Like most people, I'm a sucker for a feel-good story. Walk into any bookshop and you will see a veritable smorgasbord of inspirational biographies and autobiographies fanned across the shelves. They all have a common golden thread deftly woven through the chapters: overcoming adversity when the odds are stacked against you.
Having served in the Army Air Corps for a number of years and coming from a family military background, this tale of the original hero of The Great Escape, made famous from the Hollywood movie of the same name, location and dates, but an altogether completely different list of characters, (as only Hollywood could ever do and get away with) was most intriguing.
Right through his life, Nilsson went on pouring his life and experiences into his lyrics, and there are few artists whose life can be traced, song by song, album by album, as graphically as his. His split from his second wife, his experiences of drugs and alcohol, and his final, fulfilled family life with his third wife Una...
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was something of an enigma. At the age of three, he started studying Latin and, allegedly, finished reading a multi-volume history of England by the age of four. He is known as the founder of Utilitarianism, a leading theorist in the Anglo-American philosophy of law, and the spiritual founder of University College London.
I went to a Buckinghamshire library the other day to talk about my new book. It was a good night, chatting Professor Brian Cox. That's who I wrote about - an unauthorised biography of the science guru behind Wonders Of The Solar System and Wonders Of The Universe.
Clint Eastwood's biopic J. EDGAR, which is released in the UK on DVD this week, emphasises the psychosexual torment in the life of legendary F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover. This year's Pulitzer finalist Anthony Summers, whose biography Official and Confidential demolished the image of Hoover as national hero, writes here on the hard facts behind the movie's story.