PUBLISHED IN JULY – PRE-ORDER NOW
From Morley Boy to Westminster Knight
by Sir Rodney Brooke
“Few, if any, public servants can match Sir Rodney Brooke’s 60-year record … six decades of unbroken service across local government, the NHS, education, utilities and beyond surely give him a unique perspective…” – The Guardian
Sir Rodney Brooke has had an eventful life at the sharp end – thanks to a career that led him from 15-year-old school-leaver in Yorkshire to the corridors of power at Westminster… and all points in between. In The Winding Stair, his sparkling collection of memoirs, he takes readers through its highs and lows – beginning as a reporter on his hometown Morley Observer newspaper and ending with a CBE, knighthood and honours from five more countries. In so doing, he reveals hitherto unknown details behind six decades’ worth of controversial headline moments and colourful personalities.
As a former chief executive of West Yorkshire County Council, he shares fascinating background into the mysterious death of Helen Smith in Jeddah; the Bradford City fire, in which 56 people were killed; and the handling of the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.
As Emergency Controller in the event of nuclear war, he was told to shelter in a Pennine underground lair – and restore order as Geiger counters said to emerge. Read how Halifax invented the guillotine; why dogs could bark at night in Otley but not Ossett; how the law told householders in Huddersfield to whiten their doorsteps before 8.00am or be fined five shillings; and why the press camped on his Ilkley lawn after he resigned over the notorious ‘Homes for Votes’ episode – when Dame Shirley Porter was surcharged £42.5m.
Accounts of how he organised the final reading of the Riot Act and interviewed a talking dog with Mrs Thatcher’s press spokesman, Sir Bernard Ingham, are found among tales of Princess Diana’s underwear in Roundhay Park, Princess Margaret and the cakes at Leeds/Bradford airport, sex and the Poll Tax, the murky Dolphin Square scandals and how Trafalgar Square very nearly became Nelson Mandela Square. For anyone interested in current affairs and the reality behind politics, The Winding Stair – From Morley Boy to Westminster Knight is not to be missed.
by Paul Thompson and John Watterson
Published 11 August 2022 – Advance orders taken now*
Beware of the Bull – The Enigmatic Genius of Jake Thackray is the first, much-anticipated biography of the late, great Yorkshire singer-songwriter.
Admired by Neil Gaiman, Jarvis Cocker, Jon Richardson and Arctic Monkeys, among others, Jake is increasingly recognised as one of the greatest and most original songwriters of the twentieth century; a unique talent and master storyteller, whose songs are full of wit, poetry, irreverence and humanity.
The book reveals a life as extraordinary as his writing: the hard childhood in the terraces of Leeds, remarkable Catholic education and formative years in France and war-torn Algeria; the first career as an inspirational, unorthodox, highly creative teacher; the meteoric development as a writer and performer, and discovery by the BBC; the Abbey Road recordings and impact on The Beatles; the fame and fortune brought by a remarkable television career… and Jake’s rejection of it all. It is the story of a charismatic, complex, self-effacing man who remained an enigma even to his friends.
The book has been written with the full support of Jake’s family. With exclusive access to his personal papers, it includes a wealth of previously unpublished letters, poetry and lyrics, and is illustrated with many rare and never-before-seen photographs. Through it all, Jake’s voice is heard afresh, and his life and work better understood.
Hardback – 480 pages
*Postage and packing included with UK orders only. Overseas customers may call us direct on 00 44 113 225 9797 during UK office hours, or order via this site and we will then reply to quote the required amount of postage for your country
PUBLISHED JUNE 17 – PRE-ORDER NOW
Lost Childhood and a Boy’s Journey for Justice
by Richie Barlow – with Becky Bond
Foreword by Niall Paterson, of Sky News
Richie Barlow recently celebrated his 40th birthday, a landmark date he never thought he would reach. Many were the times – when struggling to survive a desperate childhood and adolescence – that he clinged to a dream of simply making it to 22.
Abandoned by his abusive mother and stepfather and placed in an inadequate care system, he was sold into child prostitution and criminality while the state apparatus knowingly failed him. But for the love and hope shared by surrogate parents Pauline and Anna, Richie would have become just another tragic statistic.
Yet released back into the world with few coping strategies, he was determined to make his mark and have his mistreatment at the hands of the local authority recognised in order to bring about the change necessary so others would not have to experience the sort of tribulations, tragedy and sorrow he had.
Now in a loving relationship, married to Ben, a new family around him and an award-winning dog walking business, Richie’s story is one of immense determination and inner strength against the longest odds. It is about hope, reclaiming the past and gaining justice. Harrowing yet uplifting, it is a must read.
A STORY OF SOCK TAGS AND SELF-BELIEF
As told to Neil Jeffries
Foreword by Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke
Imagine a world without ‘Marching On Together’, sock tags and Target Balls…
Imagine a world in which pre-match warm-ups and football shirts with the player’s name on the back never existed…
Imagine a world without Paul ‘The Beaver’ Trevillion… and that would be today’s world.
Although first and foremost an artist, Paul ‘The Beaver’ Trevillion is a man with brilliant ideas. His long career has introduced him to all the world’s leading sportsmen, as well as royalty and politicians, and given him unique insights, drive and self-belief.
Those qualities and ideas he took to Don Revie in 1972, aiming to improve the image of the club and bring the players closer to the fans. Inventions such as sock tags, Target Balls and a hit single that became an anthem are remembered and loved to this day. New concepts including pre-match warm-ups and putting a player’s name across his shoulders proved Trevillion was decades ahead of his time.
In fact everything he suggested worked and together his efforts turned Leeds United into the world’s first modern day football club. And it only took him 50 days. Now, 50 years later, all the incredible secrets of that brief but unforgettable time are revealed…
Size – 218 x 22 x 284. Hardback – 176 pages
By Georgina Hurst, with Becky Bond
On four occasions the life of Georgina Hurst has been drastically changed by events outside her control – but she has dealt with the implications head-on.
Most significant was the road smash that had apparently destroyed all her hopes and dreams, while as a passenger in a car driven by the man she thought she loved – and even returned to afterwards. Brought back to life four times, George suffered injuries in the crash so horrific and shocking her friends and family were told by surgeons to expect the worst. Yet it turned out to be the making of her – she would never have discovered a passion and talent for pole dancing otherwise.
This is George Hurst’s story of facing pain and the truth as physical rehabilitation forces her down a revelatory path of self-discovery; one which is still going on today, including surviving sepsis during the time of Covid. She can’t change her past, but with a defiant two fingers to self-pity, George’s future remains fearless – and her outlook on life inspirational.