Jon Snow is perhaps the most highly regarded newsman of our time; his qualities as a journalist and as a human being – his passion, warmth, intelligence, frankness and humour – are widely recognised and evident for all to see most nights on Channel 4 News and now in the pages of his first book.
His vivid personal chronicle is filled with anecdotes and pithy observations, and delightfully records his life and times since becoming a journalist in the early 1970s. He reported widely on Cold War conflicts in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Angola and Central America before becoming a resident correspondent in Washington D.C. in the 1980s, and he has met and interviewed most of the world’s leaders.
Drawing lessons from these experiences, he has pertinent things to say about how the increasing world disorder came about following the fall of the Berlin Wall; how the West’s constant search for an enemy has helped unhinge the world; and how and why the media have, in general, been less than helpful in drawing attention to key political and global developments.
Laurie Graham’s brilliant novel is the fictional diary of Maybell Brumby, a wealthy American widow who arrives in London in 1932 and discovers that an old school friend is in town: Bessie Wallis Warfield, now Mrs Ernest Simpson. Maybell and Wally are made for one another. One has money and a foothold in high society, courtesy of a sister who married well. The other has ruthless ambition and enough energy to power the National Grid. Before the year is out, Wally has begun her seduction of the Prince of Wales, and as she clambers towards the throne she makes sure Maybell and her cheque book are always close at hand.
So Maybell becomes an eye-witness to the Abdication Crisis. From her perch in Carlton Gardens, home of her influential brother-in-law Lord Melhuish, she has the perfect vantage point for observing the anxious, changing allegiances for and against Queen Wally, and the political contours of pre-war London.
When the crisis comes and Wally flees to the south of France, she insists on Maybell going with her. ‘Are you sure that’s advisable, darling?’ asks the King. ‘Of course it is,’ snaps Wally. ‘She’s the Paymaster General.’ Maybell’s diary records the marriage, the Windsors’ exile, and the changing complexion of the Greatest Love Story. It takes the sound of German jackboots at the gate and personal tragedy to make her close its pages for the last time.
‘Hotel California’ is an epic tale of songs and sunshine, drugs and denim, genius and greed, and is the first in-depth account of the LA Canyons scene between 1967 and 1976.
Hoskyn’s history of this vital period in the development of today’s great musical influences spans the rise of Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Eagles, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, and focuses on the brilliance and determination of David Geffen, the man who linked them all.
Covering genius, drug-crazed disintegration, and the myriad relationships between these artists and the songs that issued from them, and drawing on extensive interviews with countless stars, singers, writers, managers, executives and scenesters, ‘Hotel California’ is a pop-culture classic.
Joseph O’Neill’s grandfathers – one Irish, one Turkish – were both imprisoned during the Second World War. The Irish grandfather, a handsome rogue from a family of small farmers, was an active member of the IRA and was interned with hundreds of his comrades. O’Neill’s other grandfather, a hotelier from a tiny and threatened Turkish Christian minority, was imprisoned by the British in Palestine, on suspicion of being a spy.
At the age of thirty, Joseph O’Neill set out to uncover his grandfather’s stories, what emerges is a narrative of two families and two charismatic but flawed men – it is a story of murder, espionage, paranoia and fear, of memories of violence and of fierce commitments to political causes.
‘Know the Truth’ tells George Carey’s story from growing up in Dagenham to his experiences in the RAF in the early 1950s, of how he was to become Bishop of Bath and Wells and thereafter attained the position of Archbishop of Canterbury.
Utterly sincere and told with warmth and compassion, ‘Know the Truth’ shares George Carey’s story of marriage, family and friendship as well as addressing the wider political aspects of his time at Lambeth.