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Many memoirs, highly rated at the time of publication, slip into obscurity and fade away. We have dusted off a selection from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s that deserve to be revisited.
These books cover fishing, war, show business, colonial life, education, Soviet Russia, museums and the most common memoir theme, childhood.
A terrifically engaging biography about one of England's greatest novelists, and the glamorous, eccentric, debauched and ultimately tragic family that provided him with the most significant friendships of his life and inspired his masterpiece, Brideshead Revisited. This brilliantly original memoir unlocks for the first time the extent to which Waugh's great novel encoded and transformed his own experiences. In so doing, it illuminates the loves and obsessions that shaped his life, and brings us inevitably to a secret that dared not speak its name.
Moving from Islington to Exmoor; one small step for mankind but a very large one for 'Mail on Sunday' columnist Liz Jones.
Liz Jones lived the perfect urban life. The immaculate Georgian townhouse in a leafy London square. The glamorous career where she would hob nob (not the right word: these people don't eat biscuits) with models and movie stars and fashion designers. The Italian wardrobe stuffed with designer bags and shoes. The much younger novelist husband. But then it all goes horribly wrong. She discovers her husband has been having numerous affairs (with women who are younger, dimmer, slimmer) and realises that her pursuit of perfection has never made her happy, and probably never will. And so she decides to start all over again, burying herself alive in the middle of the bleak, unforgiving wilderness that is Exmoor National Park. 'The Exmoor Files' is a funny, honest, often brutal real-life account of what it is like to start all over again in an alien environment.