ABBEY'S CHOICE JUNE 2016 ----- Kick was Joe Kennedy’s favourite child and Jack’s favourite sister. Spirited, vivacious and quick-witted, her charm was legendary and with her jokes, effervescence and ease of manner she became a star amongst friends, family and the press.When Kick sailed to Britain in 1938 after her father had been appointed US Ambassador in London she was presented at court as a debutante, attended all the best parties and was a house-guest at the finest country estates. She was described as ‘the best thing America ever sent us’.
Kick was not conventionally beautiful, but men swarmed around her. As she mingled with aristocrats, politicians, writers and artists, everyone was drawn to her refreshing lack of stuffiness. To her the Duke of Marlborough was ‘DukieWookie’ and she taught her aristocratic friends to say in an American drawl, ‘Oh, Kid what’s the sto-o-ory’. Even the anti-American Evelyn Waugh was bewitched.As the clouds of war gathered, Kick met a shy, tall, handsome man called Billy and against the wishes of her powerful family, she married him.
He was William Cavendish, heir to the Duke of Devonshire and the Chatsworth estate, the most eligible bachelor in England. But their days of married bliss proved short. War brought tragedy and loss.In this book, which is as lively and vivacious as its subject, best-selling author Paula Byrne uses recently released documents to tell for the first time this cinematic story of the meeting of American and British aristocracy – the Kennedys, the Devonshires, their friends such as the Churchills, Astors and Mitfords, the social whirl of pre-War life, Kick’s work for the Red Cross and as a journalist – and the religious tension that arose from her marriage to Billy.
She kicked against family, faith and country. She was a rebel to the end – which came all too soon, when she was just 28. This wonderful book restores her story at last with all its energy, wit and tragedy.
While his extravagant and glamorous lifestyle is well known, little has been published concerning Ian Fleming's contribution during the Second World War. In the very early days of the war, Fleming was earmarked by the Director of Naval Intelligence as his 'right hand man'. From the outset Fleming was in the centre of events, meeting with key political and military figures as well as those of exceptional intelligence, experience and courage. All this was to give him invaluable background when he came to write the Bond novels. The author has uncovered through official documentation, private papers and contacts the depth of Fleming's work in Naval Intelligence. Fascinating insights of those he worked with and details of covert trips to Europe and North Africa emerge. Fleming was closely associated with 30 Assault Unit, a crack team of Commandos who took the fight to the enemy. The book reveals both the history of 30 AU and Fleming's role.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?
Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.She could not return, since rumours of her escape were spreading, and she and her family could incur the punishments of the government authorities – involving imprisonment, torture, and possible public execution. Hyeonseo instead remained in China and rapidly learned Chinese in an effort to adapt and survive.
Twelve years and two lifetimes later, she would return to the North Korean border in a daring mission to spirit her mother and brother to South Korea, on one of the most arduous, costly and dangerous journeys imaginable. This is the unique story not only of Hyeonseo’s escape from the darkness into the light, but also of her coming of age, education and the resolve she found to rebuild her life – not once, but twice – first in China, then in South Korea. Strong, brave and eloquent, this memoir is a triumph of her remarkable spirit.
A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.
A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.
Roald Dahl is loved around the world for his iconic children's books and darkly humorous stories. But he was also a prolific letter writer. From the age of nine, under the watchful eye of his headmaster, until his death, Dahl's life was filled with correspondence. For much of his life, Dahl wrote weekly letters to his mother. These letters - littered with jokes and madcap observations, sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and frequently outrageous - shine fresh light onto Dahl's complex personality. They tell of the delights of childhood, the dramas of boarding school friendship and betrayal, the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot, and the thrill of meeting presidents and movie stars during his time as a diplomat in Washington. Marking the 100th anniversary of Dahl's birth, these letters capture the beginnings of the fantastical imagination that created some of the world's best-loved children's fiction. With exclusive access to the Roald Dahl Estate's archives, Dahl's official biographer Donald Sturrock reveals the man as few before have seen him: in his own words.
At eighteen, Forsyth was the youngest pilot to qualify with the RAF. At twenty-five, he was stationed in East Berlin as a journalist during the Cold War. Before he turned thirty, he was in Africa controversially covering the bloodiest civil war in living memory. Three years later, broke and out of work, he wrote his game-changing first novel, The Day of the Jackal. He never looked back. Forsyth has seen some of the most exhilarating moments of the last century from the inside, travelling the world, once or twice on her majesty's secret service. He's been shot at, he's been arrested, he's even been seduced by an undercover agent. But all the while he felt he was an outsider. This is his story.
On the eve of the Second World War, the foreign-controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century's most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the illustrious Sir Victor Sassoon.
Emily Hahn was a legendary New Yorker writer who would cover China for nearly fifty years, playing an integral part in opening Asia up to the West. But at the height of the Depression, Emily 'Mickey' Hahn had just arrived in Shanghai, nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, convinced she would never love again.
When she enters Sassoon's glamorous Cathay Hotel, Hahn is immediately absorbed into the social swirl of the glamorous expats who inhabit it, including Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn and a colourful gangster named Morris 'Two Gun' Cohen. But when she meets Sinmay Zau, a Chinese poet from an illustrious family, she finds the real Shanghai through his eyes: the city of rich colonials, gangsters, opium-smokers, displaced Chinese peasants and increasingly desperate White Russian and Jewish refugees - a place her innate curiosity will lead her to discover first-hand.
But danger lurks on the horizon and Mickey barely makes it out alive, as the brutal Japanese occupation destroys the seductive world of pre-war Shanghai and Mao Tse-tung's Communists prepare to take over China.
In Journey of a Thousand Storms Dr Kooshyar Karimi, author of Leila's Secret, tells his gripping personal story of surviving prison in Iran and life as a refugee before finding success in Australia.
Kooshyar Karimi had two careers in Iran, one as a doctor and one as an award-winning translator. Until he was kidnapped by the Intelligence Service.
Behind his professional success, Kooshyar was a rebel on several fronts. Marginalised since boyhood as a Jew in a fundamentalist Islamic state, he was a member of a political group that opposed the government. He'd also been using his medical skills illegally, to save unmarried pregnant women from death by stoning.
Snatched from the street by the secret service, he was jailed and tortured and then forced to spy for the regime, before finally escaping to Turkey. There he faced a whole new struggle to keep his family safe while awaiting refugee status from the UN. He was forbidden to work and at the mercy of corrupt police, con men and red tape. Then life became more dangerous still, when the Intelligence Service tracked him down and used his mother, back in Iran, as blackmail.
Kooshyar's inspiring story of how he managed to forge a new life in Australia is heightened by his largeness of heart, strength of character, and insight into human behaviour, from the unfathomably evil to the selflessly kind. With the skill of a natural storyteller, Journey of a Thousand Storms recounts a life of endurance, compassion and gritty determination.
Coco Chanel continues to beguile more than two decades after her death; her life and work are a source of enduring fascination. Chanel expert Isabelle Fiemeyer unveils the mysteries that have surrounded the private and public figure by piecing together new research with accounts from Chanel's intimate friends and relatives, artists, writers, photographers, directors, actors, scholars, and those who worked with her inside the House of Chanel. The author describes Chanel's carefully crafted persona and then gradually elucidates each layer of intrigue that surrounded the great fashion designer to reveal the woman behind the enigma. Her life was marked by suffering that stemmed from affronts, an absent father, abandonment, and death, but also by vitally positive forces-her idealized childhood, collaborations with the world's greatest artists, and her permanently hypnotic, albeit staged, presence. While the myth surrounding Chanel was extolled, perpetuated, and modulated by some, others twisted it, reviling and vilifying the designer. Offering fresh revelations about Chanel's life, this handsome volume includes photographs and previously unpublished material, including new documents from the wartime period.
The official biography of the iconic Sir David Frost
Sir David Frost, who died suddenly in August 2013, was the only person to have met and interviewed every British Prime Minister since Harold Wilson as well as seven Presidents of the United States. Other world leaders he interviewed included Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, Henry Kissinger, Benazir Bhutto, Shimon Peres, Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu. Many of these encounters were set amid the turbulence of world events with the interviews becoming defining moments of history themselves. And yet there was so much more than politics: Frost's interviews saw him lock horns with film stars, royalty, musicians, comedians, authors and sporting heroes. His range was unique and extraordinary and is unlikely ever to be equalled.
From his humble background as the son of a Methodist minister, through his defining years at Cambridge and then quickly onwards through the 1960s to when Frost became the most successful TV host in the world, his work defined the mood of the moment. During that period, Frost didn't just report the news, he made the news. This would be a trait he carried throughout his life and career.
Frost: That Was The Life That Was, written in collaboration with Sir David Frost's wife and three sons, features many unpublished writings from Frost and exclusive access to his vast archive. It also offers opinions on Frost from his extraordinary list of friends. Frost is an epic story of personal achievement set amidst a rapidly changing world, encountering the great and the good that have dominated news and entertainment over the last fifty years.
They say nothing good happens after 2AM. But have they played Jenga with an intoxicated Kiefer Sutherland, run with the bulls in Pamplona, or navigated Greenwich Village by shopping cart?
It's another Saturday night at your local bar. The lights flicker on and off. 2:00 AM again. Time to slink home? Or time to get started on a new adventure? The 2AM Principle will be your inspiration - and guide - to living life to the fullest.
Adventures don't happen by accident - just ask Levy. Once a high school geek, Jon is now an established brand strategist, consultant and creator of the EPIC Model of Adventure, a breakthrough four-step process (Establish, Push Boundaries, Increase, Continue) for creating an unforgettable night - from assembling the right team and picking the best mission, to the finer points of party conversation, and the proper technique for scaling a wall. The only rule? Nothing good happens after 2AM - except the most epic experiences of your life.
The 2AM Principle is packed with amazing tales - both outrageous and touching - from Levy's adventures: his improbable triumphs, inspiring failures, and life-changing lessons. With the brainy enthusiasm of a TED Talk and the life-hacking zeal of Timothy Ferriss's The 4-Hour Work Week, this book will resonate with anyone looking to live more fully - and adventurously.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law in all fifty states in a decision as groundbreaking as Roe v Wade. At the heart of the Obergefell v Hodges case is a story of law and love – and a promise made to a dying man who wanted to know how he would be remembered.
Twenty years ago, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur fell in love in Cincinnati, Ohio, a place where gays were routinely picked up by police and fired from their jobs. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to provide married gay couples all the benefits offered to straight couples. Jim and John – who was dying of the crippling neurodegenerative disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – flew to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal. But back home, Ohio refused to recognise their union, or even list Jim’s name on John’s death certificate.
Then they met Al Gerhardstein, a courageous small-town attorney who had spent nearly three decades advocating for civil rights and who now saw an opening for the cause that few others had before him. Against overwhelming odds, this grieving man and his nuggety lawyer introduced the most important gay rights case in US history and won a David and Goliath battle that inspired the rest of the world.
In the bestselling tradition of Marley and Me, a funny, heartwarming and inspiring true story about how one little pig changed her owners’ lives forever.
When an old friend contacted Steve Jenkins out of the blue and begged him to take in a ‘micro’ piglet, he couldn’t say no. Though he knew his partner wouldn’t be thrilled about him taking in yet another stray, the idea of having a cute little pig to care for was simply irresistible. Little did he know, that decision would turn his and Derek’s lives upside down.
It turned out that as adorable as she was, there was nothing ‘micro’ about Esther, and as she grew and grew, Steve and Derek realised that they had actually signed on to raise a full-sized commercial pig. Within three years, dainty little Esther grew to a whopping 600 pounds (270 kilograms). After a rollercoaster ride of growing pains and a lot of pig-sized dramas, it became clear that Esther needed more space, so Steve and Derek made another life-changing decision: they bought a farm and opened the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, where they could care for Esther and offer refuge to other animals in need.
Inspired by their adventures with their not so little pig, Steve and Derek have become two of the world’s best known and most successful animal rights activists, alongside the magnificent Esther, who has hundreds of thousands of fans around the world. Best of all, Esther the Wonder Pig shows how families really do come in all shapes and sizes.
In this inspiring and hilarious memoir, YouTube star Ricky Dillon gives you an exciting look into his personal life and reveals the ins and outs of being a young star online. A former member of the enormously popular YouTube group Our Second Life - alongside his good friend Connor Franta - Ricky Dillon has connected with millions of fans worldwide, with no less than the New York Times featuring him in an article about the new generation of social media influencers.
Now, in his very first book, Ricky takes you into his day-to-day world and shows them what it's like to be a young star with a number of different creative interests, from crafting weekly videos to collaborating with other YouTube personalities to honing his career as a pop musician. Ricky also takes you into the inner workings of his personal fitness regimen and how he maintains a program of health and wellness in all areas of his life. In addition to all of this, Ricky creates a set of challenges - from serious, contemplative tasks to the type of zany, hilarious stunts that he explores in his videos regularly-to create a book that is at once informative, inspiring, and incredibly fun.
Follow Me captures the humor, creativity, and perseverance of one of today's most popular vloggers, with exclusive photos and additional insights that make this a must-read and must-have for fans everywhere.
A true and gripping account of life as an RAF pilot in the Second World War.
The future flashed before my eyes in all its pre-ordained banality. Embarrassment, at first, to the exclusion of all other feelings. But embarrassment curled at the edges with a weariness... I got a joke in. 'So - we'd better get cooking the meth,' I said to the Poet.
In August 2014, Jenny Diski was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and given 'two or three years' to live. She didn't know how to react. All responses felt scripted, laden with cliche. Being a writer, she decided to write about it (grappling with the unoriginality even of this), and also to tell a story she has not yet told: that of being taken in, aged fifteen, by the author Doris Lessing, and the subsequent fifty years of their complex relationship. In September 2014 Jenny Diski began writing in the London Review of Books, describing her experience of living with terminal cancer, examining her life and history with Doris Lessing: the fairy-tale rescue from 'the bin' as a teenager, the difficulties of being absorbed into an unfamiliar family and the influence this had on her.
Swooping from one memory to the next - alighting on the hysterical battlefield of her parental home, her expulsion from school, stacking shelves in Banbury and the drug-taking twenty-something in and out of psychiatric hospitals, Diski paints a portrait of two extraordinary writers - Lessing and herself. From one of our most original voices comes a book like no other: a cerebral, witty, dazzlingly candid masterpiece about an uneasy relationship; about memory and writing, ingratitude and anger; about living with illness and facing death.
The writer and satirist Teffi was a literary sensation in Russia until war and revolution forced her to leave her country for ever. Memories is her blackly funny and heartbreaking account of her final, frantic journey into exile across Russia - travelling by cart, freight train and rickety steamer - and the 'ordinary and unheroic' people she encounters. From refugees setting up camp on a dockside to a singer desperately buying a few 'last scraps' of fabric to make a dress, all are caught up in the whirlwind; all are immortalized by Teffi's penetrating gaze. Fusing exuberant wit and bitter horror, this is an extraordinary portrayal of what it means to say goodbye, with haunting relevance in today's new age of diaspora. Published in English for the first time, it confirms the rediscovery of Teffi as one of the most humane, perceptive observers of her time, and an essential writer for ours.
'I could hear the frost crackling outside. Greenish moonbeams shone through windows covered with patterns of ice...' One of the most moving accounts of being a boy ever written, My Childhood is a both wonderful and harrowing memoir - and one of the great works of Russian literature. This is a new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.
'When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find that it is the same in all her music.' In one of the most passionate memoirs ever written, Karen Blixen recalls running a farm in Africa at the start of the twentieth century, and the love affair that changed her life. A new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.
Tony Atkinson spent his early days suspended in a cage outside the sixth-storey window of his family home in 1920s London. So perhaps he was always destined to see the world differently, and to land in ridiculous, hilarious situations. There was the time he came between Winston Churchill and his bowel movements (an accident that required a parliamentary explanation) or the high-society shenanigans he witnessed after accidentally becoming footman to Queen Elizabeth - all just tasters from this wickedly funny, deeply touching and irresistibly charming memoir. Tony and the love of his life came across the pond as 'ten-pound Poms'. While he forged a successful career as an anaesthetist, his greatest gift may be for telling rousing tales. A Prescribed Life is a warm and engaging chronicle about love, medicine and royalty spanning almost a century of great change.
A new collection of Teffi's best autobiographical non-fiction writings Ranging from portraits of Rasputin and Lenin to observations on the Russian Revolution, and from profiles of cultural figures to moving domestic scenes, this short collection includes writings by the inimitable Teffi never before published in English. Everything is here - politics, society, art and literature, love and family life - and all is told in Teffi's multifaceted style: amusing, sincerely moving, ironic and always honest, pervaded by an intensely felt understanding of humanity's simultaneous tragedy and absurdity. Teffi (1872-1952) wrote poems, plays, stories, satires and feuilletons, and was renowned in Russia for her wit and powers of observation. Following her emigration in 1919 she settled in Paris, where she became a leading figure in the emigre literary scene. Now her genius has been rediscovered by a new generation of readers, and she once again enjoys huge acclaim in Russia and across the world. Her short-story collection Subtly Worded is also published by Pushkin Press, and her memoir Memories - From Moscow to the Black Sea will also be published by Pushkin Press.
With an extraordinary supporting cast including Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, this is the untold story of two of the most fascinating figures to emerge from the turbulent world of post-war British art.
Denis Wirth-Miller and Dicky Chopping were a couple at the heart of the mid-twentieth century art world, with the visitors' book of the Essex townhouse they shared from 1945 until 2008 painting them as Zeligs of British society. The names recorded inside make up an astonishing supporting cast - from Francis Bacon to Lucian Freud to Randolph Churchill to John Minton. Successful artists, although not household names themselves, writing Dicky and Denis off as just footnotes in history would be a mistake.
After Denis's death in 2010, Jon Lys-Turner, one of two executors of the couple's estate, came into possession of an extraordinary archive of letters, works of art and symbolically loaded ephemera the two had collected since they met in the 1930s. It is no exaggeration to state that this archive represents a missing link in British art history - the wealth of new biographical information disclosed about Francis Bacon, for example, is truly staggering.
The Visitors' Book is both an extraordinary insight into the minutiae of Dicky and Denis's life together and what it meant to be gay in pre-Wolfenden Britain, as well as a pocket social history of the era and a unique perspective into mid-twentieth century art. With reams of previously unseen material, this is a fascinating and unique opportunity to delve into post-war Britain.
Lucy Hone's beloved 12-year-old daughter Abi was killed in 2013 in a devastating car accident in Canterbury that also claimed the lives of Abi's friend Ella and Ella's mother Sally... Lucy works in the field of resilience psychology, helping ordinary people exposed to real-life traumatic situations. When faced with the incomprehensible fact of Abi's tragic death Lucy knew that she was fighting for the survival of her sanity and her family unit...She used her practice to develop ways to support her family in their darkest days, and to find a new way of living without Abi... In What Abi Taught Us Lucy shares her story and research so that others can work to regain some sense of control and take action in the face of helpless situations...
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language and family Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of 'autotheory' offering fresh, fierce and timely thinking about desire, identity and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its centre is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes the author's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family making. Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry for this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.