THE OLD VIC: The Story of a Great Theatre from Kean to Olivier to Spacey — Buy it here
The Old Vic, one of the world’s great theatres, opened in 1818 with rowdy melodrama and continued with Edmund Kean in Richard III howled down by the audience. One impresario, among the first of thirteen to go bankrupt there, fled to Milan and ran La Scala. In 1848 a chorus girl tried to murder the leading lady. In 1870 the Vic became a music hall, then a temperance tavern and, from 1912, under Lilian Baylis, both an opera house and the home of Shakespeare. By the 1930s great actors were happy to go there for a pittance – John Gielgud, Charles Laughton, Peggy Ashcroft, and Laurence Olivier. The Vic considered itself a national theatre in all but name.
After the second world war the Royal Ballet and the English National Opera both sprang from the Vic, and the National Theatre, at last established in 1963 under Olivier, made its first home there. In 1980 the Vic was saved from becoming a bingo hall by a generous Toronto businessman. Since 2004 Kevin Spacey, Hollywood actor and the winner of two Oscars, has led a new company there, and toured the world.
‘Coleman covers a lot of ground in this canter of a survey, and has a sharp journalistic eye for detail.’ Robert Gore-Langton, Spectator.
‘Anyone who loves this glorious, well-appointed London delight is bound to find much to please them in this homage to its history.’ Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide
PUBLISHER: Faber & Faber
PUBLICATION DATE: 2nd October 2014
THE NELSON TOUCH: THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF HORATIO NELSON — Buy it here
Admiral Horatio Nelson captures our imaginations like few other military figures. A mixture of tactical originality, raw courage, cruelty, and romantic passion, Nelson in action was daring and direct, a paramount naval genius and a natural born predator. Now, in The Nelson Touch, novelist Terry Coleman provides a superb portrait of Britain’s most revered naval figure. Here is a vivid account of Nelson’s life, from his childhood and early career at sea–where a high-placed uncle helped speed his advancement to post captain–to gripping accounts of his greatest sea battles. Readers will witness the Battle of the Nile, where Nelson crushed a French squadron of thirteen ships of the line, and the Battle of Trafalgar, where he died at the moment of his greatest triumph. What emerges is a man of strength of mind amounting to genius, frequently generous, always fascinated with women, often uneasy with his superior officers, and absolutely fearless. Nelson was a ruthless commander, whose instinct was not just to defeat the enemy but to annihilate him. Sure to appeal to readers of Patrick O’Brian and other seafaring fiction, as well as all military history and naval history buffs, this is a superbly written biography that gives readers the texture and feel of this magnificent life.
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2004
A novel about Sam Houston as president of the sovereign republic of Texas, who feared annexation by the United States and struggled with the help of Britain and France to keep Texas independent and maintain two great republics on the continent of north America. It is one of the great Ifs of history, and history was within an ace of going the other way.
“Our best historical novelist writing today” – A L Rowse, Guardian. “A gifted writer… A compelling tale” – Financial Times.
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1994
PASSAGE TO AMERICA -Buy it here
In the middle years of the last century more than two million men, women and children abandoned the British Isles. The Irish were ‘shovelled out’ by absentee landlords and famine; the English went west to escape poverty and slums.
Sea-sick, homesick, herded like cattle, dying like flies, they poured across the Atlantic from Liverpool to New York. They were swindled, robbed, insulted and terrorized at every stage.
Making brilliant use of original diaries and letters and contemporary newspapers and prints, Terry Coleman gives us an intensely vivid account of this heroic and historic exodus.
“This momentous movement has now found its perfect chronicler. Terry Coleman is that rare phenomenon, an absolutely original writer.”—Jan Morris, The Times
“A book which stirs the imagination and remains vividly in the memory.”—Times Literary Supplement
PUBLICATION DATE: 12 November 1992
THE RAILWAY NAVVIES — Buy it here
The story of the men who built the railways, the unknown labourers of the nineteenth century who blasted, shovelled, and drank their way across Christian England and carved out of the countryside a new architecture unparalleled in grandeur since the building of the cathedrals.
“Vivid and perceptive. Something of a landmark.”—Asa Briggs, The Guardian
“A brilliant book about a magnificent and vanished race of men.”—The Listener
PUBLISHER: Head of Zeus
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2015
THE LINERS: A HISTORY OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC CROSSING — Buy it here
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1997
FANTASY GENERAL: THE OFFICIAL STRATEGY GUIDE (SECRETS OF THE GAMES SERIES)
PUBLISHER: Prima Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1996
THATCHER’S BRITAIN: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE PROMISED LAND
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1987
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1982
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1979
OLIVIER – Buy it here
Olivier was the greatest classical actor of his day, matinee idol, Hollywood star and Oscar winner, film director, West End impresario, and then first director of the National Theatre. Coleman was arts correspondent of The Guardian when Olivier was at the National and knew him for twenty years. This is the standard biography, the only one to be written with free access to Olivier’s private papers, diaries, and letters and to those of Vivien Leigh, his second wife.
“Excellent. A fine and doubtless definitive biography” — New York Times. “One hell of a life” — Sunday Telegraph.
PUBLICATION DATE: 21st August 2006
NELSON: THE MAN AND THE LEGEND – Buy it here
A revisionist biography of a legendary hero who was undoubtedly a naval hero but also ruthless and a natural born predator, who came to see himself as the instrument of God. The first biography to be based on an original study of a mass of Nelson’s own manuscript letters and papers, many previously unseen and unused.
“Wittily ruthless” — Sunday Times. “Utterly convincing. A real pleasure” – London Evening Standard. “In the best tradition of revisionist history, well researched, at odds with received wisdom, and long overdue” — Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph.
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2004