)
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    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
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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
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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.
  • AOOBM
    John Pearson
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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)
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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
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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.