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

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