Russell Miller is a prize-winning journalist and the author of eleven previous books. He was born in east London in 1938 and began his career in journalism at the age of sixteen. While under contract to the SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE he won four press awards and was voted Writer of the Year by the Society of British Magazine Editors. His book MAGNUM, on the legendary photo agency, was described by John Simpson as ‘the best book on photo-journalism I have ever read’, and his oral histories of D-Day, NOTHING LESS THAN VICTORY, and the SOE, BEHIND THE LINES were widely acclaimed, both in Britain and in the United States. His authorised biography of Field Marshal Slim of Burma was a bestseller in 2013.
TRENCHARD: THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF THE FATHER OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE was published by Orion for publication in 2016 to tie-in with the centenary of the RAF.
BOOM: THE LIFE OF VISCOUNT TRENCHARD, FATHER OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE — Buy it here.
Hugh Trenchard loathed being known as ‘The Father of the RAF’, although the description was entirely appropriate since no man did more to ensure the creation of an independent air force. Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school and was greatly affected by his solicitor-father’s bankruptcy when he was 16. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, but he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912.
Although he was an indifferent pilot, he was quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflict. His rapid rise to commander of the RFC in France after the outbreak of the First World War was marked by a series of bitter disagreements with other senior officers he either didn’t like or didn’t trust. Through persistence and hard work he led his political masters by the nose to secure the future of the RAF as an independent force after the war, in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admirality and the War Office, and eventually became the first Marshal of the Royal Air Force. Even in retirement Trenchard remained a powerful influence, embarrassing his successors by issuing critical papers on defence issues. He never wavered in his belief that mastery of the air could only be achieved by offensive action, or in his advocacy of strategic bombing, until his death in 1956. His admirers claim he richly deserves the plaudits and his statue in Whitehall. His detractors say his influence led directly to the needless strategic bombing of Germany in the Second World War and the deaths of thousands of civilians.
‘Compelling and illuminating … Boom gives a magnetic and colourful portrait of the sort of life that could simply never be lived now’ Daily Telegraph
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publication Date: 13th April 2016
In 2011 the National Army Museum conducted a poll to decide who merited the title of ‘Britain’s Greatest General’. In the end two men shared the honour. One, predictably, was the Duke of Wellington. The other was Bill Slim. Had he been alive, Slim would have been surprised, for he was the most modest of men – a rare quality among generals. Of all the plaudits heaped on him during his life, the one he valued most was the epithet by which he was affectionately known to the troops: ‘Uncle Bill’.
Born in Bristol in 1891, the son of a small-time businessman, he was commissioned as a temporary Second Lieutenant on the outbreak of the First World War. Seriously wounded twice, in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia, he was awarded the Military Cross in 1918. Between the wars he served in the Indian Army with the Gurkhas and began writing short stories to supplement his income.
Promotion came rapidly with the Second World War, and in March 1942 he was sent to Burma to take command of the First Burma Corps, then in full flight from the advancing Japanese. Through the force of his leadership, Slim turned disorderly panic into a controlled military withdrawal across the border into India. Two years later, having raised and trained the largest army ever assembled by Britain, Slim returned to drive the enemy out of Burma and shatter the myth of Japanese invincibility which had hamstrung Allied operations in the East for so long. Probably the most respected and loved military leader since the Duke of Marlborough, he later became a popular and successful Governor-General of Australia in 1953, was raised to the peerage, and died in London in 1970.
This masterly biography has been written with the full co-operation of the Slim family.
Publication date: 8th August 2013
BARE-FACED MESSIAH: THE TRUE STORY OF L. RON HUBBARD — Buy it here.
L.Ron Hubbard published his “Dianetics – the Modern Science of Mental Health” in 1950. Shortly afterwards he founded the Church of Scientology, a religion which could, he claimed, cure 70 per cent of illnesses. Hubbard quickly became a multi-millionaire but his methods, particularly his alleged use of brainwashing, led to investigations in and exile from Britain, Australia and the USA. The history of Hubbard’s early years has always been shrouded in mystery, and for the last few years of his life Hubbard was said to have become a Howard Hughes-like recluse.
PUBLISHER: Michael Joseph
PUBLICATION DATE: 25 February 1988
THE SOVIET AIR FORCE AT WAR — Buy it here
Traces the development of the Russian aircraft industry, describes specific models of Soviet military aircraft, and recounts aerial confrontations in World War II.
PUBLISHER: Time Life
PUBLICATION DATE: 26th July 1984
THE HOUSE OF GETTY
The tormented saga of the Getty family reads like the script for Dynasty, interweaving boardroom battles, sex, money, drugs, power, crime, tragedy, and family intrigue. At the center stands the figure of John Paul Getty, the grandfather, an eccentric oil billionaire believed to have been the richest man in the world. Married and divorced five times, he had five sons, and yet was cheated of his dearest ambition-to found an oil dynasty. His angelic youngest son died at age twelve after years of illness. Of the remaining four sons, three proved to be hopeless businessmen and, one by one, dropped out of Getty Oil. Only one had the talent to take the helm of the family business, and he was groomed for the part. And then he killed himself. With his cherished hopes of a family dynasty crushed, John Paul built a magnificent museum as a monument for all time to his success. But money tainted even his philanthropy; the Getty Museum has become feared for its wealth and ability to pillage the art market. In the maneuvering that followed John Paul’s death, Getty Oil was sold; Texaco acquired it for $9.9 billion, the biggest corporate takeover in history. Award-winning journalist and writer Russell Miller has broken the embargo of silence that has surrounded the Gettys to bring us the extraordinary and often disturbing story of a unique American family. From the pioneering days in the Oklahoma oil fields to the bitter struggles over Getty Oil, we follow the rise and fall of three generations-all apparently cursed with the Midas touch.
Buy it here.
PUBLISHER: Michael Joseph
PUBLICATION DATE: 11 November 1985
NOTHING LESS THAN VICTORY: THE ORAL HISTORY OF D-DAY – Buy it here
The Normandy Landings, the largest amphibious operation the world has ever seen, marked ‘ the beginning of the end of the Second World War’. Russell Miller’s superb book offers a definitive account of ‘being alive in 1944, being young, and being at war’. Letter, diaries, memos and dozen of interviews with veterans from all sides recreate the deception plans and dry runs, the desperate German wait behind the Alantic Wall, the disagreement between Allies, the ghastly ordeal of Omaha Beach, Resistance sabotage operations and the first day of battle. Throughout, Russell Miller has enticed from his old soldiers not only astonishingly vivid memories with flashes of heroism and humour. . . these are the true voices of D-Day.’
PUBLISHER: Michael Joseph
PUBLICATION DATE: 7th October 1993
BUNNY: THE REAL STORY OF PLAYBOY — Buy it here.
PUBLICATION DATE: 1 March 1988
VE DAY: THE PEOPLE’S STORY
This inspiring book draws from first-hand interviews, diaries and memoirs of those involved in the VE Day celebrations in 1945. It paints an enthralling picture of a day that marked the end of the war in Europe and the beginning of a new era. VE Day affected millions of people in countless ways. This book records a sample of those views, from both Britain and abroad, from civilians and service men and women, from the famous and the not-so-famous, in order to provide a moving story and a valuable social picture of the times. Mixed with humour as well as tragedy, rejoicing as well as sadness, regrets of the past and hopes for the future, “VE Day: The People’s Story” is an inspiring record of one of the great turning points in history.
Buy it here.
PUBLISHER: Michael Joseph
PUBLICATION DATE: 1995
Buy it here.
As the creator of Sherlock Holmes, ‘the world’s most famous man who never was’, Arthur Conan Doyle remains one of our favourite writers; his work is read with affection – and sometimes obsession – the world over. Writer, doctor, cricketer, public figure and family man, his life was no less fascinating than his fiction. Conan Doyle grew up in relative poverty in Edinburgh, with the mental illness of his artistically gifted but alcoholic father casting a shadow over his early life. He struggled both as a young doctor and in his early attempts to sell short stories, having only limited success until his Sherlock Holmes stories became a publishing phenomenon and propelled him to worldwide fame. Whilst he enjoyed the celebrity Holmes brought him, he also felt that the stories kept him from more serious work.Beyond his writing, Conan Doyle led a full life, participating in the Boer War, falling in love with another woman while his wife was dying of tuberculosis, campaigning against injustice, and converting to Spiritualism, a move that would ultimately damage his reputation. During his lifetime Conan Doyle wrote more than 1,500 letters to members of his family, most notably his mother, revealing his innermost thoughts, fears and hopes: Russell Miller is the first biographer to have been granted unlimited access to Conan Doyle’s private correspondence. “The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle” also makes use of the writer’s personal papers, unseen for many years, and is the first book to draw fully on the “Richard Lancelyn Green” archive, the world’s most comprehensive collection of Conan Doyle material. Told with panache, “The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle” is an unprecedentedly full portrait of an enduringly popular figure.
CODENAME TRICYCLE – Buy it here
A wealthy playboy, incorrigible womaniser and dedicated gambler, Dusko Popov was one of Germany’s most trusted spies, one of Britain’s most successful double agents, and, some say, the inspiration for James Bond.
With full access to FBI and MI5 records, along with private family papers, his incredible adventures can now be told authoritatively for the first time. Recruited by the Abwehr in 1940, 27-year-old Popov immediately offered his services to the British. His codename was Tricycle.
Throughout the war he fed the Germans with a constant stream of military ‘intelligence’, all vetted by MI5, and came to be viewed as their most important and reliable agent in Britain. But when he was ordered by the Abwehr to the United States to report on the defences at Pearl Harbour, J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, failed to heed his warnings, distrusting all spies and detesting Popov in particular, whom he considered to be a ‘moral degenerate’. Facing the danger of exposure, arrest and execution on a daily basis, Tricycle went on to build up a network known as the Yugoslav Ring, which not only fed a stream of false information to Berlin but also supplied vital intelligence to the allies on German rocketry, strategy and security.
After the war Dusko Popov was granted British citizenship and awarded an OBE. The presentation was made, appropriately, in the cocktail bar at the Ritz. Codename Tricycle is a gripping and colourful portrait of a celebrated, glamorous, and daring double-agent who epitomised everything we associate with the life of the spy.
PUBLICATION DATE: August 2004
BEHIND THE LINES — Buy it here.
Compiled from interviews, diaries, letters and contemporaneous first-person accounts – many never before published – this oral history follows the adventures of the courageous men and women who volunteered for service with Britain’s Special Operations Executives and the United States’ Office of Strategic Services. They parachuted behind enemy lines, often alone, with orders to cause mayhem. Arrest almost always resulted in torture and imprisonment; sometimes in execution. In occupied France, equipped with false identities, they played a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Gestapo; in the Balkans they discovered that the fiery politics of the region were as dangerous as the enemy; in the Burmese jungle they led native marauders in surprise attacks against the Japanese.
Supported by a team of back-room boffins who dreamed up ingenious devices like exploding rats and invisible ink, the special agents of World War Two really were a breed apart. This is their extraordinary story, in their own words.
PUBLISHER: Jonathan Cape
PUBLICATION DATE: July 2002
MAGNUM: FIFTY YEARS AT THE FRONT LINE OF HISTORY – THE STORY OF THE LEGENDARY PHOTO AGENCY – Buy it here.
This book is a biography of Magnum, told largely in the words of its photographers. It offers a unique perspective on half a century of world history from an extraordinary group of men and women who were front line witnesses at virtually every major event in the last fifty years. Wars, famines, natural disasters, social, political and environmental crises…Magnum photographers were there. The agency has been inextricably linked with world events from its founding in the penthouse restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1947 to the present day. Magnum photographers have been acute observers of the human condition, photographing the richest people in the world, the poorest, the least known and the most celebrated, from Marilyn Monroe to Che Guevara, JFK to Nelson Mandela, Picasso to Kruschev.
This is multi-layered story. At one level, it tells how a small group of photographers – among them Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger – came together, established and nurtured a cooperative photographic agency that has survived against all the odds to become the most famous in the world. At a second level it is the story of the photographers themselves, a wonderfully disparate, colourful and sometimes temperamental group of men and women with little in common except photography and profound concern for their work. At another level it is the richly anecdotal story of their adventures around the world, their feelings about, and reactions to their assignments.
This is a book not so much about photography – Magnum is well served by such books – as about photographers.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 1997