Back in stock after a long abscence, Heather Augustyn’s fabulous biography of Don Drummond. This is a comprehensive biography of a brilliant musician and his lover who forever shaped the course of ska, reggae, and popular music worldwide despite poverty, class separation, mental illness, racial politics, exploitation, and sexism that resulted in murder. Through the words of Don Drummond’s childhood friends, classmates, musicians, medical staff, legal counsel, and teachers, comes a first-hand story of his “unusual mind.”

They recall the early days in the recording studio, playing the instrumental backup for Bob Marley and others, and the … More

Born OTD in 1954, Robert Gerard Sands. This is the best-selling biography of the IRA resistance fighter and hunger-striker, Bobby Sands. In this updated, new edition, Denis O’Hearn draws from a wealth of interviews with friends, comrades, fellow prisoners and prison wardens, to provide a faithful and shocking insight into life in Northern Ireland’s H-Block prisons, an exploration of the motivations and thoughts of the Republican strikers and the story of one of the world’s most radical, inspirational figures.

Following his journey from its very beginnings – an ordinary boy from a working-class background in Belfast to a highly … More

Born OTD in 1871, Polish Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist, Rosa Luxemburg. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a world inimical to the voices of strong-willed women. She overcame physical infirmity and the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive and creative life—her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, and her love of science, nature and art.

Always opposed to the First World War, when others on the German left were swept up on a tide of … More

Born OTD in 1932, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author, Johnny Cash. In 1965, Cash and June Carter appeared on Pete Seeger’s TV show, Rainbow Quest, on which Cash explained his start as an activist for Native Americans. Johnny Cash used his stardom and economic status to bring awareness to the issues surrounding the Native American people. Cash sang songs about indigenous humanity in an effort to confront the U.S. government.

The graphic biography of the most famous country singer of all time – the Man in Black. Renowned graphic novelist … More

Born OTD in 1923, the late great Harry Leslie Smith. Harry was an English writer and political commentator. He grew up in poverty in Yorkshire, served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, & emigrated to Canada in 1953. After retiring, Smith wrote his memoirs, and about the social history of Great Britain in the 20th century.

A survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War veteran, a lifelong Labour supporter and a proud Yorkshire man, … More

In his heyday, during the 1960s & early 1970s, B. S. Johnson was one of the best-known young novelists in Britain. A passionate advocate for the avant-garde in both literature and film, he became famous – not to say notorious – both for his forthright views on the future of the novel & for his idiosyncratic ways of putting them into practice. But in November 1973 Johnson’s lifelong depression got the better of him, & he was found dead at his north London home. He had taken his own life at the age of forty.

Jonathan Coe’s biography is based upon unique access to the vast collection of papers Johnson left behind after his death, … More

Born OTD in 1933, American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the civil rights movement, Nina Simone. Simone’s bearing and stage presence earned her the title “High Priestess of Soul”. She was a piano player, singer and performer, “separately, and simultaneously.” As a composer and arranger, Simone moved from gospel to blues, jazz, and folk, and to numbers with European classical styling.

‘From her raging, handwritten letters to late-night phone calls with David Bowie, this biography gets up close and personal with … More

Born OTD in 1953, Kristy Marlana Wallace AKA Poison Ivy, guitarist, songwriter, arranger, producer, and occasional vocalist who co-founded the American psychobilly band The Cramps. Based upon work and materials compiled for the acclaimed and now much sought after 2007 Cramps biography. A Short History of Rock’n’Roll Psychosis, Journey To The Centre Of The Cramps goes far beyond being a revised and updated edition.

Completely overhauled, rewritten and vastly expanded, it now represents the definitive work on the group. In addition to unseen interview … More

When Kafka died in 1924, his loyal champion Max Brod could not bring himself to fulfil his friend’s last instruction: to burn his remaining manuscripts. Instead, Brod devoted the rest of his life to editing, publishing and canonizing Kafka’s work. By betraying his friend’s last wish, Brod twice rescued his legacy – first from physical destruction, & then from obscurity. But that betrayal was also eventually to lead to an international legal battle: as a writer in German, should Kafka’s papers come to rest in Germany, where his three sisters died as victims of the Holocaust? Or, as a Jewish writer, should his work be considered as a cultural inheritance of Israel, a state that did not exist at the time of his death?

Alongside an acutely observed portrait of Kafka, Benjamin Balint also traces the journey of the manuscripts Brod had rescued when … More

Otis Redding remains a living presence in the canon of American popular music on the strength of such classic hits… As a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and arranger, Redding was the chief architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis…

Yet, while Redding’s music has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul, an aura of myth and mystery … More