It is now 50 years since the premiere of Dr No, the very first Bond film, with Sean Connery introducing 007 as the glamorous secret agent who would become the single most profitable movie character in the history of cinema. But James Bond was invented by one man, Ian Fleming, a wartime intelligence officer and Sunday Times newspaper man who lived to see only the very beginning of the Bond cult. John Pearson's famous biography remains the definitive account of how only Ian Fleming could have dreamed up James Bond, for he led a life as colourful as anything in his fiction, which in turn became a covert autobiography.
Heroes or villains? You decide.... In the 1960s, London’s gangland was ruled by two men: Reggie and Ronnie Kray. Building an empire of crime by intimidation, extortion, and terror on a scale never seen before or since, they feted stars of stage and screen, sportsmen, and even politicians to gain the respectability they craved. Read by acclaimed actor Martin Shaw, this is the true story of their rise and fall.
"great story aand it is true"
In the Year AD 80 the Colosseum opened with quite the longest and most nauseating organized mass orgy in history. It was a mammoth celebration on the grandest scale, a fitting inauguration for an arena built to epitomize all the majesty and power of the Roman Empire, a building which also held the seeds of that Empire's decay and destruction. As well as his vivid account of the erection of the Colosseum, Mr Pearson discusses the origins of death spectacles and their evolution into highly organized games
He was a lion of a man who helped shape the course of this century with his relentless ambition and fierce political instincts. Few have matched Winston Churchill's cunning or force of will. Few have seen the equal of his audacity on the battlefield or the determination with which he strove toward his own ideal of greatness. At the height of his power, he seemed to embody the ideals of the empire he helped sustain: valor, pride, and above all, tradition.
"Churchill the man"
Oil tycoon J. Paul Gerry created the greatest fortune in America - and came close to destroying his own family in the process. Of his four sons who reached manhood, only one survived relatively unscathed. One killed himself, one became a drug-addicted recluse and the third had to bear the stigma all his life of being disinherited in childhood. The unhappiness continued into the next generation, with the name Getty, as one journalist put it, 'becoming synonymous for family dysfunction'.
Jack Woodson was a thermal design engineer for four years until he was laid off from his job. Now, as a teacher, he faces new challenges. Conference calls have been replaced with parent conferences. Product testing has given way to standardized testing. Instead of business cards, Jack now passes out report cards. The only thing that hasn't changed noticeably is the maturity level of the people surrounding him all day. Learn Me Good is a hilarious first-person account, inspired by real life experiences.
"LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE"
These chapters in the life of Edward the Rake are dealt with frankly and light-heartedly. It is the story of a man who enjoyed himself and his indelicate advantages to the full, a penetrating and yet not unsympathetic portrait of the monarch and of the discreetly swinging social world that he created around him.
For over 50 years James Biggles Worth, D.S.O., D.F.C., M.C., has flown the skies. The mythical ace to end all flying aces, the fearless pilot of everything from Sop with Camels to the earliest jets, he emerged with glory from devilish scrapes all over the world. Yet until now Biggles has often been seen as a storybook caricature. A dashed fine chap, certainly. But not the extraordinary man he really was. Here, for the first time, is an insight into the 'real' man who made these adventures possible.
"An interesting chronological compilation"
Lady Diana Spencer married the Prince of Wales in 1981, very little attention was given to her feudal family. The once powerful Spencer dynasty was in disarray and seemed to have outlived its usefulness. In the years following Diana's death, however, the spotlight has turned and remained on the Spencers. Members of what appeared to be a dysfunctional aristocratic family have more than come into their own.
"The Shadow Dynasty"
Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell were the children of possibly the most selfish and mismatched couple in the annals of the British aristocracy. They became in the 1920s, in Cyril Connolly's words, 'a dazzling monument to the English scene... had they not been there a whole area of life would have been missing.' John Pearson describes the public and private life of this strangest and most flamboyant of literary families.
"well written, badly read"
It was a strong face, certainly - the eyes pale grey and very cold, the mouth was hard, the dark hair - greystreaked now - still fell in the authentic comma over the forehead. 'This is how John Pearson reacted to his first encounter with the real James Bond, an encounter probably unique in the annals of thriller writing.
In recent times the British monarchy has become an 'ultimate family' of international superstars, their adventures and personalities transmitted round the globe like episodes in the world's most popular soap opera. The process began with Queen Mary's transformation of the family into symbols of middle-class morality, but accelerated greatly with the televising of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation and the euphoric sense of a 'new Elizabethan age' about to begin in gloomy postwar Britain.
This is the inside story of the infamous Clermont Set: five friends who became the most stylish and exclusive gamblers in 1960s London. They included the Clermont Club's eccentric founder John Aspinall; Dominic Elwes, who was to betray the set's code of silence; the socialite owner of Annabel's, Mark Birley; flamboyant playboy James Goldsmith; and the infamous Lord "Lucky" Lucan.
A phenomenon and a legend in her lifetime, Barbara Cartland has held the world record four years running as the most prolific author alive. Now, with her novels being filmed and selling throughout the world, she has become a household name. But what of the woman behind the legend? Henry Cloud has looked back into her past life and tells of the unexpected hardships and the young girl's dreams that produced the first Barbara Cartland novels, written in her early twenties.