The Astronaut Wives Club
By Lily Koppel
As American astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from shy military spouses to American royalty: having tea with Jackie Kennedy, attending high society galas, and being featured on the cover of Life magazine. They quickly grew into fashion icons, donning sherbet-swirled Pucci dresses and lacquering their hair into extravagant rocket styles (to match their husbands' spaceships).Annie Glenn was the envy of the other wives, with her many magazine features; platinum-blonde bombshell Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favourite; homely Betty Grissom worried her husband was having affairs; Louise Shepard just wanted to be left alone to her card games; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a dirty secret. Together they rallied to form the Astronaut Wives Club, which has now turned into over 40 years of enduring friendship. Sexy and sophisticated, rich in melodrama, and set against the uniquely atmospheric backdrop of the Space Age, THE ASTRONAUTS' WIVES CLUB tells the real story behind some of the biggest heroes in American history, chronicling their romantic, domestic, and public dramas during the Mad Men era.
At the Coalface
By Catherine Paton Black
Growing up in a mining family, Cath's husband Doug promised his father he wouldn't follow in his dangerous footsteps. But after struggling with terrible poverty in 1970s Scotland, Doug decided a pit job would provide his wife and young family much needed security, despite extraordinary risks to life and limb.Every day, Cath kissed her husband goodbye, not knowing if she'd see him again as he went to work at the coalface. And while her husband toiled deep below, the mother-of-five put her cooking and cleaning skills to use in the colliery canteen. In good times and bad, the miner's wives pulled together as much as their men underground. Then Thatcher swept to power and suddenly loyalties were tested and a fight for survival of a different kind ensued. One for their very existence.
An Eagle in the Airing Cupboard
By Rex Harper
AN EAGLE IN THE AIRING CUPBOARD picks up where Rex Harpers first book, AN OTTER ON THE AGA, left off. It follows the fortunes of the Cornish RSPCA centre through one of its most testing twelve months. Once more it is a mixture of funny, touching and sometimes moving animal stories. And once more it features a cast of unforgettable characters, like Alfie and Blue, two hideously mistreated greyhounds that are rehabilitated at the farm, as well as the return of old favourites from Rex's first book, including his loyal dog Moss. Throughout, Rex evokes the sights, smells, sounds and spirit of the Cornish countryside in all its timeless beauty. He also encounters sickening cases of animal cruelty committed by humans unfit to care for any living thing. Funny, warm and evocative, it is a book that is, once more, set to melt and occasionally break the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.
By Laura Thompson
The author of the Somerset Maugham award-winning The Dogs: A Personal History of Greyhound Racing, and the brilliant biography Life In A Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford, Laura Thompson turns her highly acclaimed biographical skills to arguably the greatest crime writer in the world, Agatha Christie. 'Laura Thompson's outstanding biography . . . is a pretty much perfect capturing of a life' Kate Mosse, Book of the Year 2007It has been 100 years since Agatha Christie wrote her first novel and created the formidable Hercule Poirot. In this biography, Laura Thompson describes the Edwardian world in which she grew up, explores the relationships she had, including those with her two husbands and daughter, and investigates the mysteries still surrounding Christie's life - including her disappearance in 1926. Agatha Christie is a mystery and writing about her is a detection job in itself. But, with access to all of Christie's letters, papers and writing notebooks, as well as interviews with her grandson, daughter, son-in-law and their living relations, Thompson is able to unravel not only the detailed workings of Christie's detective fiction, but the truth behind her private life as well.Praise for Laura Thompson'Laura Thompson has certainly written the last word on Agatha Christie. Her book is a superb piece of biography' Literary Review'Affectionate, admiring, perceptive and absolutely convincing' Sunday Telegraph'This splendid account of [Christie's] life and work is unlikely to be bettered' Evening Standard'A triumphant success' Daily Mail'This book is a gem: fresh, intelligent and assured' Sunday Times'Laura Thompson is a fine writer . . . and one can't help admire the way she breathes new life into an intriguing tale' London Review of Books'Laura Thompson delivers the goods: a compelling narrative' The Times
The Autobiography of the British Soldier
By John Lewis-Stempel
From Agincourt to Waterloo, from Dunkirk to the Gulf War, and everywhere in between, one man has served in all these battles. This is the story of Britain at war from the perspective of that man. It is the autobiography of the British soldier. In a comprehensive series of first-hand accounts, this anthology offers a huge variety of views on the experience of war: from a letter written by Oliver Cromwell to the Speaker of Parliament, to a First World War's soldier's last letter home to his son, and a powerful description of what it was like to be on the Sir Galahad when it was hit by a missile in the Falklands conflict of the 80s, right up to life as a soldier on the ground in Basra.Winner of impossible victories, cannon fodder for the Western Front, thin khaki line against Hitler - wherever and whenever, the British soldier has done his duty - and more. This is his story.
Another Bloody Love Letter
By Anthony Loyd
Critically acclaimed writer and award-winning foreign correspondent, Anthony Loyd is also an ex-heroin addict. ANOTHER BLOODY LOVE LETTER exposes the thrilling and brutal reality of life as a war journalist - from the climax of war in Kosovo to tracking ambush commanders in Sierra Leone, confronting the danger and confusion of northern Afghanistan at the start of the 'war on terror', and the harsh realities of life in Iraq during the second Gulf War. But it is also the very human story of a man fighting to beat a heroin addiction and coming to terms with the death of a friend and colleague murdered by the RUF in Sierra Leone, and the death of his mother from a terminal illness at home. ANOTHER BLOODY LOVE LETTER takes the reader into the mind of a man who has chased war and death for more than half his life, and must now find clarity. It is a moving and powerful memoir of love and friendship, betrayal and loss, war and faith.