From the author of a fine biography of Sophia Tolstoy (2010) this is an excellent life of the literary giant. Born in Berdychiv (incidentally also a birthplace of Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Horowitz), Grossman spent his life witnessing and covering monumental events that gave shape to the 20th century – man-made famine in the Ukraine, battle of Stalingrad, the Holocaust. With his moral compass always set to oppose totalitarianism, he’s not afraid to compare Nazi-crimes and Soviet atrocities, and shows parallels between the two ideologies.
On 15 October 1838, the body of a thirty-six-year-old woman was found in Cape Coast Castle, West Africa, a bottle of Prussic acid in her hand. She was one of the most famous English poets of her day. The story of her life, and the cover-up following her death, is extraordinary.
A biography of the C14th proto-historian whose ‘Muqaddima’, on the principles of history and rise and fall of dynasties, is widely held to be a work of genius. Irwin, intelligent and contrary, is awake to the deceptiveness of making too many modern parallels: rather, through Ibn Khaldun, the modern reader can access a pre-modern approach to understanding societies and the world.
Author, illustrator, librettist, puppet-maker, master of pseudonyms, owner of 20,000 books and 6 cats: there is so much to say about the Awdrey-Gore legacy that all we shall announce is that this is a very fine biography. And that Ogdred Weary had a suspiciously normal and fantod-free childhood.