Born OTD in 1941, American singer, songwriter, record producer and arranger, Otis Redding. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. 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 has always surrounded the story of his life, which was tragically cut short at the height of his career by his death in a plane crash in December 1967.

Otis Redding is the biography that finally does justice to the unfinished life of the man who was once celebrated … More

Born OTD in 1887, Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest black leaders of the 20th century. His is a story of a man who launched an idea on the tide and created a flood in the worldwide development of black political consciousness. As the leader of America’s first mass political movement of black people, Gerbey’s achievements were both enormous in their scale and long-lasting in their effects. This is an in-depth biography and history of this great man who envisaged so much and inspired so many.

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Friedrich Nietzsche’s work rocked the foundation of Western thinking and continues to permeate our culture, high and low – yet he is one of history’s most misunderstood philosophers. Sue Prideaux’s myth-shattering book brings readers into the world of a brilliant, eccentric and deeply troubled man, illuminating the events and people that shaped his life and work. I Am Dynamite! is the essential biography for anyone seeking to understand Nietzsche, the philosopher who foresaw – and sought solutions to – our own troubled times.

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It is 1965, and Swinging London is coming into its prime years. The streets are alive with mods and rockers, playboys and good-time girls, all revelling in the blossoming artistic, creative and cultural energies of the decade. Amid the colour and chaos is a boy sporting drainpipe jeans, an immaculately tailored sports coat and a half-inch wide tie. A devoted fan of The Who, he looks the part in his pristine mod gear. As the lead singer of the Lower Third, his talent is shaping itself into something truly special. His name is Davie Jones.

In ten years, he will be unrecognisable as fresh-faced boy of 1965, and in just over fifty years, his death … More

Born OTD in 1907, Frida Kahlo, a Mexican artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature & artifacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country’s popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, & race in Mexican society. A reissue of the beautifully illustrated and authoritative biography of Frida Kahlo. Born near Mexico City, she grew up during the turbulent days of the Mexican Revolution and, at 18, was the victim of an accident that left her crippled and unable to bear children. To salvage what she could from her unhappy situation, Kahlo had to learn to keep still – so she began to paint.

Kahlo’s unique talent was to make her one of the century’s most enduring artists. But her remarkable paintings were only … More

Born OTD in 1944, English singer, songwriter and musician, Ray Davies. “It’s hardly a shock to learn that artists can be difficult, but over 40 years the Kinks have left a trail of wrecked hotel rooms, irate ex-wives and lovers and former bandmates driven to – and indeed over – the brink of a nervous breakdown. To pick one example from this biography of the band, on a US tour in 1987, the fractious Davies brothers set aside their usual differences in order to beat up the sound engineer. While peers such as Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney live like kings on the proceeds of long, mega-selling careers, the Kinks always managed to commit harakiri at the most commercially inopportune moment, despite having in Ray Davies a songwriter as good as any pop music has produced, as one listen to “Waterloo Sunset” will prove.”

The paperback edition of the bestselling biography. The Kinks are the quintessential British sixties band, revered for an incredible series … More

Born OTD in 1814, one of the most influential figures of anarchism & one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition, Mikhail Bakunin. In 1868, Bakunin joined the Geneva section of the First International, in which he remained very active until he was expelled from the International by Karl Marx & his followers at the Hague Congress in 1872. Although Bakunin accepted elements of Marx’s class analysis & theories regarding capitalism, acknowledging “Marx’s genius”, he thought Marx’s analysis was one-sided, & that Marx’s methods would compromise the social revolution. More importantly, Bakunin criticized “authoritarian socialism” & the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat which he adamantly refused, saying: “If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Tsar himself”

The spellbinding story of both the man and the theory, Bakunin chronicles one of the most notorious radicals in history, … More

On this day, 25 May 1895, libertarian socialist author Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for two years’ hard labour for “indecency”. This graphic biography of Oscar Wilde focuses on perhaps the most important phase of the Irish writer’s life: his two years behind the iron bars and stone walls of the brutal Victorian prison system. Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s grandson, has praised the “quality as well as the sensitivity” of The Season of Sorrow.

With two plays running in London’s West End and at the height of his success, Wilde was convicted of gross … More

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