A first-rate charmer with a devilish twinkle in his eye, Billy MacKenzie was a maverick figure within the music industry whose wild and mischievous spirit possibly did him more harm than good. As frontman of the Associates, gifted with an otherwordly, octave-scaling operatic voice, MacKenzie, together with partner Alan Rankine, enjoyed Top Twenty chart success in 1982. At the height of their success, however, they split. Over the ensuing years, MacKenzie gained a reputation for his unhinged career tactics, generous spirit and knack for squandering large amounts of record-company money. Born in Dundee in 1957 he was the eldest son in a large Catholic family. He was bullied at school and sought refuge in music. He was a schemer and dreamer, a breeder of whippets and a bisexual who kept quiet about his private life. During his lifetime, his unique vocal gift attracted the attention of Shirley Bassey, Annie Lennox and Björk. However, in the tradition of Scott Walker, Syd Barrett and Nick Drake, MacKenzie's tale is one of thwarted talent and, ultimately, tragedy. He was found dead, aged 39, at his father's home in Scotland, on 22 January 1997, having taken an overdose. The Glamour Chase is the colourful and frequently hilarious life story of a hugely talented singer, his whirlwind personality and his attempts to take on the music industry on his own, free-spirited terms.
For a small country, Scotland has produced a huge number of people whose brilliance and ingenuity have literally changed the world. In this amusing and informative book, aimed at children from 912, Gary Smailes tells the stories of 32 famous (and not so famous!) men and women, and their often bizarre inventions, who have put Scotland on the map. Includes: James Watt, Henry Bell, Thomas Telford, John Loudon McAdam (Transport); Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird (Communications); Robert Stevenson, Thomas Stevenson (Lighthouses); Barbara Gilmour, Alexander Grant (Food); Robert Melville, Patrick Ferguson (Warfare); James Douglas (Crime); James Baird, James Young Simpson (Medicine); Charles Mackintosh (Raincoats!)
Gary Smailes explores the darker side of Scottish history in this entertaining and informative book, written for children from 912. Featuring 25 true stories from the sixteenth century to the present day, Scottish Criminals introduces a motley crew of Scots (as well as a couple of heroes who might not have been so heroic after all), who have made their infamous mark in history from pirates and murderers to thieves, outlaws and even cannibals. All are vividly brought to life by award-winning children';s illustrator Scoular Anderson.
A classic which should be on every bookshelf,' - Scotland on Sunday Glasgow, the dear green place';, is the setting for Archie Hind';s acclaimed novel. Mat Craig is a young Glaswegian working-class hero and would-be novelist, whose desire to define himself as an artist creates social and family tensions. Set in 1960s Glasgow, The Dear Green Place is an absorbing and moving story, the whole book is invested with strong and sombre descriptions of the city around Mat.
Acclaimed children';s author Allan Burnett turns his attention to the Second World War in a book of explosively exciting and emotionally charged tales of bravery and adventure. Featuring the true exploits of soldiers, spies, pilots, sailors and many others, these stories, all based on interviews with these heroes themselves or their descendants, offer a unique, personal insight into the Second World War that no conventional history book can ever hope to match.
At the end of the First World War the modern Middle East was created by Britain and France, who carved up the old Ottoman possessions with scant regard for the wishes of those who lived there. Frontiers were devised and alien dynasties imposed on the populations as arbitrarily as in mediaeval times. It was destined from the outset to failure. Promises had been made to the Arabs during the War, but were not honoured, and brief hopes for Arab unity were dashed, leading to a bitter belief in western perfidy that persists to the present day. Britain was quick to see the riches promised by the black pools of oil that lay on the ground around Baghdad, and when France too grasped their importance, bitter differences opened up between the two allies, and the areas became a focus of a return to the traditional enmity between them.
an outstanding piece of work . . . utterly compelling' Scotland on Sunday a magisterial study' The Herald inspiring' The Scotsman Scotland's record as a producer of outstanding managers dwarfs that of any other country in the world. This excellent book provides vivid and fascinating insights into that remarkable distinction' Hugh McIlvanney A superb book which examines the contribution Scottish managers have made to the global game' Scottish Daily Mail A book that is already being viewed as a seminal tome' Daily Record Why has Scotland produced so many of the best football managers in the world? Based on exclusive interviews with the men themselves, their players or close friends and family, Michael Grant and Rob Robertson delve into the very heart of Scottish life, society and football to reveal the huge contribution that managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Jock Stein, Jim McLean, Kenny Dalglish, Walter Smith and a host of others have made to the world game. This original, brilliantly-realised and critically acclaimed study profiles the character and methods of each of the great Scottish managers, analysing their strengths and weaknesses, and examines their impact on both club and international football. It is a deeply-researched and compelling story which presents new material on many of the greats, particularly Busby and Stein, and highlights the enormous Old Firm contributions of, among others, Willie Maley, Bill Struth and Graeme Souness.
This complete collection of Agnes Owens' five novellas opens with 'Like Birds in the Wilderness', a portrait of brickie Mac. He's a straightforward guy with a talent for laying bricks and a liking for the drink who decides to head to the oil-rich north to seek his fortune. 'A Working Mother' is a wildly entertaining cautionary tale: while Betty's husband, Adam, broods and drinks (to be matched at times by Betty, just to be sociable) she flirts with their best friend Brendan and tries to avoid the roving hands of her new employer. They're all driving Betty crazy. 'For the Love of Willie Owens' takes a sensitive, canny look at wartime teenage pregnancy - a tale as relevant now as ever. 'Bad Attitudes' and 'Jen's Party' conclude the collection: both deadly, darkly funny stories about family relationships and love on the dole.
';A terrific collection,'; - The Times ';Her black humour and piercing observation bear comparison with the work of Muriel Spark,'; - Guardian ';It';s almost impossible to pick up this substantial collection and find anything more worthwhile to do for the rest of the day than read it cover to cover,';- Rosemary Goring, The Herald ';The woman is a genius,'; - Daily Mail 'Essential reading. It is Agnes Owens at her subtle, concise best - truthful, humane and quite brilliant' - Times Literary Supplement ';Her stories...carry the emotional clout of a knockout punch,'; - Observer ';Owens is a rare treasure,'; - Allan Massie, The Scotsman ';Acerbic, wicked, utterly honest, sly, gothic, brilliantly black deadpan funny,'; - Liz Lochead, Sunday Herald The complete life work of Agnes Owens in short stories - everything from Gentlemen of the West, Lean Tales, People Like That and 14 brand new unpublished stories. Witty and dark, Owens'; spare prose shocks and delights. Her talent for pithy, unsettling tales is as sharp as ever, confirming her place as one of Scotland';s finest contemporary writers.
Joanne Rowling was once a would-be published author like many others committed and determined. Now J K Rowling is at the heart of a global media phenomenon, wealthier, and more influential and successful than she could possibly have imagined. The Harry Potter novels changed her life, and the landscape of writing, publishing and bookselling for children forever. This unauthorised biography follows the transformation of a lonely single mother into a powerful inspirational businesswoman. J K Rowling's story is one of talent, hard work, self-belief and the transforming power of the imagination. From a remarkable insider perspective Lindsey Fraser tells the amazing tale that began one day on a train, when Rowling had forgotten to pack a pen. . .
Andrew Greig is a Scottish poet of sensitivity and resilience. He deals with high-risk situations from mountaineering to love and is particularly good at presenting the gamut of feelings involved in rites of passage: high endeavour, commitment, holding back, drift, release' Edwin Morgan A writer of integrity and imaginative energy' TLS A lyric poet of rare gusto' The Observer Alongside the mountain poems from Men on Ice, Order of the Day and Western Swing, Getting Higher features brand new material, facsimiles of previously unpublished material including his first poem, written in 1972 and illustrations and material from the National Library of Scotland archive. A beautiful collector's item full of illustrations, marginalia and notes.
Cixin Liu is one of the most important voices in world Science Fiction. A bestseller in China, his novel, The Three-Body Problem, was the first translated work of SF ever to win the Hugo Award.
Here is the first collection of his short fiction: these stories, including five Chinese Galaxy Award-winners, are a blazingly original ode to planet Earth - its pasts and its futures.
Liu's fiction takes the reader to the edge of the universe and the end of time, to meet stranger fates than we could have ever imagined. With a melancholic and keen understanding of human nature, Liu's stories show humanity's attempts to reason, navigate and, above all, survive in a desolate cosmos.
A whirlwind tour of Scotland as it existed two thousand years ago. Moffat provides insight into old-Welsh speaking Celtic societies, defies the modern notion of geographical and linguistic constancy, and takes us back to when the Sons of Prophecy ruled and when the English kings of Bernicia held sway over vast swathes of what is now Scotland.
In 1950, Ian Robertson Hamilton, a law student, took the Stone of Destiny from beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, leading to the outrage of the English establishment. This book sets down the chain of events which led to his decision to go to London, remove the Stone and a minute-by-minute account of the act and the aftermath.
This is the definitive guide to the man behind the office of First Minister. A book that will inform, entertain and surprise in equal measure this is a must for all political junkies and indeed anyone interested in the future of Scotland.
Buckle up there's a new Bourne in town. The time is now. The place is London. Meet Uzi, a disaffected, deadly ex-Mossad agent with revenge on his mind. When he gives details of a top-secret Israeli assassination operation to WikiLeaks, he makes himself a sworn enemy of the Mossad. But a mysterious, sexy woman known as Liberty is becoming strangely interested in him. Meanwhile, Iran is getting ever closer to building a nuclear weapon . . . What follows threatens to change the power balance of the Middle East and endanger the security of the world. The Pure is a high-octane, action-packed, adrenaline-pumping espionage thriller. Read it. Now. Praise for the author's The English German Girl: Absolutely compelling' The Guardian Well-researched and very moving' The Times Rings with such authenticity . . . his research is formidable' The Melbourne Age
Max Benitz reports from the frontline of a highly controversial war in a perceptive and revealing account of several months spent in Afghanistan with this world-famous infantry battalion. Training with them and living amongst them as they undertake their tour in Helmand province, Benitz gives a unique insight into the pressures faced by those who risk their lives every second of the day in one of the most dangerous places on earth. Fascinating and illuminating, The Scots Guards in Afghanistan reveals new insights into the war raging in Afghanistan and the men and women who bravely serve there for the British forces.
1951. Brighton. With the excitement of the war over and the Nazis brought to justice at Nuremberg, Mirabelle Bevan (retired Secret Service) thinks her skills are no longer required. After the death of her lover she moves to the seaside to put the past behind her and takes a job as a secretary at a debt collection agency run by the charismatic Big Ben McGuigan. But when confronted by the case of Romana Laszlo, a pregnant Hungarian refugee, Mirabelle discovers that her specialist knowledge is vital. With enthusiastic assistance from the pretty insurance clerk down the corridor, Vesta Churchill, Mirabelle follows a mysterious trail of gold sovereigns, betting scams and corpses to a dark corner of Austerity Britain where the forces of evil remain alive and well.
Dixie Deans is a true Celtic legend. Between 1971 and 1976, he scored 132 goals in 184 games and was part of the great Celtic team that swept to nine consecutive Scottish league titles and dominated a golden era of the national game. Dixie cemented his status in football folklore by becoming the first Scottish player to hit hat-tricks in two cup finals, but he is remembered just as much for the special bond he struck with the fans ties that remain as strong today, exactly 40 years after he first signed for Celtic from Motherwell. Now Dixie, a member of the Celtic Hall of Fame, opens his scrapbook of memories on a lifetime of adventures in the beautiful game of football. From the struggle of growing up in a one-parent family to losing his beloved mother just as his career was starting to blossom, to playing under the legendary Jock Stein, and alongside the likes of Dalgleish, Macari, McNeill and Connolly, Dixie recalls the tumultuous days of a roller-coaster career at the very pinnacle of Scottish football. This is a fascinating story, at times uplifting, heartrending, inspiring and haunting, proving that there really is only one, inimitable, Dixie Deans
In this book acclaimed military historian Trevor Royle examines Scotland's role in the Second World War from a wide range of perspectives. Throughout the conflict the country's geographical position gave it great strategic importance for importing war matériel and reinforcements, for conducting naval and aerial operations against the enemy and for training regular and specialist SOE and commando forces. Scotland also became a social melting pot with the arrival of Polish and numerous European refugees, whose presence added to the communal mix and assisted post-war reconstruction. The role played by women was also essential to the war effort: for the first time they were conscripted and worked on the land, in forests and in munitions factories such as the huge Rolls-Royce complex at Hillington. In addition to the important military aspects the exploits of the Army's renowned 15th Scottish, 51st Highland and 52nd Lowland Divisions in Europe and North Africa and the role played by the RAF and the Royal Navy from Scottish bases, for example Scotland was also vital as an industrial powerhouse and acted as the nation's larder. Culture, too, flourished, with a new generation of poets supporting Hugh MacDiarmid's Scottish Renaissance movement, which promoted the aims of Scots as a literary language. At the end of the war the new sense of internationalism encouraged the creation of the Edinburgh International Festival, which encapsulated the optimism that a brave new world was emerging. The war had a huge impact on politics, with national centralization achieved through the Scottish Office and the Scottish Grand Committee under the able guidance of Secretary of State Tom Johnston, who launched numerous initiatives to help the war effort and to create jobs. With the emergence of the post-war Labour government and the welfare state, nationalism went into decline and the dominance of socialism, especially in the west, paved the way for the command politics which dominated Scotland for the rest of the century. Based on previously unseen archives in the National Archives of Scotland, A Time of Tyrants is the first comprehensive history of the unique part played by Scotland and the Scots in the global war to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
I couldn';t stop turning the pages a great tale with a deep message'; George Robertson a thrilling escapade'; Bournemouth Echo At the age of nineteen, Glasgow-born John McCallum signed up as a Supplementary Reservist in the Signal Corps. A little over a year later, he was in France, working frantically to set up communication lines as Europe once more hurtled towards war. Wounded and captured at Boulogne, he was sent to the notorious Stalag VIIIB prison camp, together with his brother, Jimmy, and friend Joe Harkin. Ingenious and resourceful, the three men set about planning their escape. With the help of Traudl, a local girl, they put their plan into action. In an astonishing coincidence, they passed through the town of Sagan, around which the seventy-six airmen of the Great Escape were being pursued and caught. However, unlike most of these other escapees, John, Jimmy and Joe eventually made it to freedom. Now, due to the declassification of documents under the Official Secrets Act, John McCallum is finally able to tell the thrilling story of his adventure, in which he recaptures all the danger, audacity and romance of one of the most daring escapes of the Second World War.
Rangers have more than 100 trophies to the club's credit in an illustrious history but only one of those prizes has been claimed on foreign shores. The triumph over Moscow Dynamo in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final in the Nou Camp stadium is the achievement Ibrox teams have been attempting to emulate for decades since that famous win. To Barcelona and Beyond charts the twists and turns of that celebrated European campaign and tells the real story, in the players' own words, of the men who made it happen. Through a unique collection of interviews with all eleven of the Barca Bears and comprehensive biographical profiles, Paul Smith charts the journey of a group of home-grown players who went on to propel Rangers to continental glory and just where football's rollercoaster has taken them in the years that have followed. Each player had a major part to play in that most memorable of nights and each tells their story. With additional material studying the experiences of the army of travelling supporters and examining the business aspect of the 1972 triumph, To Barcelona and Beyond pays a lasting tribute to one of the greatest occasions in Scottish football.
"MacLeod is a splendid and elegiac narrator of neglected patches of Scotland's history and brings his poetic gifts again to this, the single most dreadful event in our nation's story" - The Observer "An unflinching record of what remains of Scotland's greatest human disaster in modern history" - The Herald Vibrating with endeavours for Britain's effort against the might of Nazi Germany, Clydebank was - in hindsight - an obvious target for the attentions of the Luftwaffe. When, on the evening of 13 March 1941, the authorities first detected that Clydebank was 'on beam' - targeted by the primitive radio-guidance system of the German bombers - no effort was made to raise the alarm or to direct the residents to shelter or flight. Within the hour, a vast timber-yard, three oil-stores, and two distilleries were ablaze, one pouring flaming whisky into a burn that ran blazing into the Clyde itself in vivid ribbons of fire. And still the Germans came; and Clydebank, now an inferno, lay illuminated and defenceless as heavy bombs of high-explosive, as land-mines and parachute blasters began to fall ...With reference to written sources and the memories of those who survived the experience, John MacLeod tells the story of the Clydebank Blitz and the terrible scale of death and devastation, speculating on why its incineration has been so widely forgotten and its ordeal denied any place in national honour.
Jock Murray looks back over an extraordinary and varied life in this entertaining autobiography. From humble beginnings on a croft in the Outer Hebrides, at the age of fifteen he went on to work in the Hydro tunnels on the mainland as the Hydro-Electric board embarked on some of the most ambitious civil engineering projects of the century. By seventeen he had sailed several times round the world and spent two years as a whaler in the Antarctic. And over a long career in the Metropolitan Police he served on 6 Divisions as well as in specialised squads (regional crime squad, flying squad, stolen car squad, central drug squad as well as several murder squads), which gave him an intimate and unrivalled knowledge of the murkier aspects of London life. In 1977 he was involved in Operation Ohio as the police dealt with a major and vicious spate of armed robbery in the Midlands and south of England. Since returning to Lewis he has maintained a high profile, both for his charity work (he has raised money for Leukaemia research and the Anthony Nolan Trust) as well as more controversial things, such as serving alcohol in his pub on Sundays and campaigning for Sunday flights and ferries. All this, and much more, is covered in this witty and amusing memoir which is bound to appeal to Hebrideans both at home and abroad, as well those with an interest in true crime and all readers who appreciate the story of those with a remarkable zest for life.