Norman Mailer was one of the most famous writers of his generation. People who had never read a word that he wrote knew who he was because of his fame as a novelist or journalist, or his notoriety because of his womanising, his rivalries with other writers, his appearances on television, his political outspokenness and his prominence as a leading intellectual of his era. A provocative chronicler of the second half of the twentieth century, both as a journalist and a novelist works such as The Naked and the Dead and The Executioner's Song vividly define a moment in American history. J. Michael Lennon was authorised by Mailer to write his biography, and as such has had access to family and friends, and to unpublished documents and letters. Norman Mailer: A Double Life reflects Mailer's dual identities: journalist and activist, devoted family man and notorious philanderer, intellectual and fighter, writer and public figure, Jew and atheist. Whether you admired him or loathed him, he was remarkable and unique. His was an astonishing life.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- A friend whose opinion I value on matters of literature told me the writing in Morrissey's bio is wonderful. The rave is that he may well have a burgeoning career as a novelist. So I broke into my wallet with a sponge and a rusty spanner and grabbed my copy before they all disappear. Craig
Autobiography covers Morrissey's life from his birth until the present day and with typical pretension, Morrissey's first book has been published as a Penguin Classic. It justifies such presentation with a beautifully measured prose style that combines a lilting, poetic turn of phrase and acute quality of observation, revelling in a kind of morbid glee at life's injustice with arch, understated humour.
Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades. Achieving eleven Top 10 albums (plus nine with the Smiths), his songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Thelma Houston, My Chemical Romance and Christy Moore, amongst others.
An animal protectionist, in 2006 Morrissey was voted the second greatest living British icon by viewers of the BBC, losing out to Sir David Attenborough. In 2007 Morrissey was voted the greatest northern male, past or present, in a nationwide newspaper poll. In 2012, Morrissey was awarded the Keys to the City of Tel-Aviv. It has been said 'Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that Morrissey has reached in his lifetime.'
What is so refreshing about Morrissey's Autobiography is its very messiness, its deliriously florid, overblown prose style, its unwillingness to kowtow to a culture of literary formula and commercial pigeon-holing.
It is recognisably the voice of the most distinctive British pop lyricist of his era. Neil McCormick, Daily Telegraph
In the ways that matter, Autobiography reads like a work of genuine literary class. Alex Niven, Independent
Sharply written, rich, clever, rancorous, puffed-up, tender, catty, windy, poetic, and frequently very, very funny. Welcome back, Morrissey. Michael Bonner, Uncut Magazine
Rancorous, rhapsodic, schizophrenic: Autobiography delivers a man in full'. Andrew Male, Mojo
Morrissey's Autobiography is brilliant and relentless. Genius, really. Douglas Coupland
Carried along on quite extraordinary prose. Time Out
The Best Music Biog Ever ...In the world of rock autobiographies, Morrissey's is nigh-on perfect. NME
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.
Spike Milligan: Man of Letters is a collection of the funniest, rudest and most revealing letters from one of the greatest comics of the twentieth century to some of its most famous personalities. Spike Milligan's letters reveal the private man behind public the mask. Unlike his scripts, poetry, fiction or even his unique war memoirs, these letters show Milligan's talent raw and unvarnished - irreverent, often brazen, sometimes cutting, frequently outrageous - a reflection of his complex personality. Spike Milligan: Man of Letters presents a rich selection of the funniest and most revealing of his missives - most of which have never been seen before. It includes correspondence with the most famous politicians, actors, celebrities and rock stars of his day, and takes the reader behind the scenes in his wrangles with producers, publishers, editors and his impervious manager-agent.
This is the Sunday Times bestseller shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize. Edward VII, who gave his name to the Edwardian era but was always known as Bertie, was fifty-nine when he finally came to power and ushered out the Victorian age. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Bertie was bullied by both his parents. Denied any proper responsibilities, the heir to the throne spent his time eating (which earned him the nickname 'Tum Tum'), pursuing women (which Queen Victoria held to be the reason for Albert's early demise), gambling, going to house parties and race meetings, and shooting pheasants. His arranged marriage to the stunning Danish princess Alexandra gave him access to the European dynastic network; but his name was linked with many beauties, including Lillie Langtry and Winston Churchill's mother. This magnificent new biography provides new insight into the playboy prince while painting a vivid portrait of the age in all its excess and eccentricity.
A memoir that addresses aging, memory, time and a life in the 20th century, by one of our greatest writers, Penelope Lively. 'This is not quite a memoir. Rather, it is the view from old age. And a view of old age itself, this place at which we arrive with a certain surprise - ambushed, or so it can seem. One of the few advantages of age is that you can report on it with a certain authority; you are a native now, and know what goes on here.' In this charming but powerful memoir, Penelope Lively reports from beyond the horizon of old age. She describes what old age feels like for those who have arrived there and considers the implications of this new demographic. She looks at the context of a life and times, the history and archaeology that is actually being made as we live out our lives in real time, in her case World War II; post war penny-pinching Britain; the Suez crisis; the Cold War and up to the present day. She examines the tricks and truths of memory. She looks back over a lifetime of reading and writing. And finally she looks at her identifying cargo of possessions - two ammonites, a cat, a pair of American ducks and a leaping fish sherd, amongst others.
By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sunk a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him for at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called... The Wolf of Wall Street. In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power and excess no one could invent: the story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down.
Marmee and Louisa, hailed by NPR as one of the best books of 2012, paints an exquisitely moving and utterly convincing portrait of Louisa May Alcott and her mother, the real Marmee. Award-winning biographer Eve LaPlante mines the Alcotts' intimate diaries and other private papers, some recently discovered in a family attic and others thought to have been destroyed, to revive this remarkable daughter and mother. Abigail May Alcott--long dismissed as a quiet, self-effacing background figure--comes to life as a gifted writer and thinker. A politically active feminist firebrand, she fought for universal civil rights, an end to slavery, and women's suffrage. This gorgeously written story of two extraordinary women is guaranteed to transform our view and deepen our understanding of one of America's most beloved authors.
Tove Jansson's first book for adults drew on her childhood memories to capture afresh the enchantments and fears of growing up in Helsinki in the nineteen tens and twenties. Described as both a memoir and 'a book of superb stories' by Ali Smith, her startlingly evocative prose offers a glimpse of the mysteries of winter ice, the bonhomie of balalaika parties, and the vastness of Christmas viewed from beneath the tree. This deluxe hardback, with rare images from the Jansson family archive, makes a perfect gift.
In this biography of Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, A.N. Wilson narrates the complex drama of the writer's life: his childhood of aristocratic privilege but emotional deprivation, his discovery of his literary genius after aimless years of gambling and womanizing, and his increasingly disastrous marriage. Wilson sweeps away the long-held belief that Tolstoy's works were the exact mirror of his life, and instead traces the roots of Tolstoy's art to his relationship with God, with women, and with Russia. He also recreates the world that shaped the great novelist's life and art - the turmoil of ideas and politics in 19th-century Russia and the literary renaissance that made Tolstoy's work possible.
When Andrew Morton's world-famous biography, Diana: Her True Story, was first published, it caused a media frenzy, and shook the British Establishment to its foundations. Later revealed as having been written with the Princess's full co-operation, this international bestseller is now widely regarded as her official biography. Yet it was not the full story, as in all the sound and fury of its publication, Diana began a journey - a courageous evolution from life as a downtrodden wife and reluctant royal to a self-confident and independent modern woman. Diana: In Pursuit of Love follows this journey, picking up the story where Andrew's first book left off and uses new sources and material as well as a wealth of previously unpublished matter. The book reveals the stories of figures such as her renowned lover James Hewitt, her butler Paul Burrell and Prince Charles's valet, Michael Fawcett, while intriguing comments that Diana made to Morton in taped conversations become extremely important in view of subsequent events. In Pursuit of Love is an honest, unbiased account of one of the most admired, influential figures of our era and the definitive study of Diana.
Knitting Yarns explores what is so magical about knitting and how it can inspire joy and help us get through life-changing events. Knitting occupies an important a place in the hearts of a number of writers. Ann Hood has collected twenty-seven original essays by, among others, Anita Shreve, Elizabeth Berg, Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver. They tell stories about how knitting healed, challenged or helped them to grow. Andre Dubus III tells how knitting a Christmas present for his blind aunt helped him knit an understanding with his girlfriend. Kaylie Jones finds the woman who cared for her as a child by using knitting to heal old wounds. Sue Grafton writes about her passion for knitting. With five original patterns created by Helen Bingham, Knitting Yarns will delight knitting enthusiasts and lovers of literature alike.
Aesthete, sensualist, bookworm, politician of Machiavellian cunning: Francois Mitterrand was a man of exceptional gifts and exceptional flaws who, during his fourteen years as President, strove to drag his tradition-bound and change-averse country into the modern world. As a statesman and as a human being, he was the incarnation of the mercurial, contrarian France which Britain and America find so perennially frustrating. He embodied the ambiguities and the contradictions of a nation whose modern identity is founded on a stubborn refusal to fit into the Anglo-American scheme of things. Yet he changed France more profoundly than any of his recent predecessors, arguably including even his great rival, Charles de Gaulle. During the war he was both the leader of a resistance movement and decorated for services to the collaborationist regime in Vichy. After flirting with the far Right, he entered parliament with the backing of conservatives and the Catholic Church before becoming the undisputed leader of the Left. As President he brought the French Communists into the government the better to destroy them. And all the while he managed to find time for an extraordinarily complicated private life. This is a human as much as a political biography, and a captivating portrait of a life that mirrored Mitterrand's times.
Anjelica Huston's life, once she turned 15 and moved to London, is a who's who of popular culture from the Rolling Stones in late '60s London to the Chelsea Hotel in New York when she was modelling in the early '70s, to Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty in '70s and '80s Los Angeles, to Hunter Thompson in Aspen. She is a force who has won every possible acting award, working with some of the greatest directors of her time, and a friend to many of the greatest artists, writers, actors and musicians. One could say it was a charmed life, an enviable life, and she would agree. But it is a life also full of so much tragedy and sadness, and Huston writes about both triumph and hardship with extraordinary eloquence and depth. A stunning achievement, her memoir ranks among the best in the genre.
'The child you threatened once, the young shoot you stepped on, the Tamil you teased, is standing with a gun in front of you.'
This short diary was recovered from Malaravan's kit after he was killed in action in 1992, when barely twenty. In it, he recounts his unit's journey to Maankulam, the island's granary, to fight a critical battle where they routed the Lankan military. The LTTE's planning and tactics, the fervour and camaraderie of the young Tigers, and the actual combat are minutely chronicled. As a foil to the violence, Malaravan brings out the beauty of the Tamil forest and countryside and the humanity and support of the common people for them, despite their suffering under army rule.
Bittersweet, fresh and lyrical at times, War Journey is a testament to the Tamil longing for a homeland and the wider conflict that once engulfed the island.
An awkward, curious girl growing up in a foreign country, Stephanie LaCava finds solace and security in strange yet beautiful objects. When her father's mysterious job transports her and her family to the quaint Parisian suburb of Le Vesinet, everything changes for the young American. Stephanie sets out to explore her new surroundings and to make friends at her unconventional international school, but her curiosity soon gives way to feelings of anxiety and a deep depression. In her darkest moments, Stephanie learns to filter the world through her peculiar lens, discovering the uncommon, uncelebrated beauty in what she finds. Encouraged by her father through trips to museums and scavenger hunts at antique shows, she traces an interconnected web of narratives of long-ago outsiders, and of objects historical and natural, that ultimately help her survive. A series of illustrated essays that unfolds in cinematic fashion, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects offers a universal lesson - to harness the power of creativity to cope with loneliness, sadness, and disappointment to find wonder in the uncertainty of the future.
Charles Dickens, famous for the indelible child characters he created - from Little Nell to Oliver Twist and David Copperfield - was also the father of ten children (and a possible eleventh). What happened to those children is the fascinating subject of Robert Gottlieb's Great Expectations. With sympathy and understanding he narrates the highly various and surprising stories of each of Dickens' sons and daughters, from Kate, who became a successful artist, to Frank, who died in Moline, Illinois, after serving a grim stretch in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Each of these lives is fascinating on its own. Together they comprise a unique window into Victorian England as well as a moving and disturbing study of Dickens as a father and as a man.
In the spring of 1816, Lord Byron was the greatest poet of his generation and the most famous man in Britain, but his personal life was about to erupt. Fleeing his celebrity, notoriety and debts, he sought refuge in Europe, taking his young doctor with him. As an inexperienced medic with literary aspirations of his own, Dr Polidori could not believe his luck. That summer another literary star also arrived in Geneva. With Percy Bysshe Shelley came his lover, Mary and her step-sister Claire Clairmont. For the next three months, this party of young bohemians shared their lives, charged with sexual and artistic tensions. It was a period of extraordinary creativity from which would emerge Frankenstein, the gothic masterpiece of Romantic fiction, Byron's Childe Harold, Shelley's Mont Blanc, and The Vampyre by John Polidori, the first great vampire novel. It was also a time of remarkable drama and emotional turmoil. For Byron and the Shelleys, their stay by the lake would serve to immortalise them in the annals of literary history. But for Claire and Polidori, the Swiss sojourn would scar them forever.
The recent discovery that as a young man Charles Dickens lived only a few doors from a major London workhouse made headlines worldwide, and the campaign to save the workhouse from demolition caught the public imagination. Internationally, the media immediately grasped the idea that Oliver Twist's workhouse had been found, and made public the news that both the workhouse and Dickens's old home were still standing, near London's Telecom Tower. This book, by the historian who did the sleuthing behind these exciting new findings, presents the story for the first time, and shows that the two periods Dickens lived in that part of London - before and after his father's imprisonment in a debtors' prison - were profoundly important to his subsequent writing career.
This book reveals secrets so shocking that they were suppressed when Anais Nin began publishing her diaries in 1966. The material, from A Journal of Love , could not be published in Nin's lifetime for fear of offending the living. With the publication of Henry and June , the world learned about Nin's scandalous affair with both Henry Miller and his wife June. Now, for the first time, Nin tells of regular incest with her father Joaquin Nin, a famous pianist; her simultaneous relationships with her husband, the analysts Otto Rank and Rene Allendym and the writer Antonin Artaud; of her love for her homosexual cousin Eduarso, and her desire for Ana Maria, another cousin.
At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves - and that his fans have been waiting for. Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him - and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.'s grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America - and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter's box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not. THE KID is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee's marvelous book clears the fences, too.
In this first volume in his three-volume history of the life and career of Samuel Pepys, originally published in 1933, esteemed historian Arthur Bryant records Pepys's life from his birth to the end of his famous diary in 1669. Bryant draws on Pepys's diary and correspondence to illuminate events including Pepys' operation for bladder stones, the death of his wife Elizabeth and the Great Fire of London. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Pepys or Restoration politics.
In this final volume in his three-volume history of the life and career of Samuel Pepys, originally published in 1935, esteemed historian Arthur Bryant records Pepys's life from 1683 to 1689, when he resigned as MP for Harwich and Secretary of the Admiralty. Bryant draws on Pepys' unpublished manuscripts and notes from the Admiralty to illuminate these important years, when he was King's Secretary for the Admiralty under Charles II and James II. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Pepys or Restoration politics.
In this second volume in his three-volume history of the life and career of Samuel Pepys, originally published in 1935, esteemed historian Arthur Bryant records Pepys's life from the end of his diary in 1669 to 1683, when Pepys was sent to Tangier to aid in the evacuation of the English colony there. Bryant draws on Pepys' unpublished manuscripts and notes from the Admiralty to illuminate this post-diary period, in which Pepys was accused of participating in a Catholic plot against Charles II as well as being elected MP for Harwich. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Pepys or Restoration politics.
Rudyard Kipling has been described as 'one of the few complete originals in English literature'. In his last work, Something of Myself, he reflects on his life and the basis of his art. Yet paradoxically this ostensibly autobiographical work (as an early critic pointed out) actually discloses very little of himself. Thomas Pinney's revealing edition now uncovers the extraordinary extent to which Kipling's account of his life fails to match the biographical facts, in a series of selections, omissions and distortions. Illustrated with Kipling's own satirical drawings from the manuscripts, and brought together with his other autobiographical writings (some previously unpublished), this fascinating book sheds new light on the intriguing relationship between Kipling's life and work.
From America's cultural gatekeeper comes a profile of the man who defines the nation's soul. David Remnick, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and editor of 'The New Yorker', applies his unique journalistic voice to paint a portrait of rock legend and working-class poet Bruce Springsteen. The result is what 'Rolling Stone' called 'one of the most thorough profiles of Springsteen ever published'. Remnick shadows Springsteen from his recent Wrecking Ball world tour, the whole way back to the beginning, back to Asbury Park, to childhood rock'n'roll fantasies. Details of Springsteen's strained relationship with his father, his battle with mental illness, his marriage, and the joys and anguish of friendships forged and lost with ephemeral E Street Band members, are all delicately woven through a career that spans over four decades as America's working-class hero. We Are Alive'' not only tells the story of a living legend, but also produces an insight into the heart of America, the drive of self-transformation and renewal. Remnick has created an important text on the history of music.
Published to co-incide with what would have been the 70th anniversary of George Harrison's birth. Explores Harrison's work both within and without the Beatles and at the same time examining in detail his private and public passions, from Eastern spiritualism to horticulture, from comedy to film-making, from fast cars to working with UNICEF. His career renaissance in the 80s with the Travelling Wilburys. His last few years which were scarred by two bouts of cancer and a knife attack which almost killed him. His legacy, including his final album and memorial concert.
The biography of the legendary musician and songwriter Lou Reed.
Rock 'n' roll was Lou Reed's life. From recording one of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time with THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (1967), to heavy drug abuse and performing in front of the Pope, Lou Reed's story is one of great peaks and deep lows. Forever dedicated to his art, he became one of modern music's most legendary and seismic figures.
Although a controversial, outspoken and undoubtedly misunderstood musician, Lou Reed's influence on popular culture cannot be overstated. He brought avant-garde to the mainstream with the Velvet Underground and his solo work was pronounced a revelation. Hit albums such as TRANSFORMER, SALLY CAN'T DANCE and BERLIN have cemented his name in the rock pantheon.
A testament to his strength of character and true spirit, he was a creative and performer until the end, playing benefit gigs, featuring on the new releases and, most poignantly, declaring that he was looking forward to being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future. A true icon of rock 'n' roll - his legacy will live on in this book.