10 May 2010
Congratulations to David Craig’s whose Fleeced! How we’ve been betrayed by the politicians, bureaucrats and bankers (Constable) has won this year’s Hammond-Whiteley Journalist of the Year award. Craig has previously won the award for his book Squandered.
Fleeced! exposes how over three trillion pounds - £50,000 for every person in Britain - has been taken from us by the ruling elites. Half was wasted in a splurge of hopelessly-managed public spending in the ‘boom’, while the other half evaporated in the ‘bust’ - siphoned off by city bonuses, vaporised by a collapse in pension savings and extorted to bail out the banks.
The Hammond/Whiteley Awards were established 28 years ago in memory of two Southwest England journalists, John Hammond and Carl Whiteley, who died suddenly within five days of each other in 1982. The prize ,a plaque with the names of winners, is worth £100.
28 Apr 2010
Congratulations to Cathy Class whose Cut is at 25 and Damaged at no 30 and Harry Keeble and Kris Hollington’s whose Baby X is at no 48.
28 Apr 2010
Writer swaps pen for the sword to return to Afghanistan.
For Captain Doug Beattie, soldier and author, life should be taking a more gentle turn. As the veteran of two tours of Afghanistan; as the winner of the Military Cross; as a father and grandfather; as a man who has witnessed more fighting, death and misery than any soldier could rightly expect to; he has done his duty. More than done it.
Yet in Autumn 2010 the 44 year-old will be back in Helmand battling the Taliban for a third time.
In 2008, two years after his first tour of ‘Afghan’, Doug returned to Helmand with his battalion for a second time despite having been due to retire. Now he is once again postponing the quiet life, leaving the wife and family who love him, and going to war with his comrades of 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, the people he refers to as his other family.
“I don’t really have a choice,” says Beattie. “I have a duty not just to the regiment which took me in almost thirty years ago, but also to the Afghan people. On both my previous tours I worked closely with the Afghan army and police. Some were rogues and scoundrels, but others were amongst the bravest and warmest people I have ever met. How could I – as someone who came to their country as a stranger and promised to help – simply walk away before the job is done?”
“I have been very privileged to be able to write and publish two books which have resonated with the public. But fundamentally I am not an author, I am a soldier. Soldiering has been at the core of my entire adult life. It is what I know best. It is what I do.”
Doug knows the effect his decision will have on his wife Margaret.
“When I told her the news she quite rightly said I wasn’t the only one who would be facing the hardships of a tour. In reality I had also committed her to another six months of constant worry.”
Doug is fully aware of the dangers he will face. In his second set of memoirs, Task Force Helmand (published in paperback by Simon & Schuster. His first book was the best selling An Ordinary Soldier), he describes the almost daily encounters with death, leading British and Afghan troops into repeated, exhausting battles with the Taliban.
“If 2006 was bad, then 2008 was off the scale. As soon as I got back to Afghan I wondered what I had let myself in for. I don’t imagine things will be any different this time.”
During the 2008 tour he took part in 50 major contacts, and had to cope with the shocking reality of suicide bomb attacks, serious casualties, and the stress of mentoring wayward Afghan soldiers who will one day be responsible for their nation’s security. Up and down Helmand, Doug and his team found trouble. They didn’t go looking for it. It came to them.
Almost every patrol produced another horror. At one stage his unit was in contact every time they left camp. Finally the brigadier in charge of British Forces ordered them not to exit the base. In Task Force Helmand Doug describes in vivid and candid terms the conflict in Afghanistan. He details the shattering reality of collateral damage – the death of a beautiful Afghan child, killed by a British mortar shell. He recounts his fury as the Afghan soldiers he is working with murder a Taliban prisoner whilst holding his own men at gunpoint. He talks of ferocious firefights with enemy fighters, often at grenade throwing range. He explains the devastation caused by suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices; the paralysing fear of being ambushed; the adrenaline rush of combat; and the sadness of losing colleagues. But he also shows how ordinary men can overcome awful, almost impossible, odds. Articulate and engaging, Doug Beattie does not pull his punches. He brings to life the chaos and the ferocity of the war with the utmost honesty and humanity.
Doug Beattie was born in Hampshire in 1965 but was brought up in Northern Ireland amid the ‘Troubles’. He joined the British Army aged sixteen and rose through the ranks to become RSM to Colonel Tim Collins in Iraq, where he won the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in 2003. He won the Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2006. Some of Doug’s exploits were featured in Channel 4’s Dispatches programme ‘Fighting the Taliban’. Doug officially retired from the army in 2009, but has maintained a territorial role. He will deploy back to Helmand in Autumn 2010. Away from soldiering Doug is president of his local branch of the Royal British Legion and a respected commentator on Afghan matters. Both of Doug’s books were co-written by Philip Gomm.
Praise for Doug’s first book An Ordinary Soldier:
‘Of the battalion of courageous tales to emerge from Iraq and Afghan conflicts, this extraordinary account by an ‘ordinary soldier’ is one of the finest’ Daily Mail, Books of the Year
‘A riveting read’ The Sunday Times
‘…exhilarating, bloody, moving and terrifying’ News of the World
28 Apr 2010
THE BIG FELLA: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin published by Nikki Christer at Random House Australia, has beaten twelve competitors to win this year’s prestigious Blake Dawson Award for Business Literature.
The book tells the compelling story of how BHP and its partner Billiton rose from the humblest beginnings in the Australian outback and on the Indonesian island of Belitung to starry heights on the great bourses of the world. Based on more than 60 exclusive interviews, it rips away the superficial gloss to expose the political and industrial forces that really drive big business in the 21st Century.
The $30,000 prize was launched by Blake Dawson, a leading international law firm, in 2004 and is the largest in Australia for business writing. The award is acknowledged as being one of the nation’s most important awards for business literature, attracting many impressive entries and covering a wide range of topics each year.
The judges – The Hon Mahla Pearlman, Professor Richard Fisher, George Maltby and Alan Cameron – chose The Big Fella from a shortlist of four titles. Guest speaker Thomas Keneally, author of Shindler’s Ark, Gossip from the Forest among others, announced the winner at a dinner in Sydney on April 27.
Peter Thompson, who lives in London and who had flown to Sydney for the occasion, said, ‘We’re delighted and honoured to have won this award. We’ve written five books together as co-authors and it looks like we’ve finally got the hang of it. With Robert working in Canberra and me in London, we exchanged chapters via the internet and the time difference meant we could turn our work around very quickly, often within a 24-hour cycle.’
Thompson’s fifteenth book, Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle of Crete 1941, was published in Australia on April 1 this year. The subject of his first book, written with Anthony Delano in 1988, was an unauthorised biography of the fraudster Robert Maxwell.
27 Apr 2010
The agency has six of the top 15 titles in a list of the top 20 Misery Memoirs for the 13 weeks to 27th March just published in The Book seller:
No 3 - Cathy Glass’s Hidden
No 5 - Cassie Hartie’s I Did Tell, I Did
No 7 - Cathy Glass’s Damaged
No 11 - Alice Jamieson’s Today I’m Alice
No 14 - Cathy Glass’s Cut
No 15 - Cathy Glass’s The Saddest Girl
Congratulations to all the authors and especially Cathy Glass with four titles in the top 15.
27 Apr 2010
This week’s non-fiction paprerback list shows Cathy Glass’s Cut at no 36 and Damaged at no 41 with Harry Keeble and Kris Holington’s Baby X down from no 16 to no 45.
02 Apr 2010
Congratulations to Cassie Harte whose I Did Tell, I Did has now sold 70,176 copies in the UK
02 Apr 2010
Baby X remains in the bestseller lists for a twelfth week – this week at no 19
30 Mar 2010
Tim Newark recently met Donald Trump who gave him a quote for Tim’s book Highlander ‘Great book. This is where I got my fighting spirit.”