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Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics Hardcover – 26 Sep 2002
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We've had some excellent coverage for this book. Willie was on LOOSE ENDS (BBC Radio 4) on 28 September and has also done the following local radio interviews THE DAVID PRIVA SHOW (LBC), THE ROBERT ELMS SHOW (BBC LONDON LIVE), THEBRIAN MORTON SHOW (BBC RADIO SCOTLAND), THREE COUNTIES RADIO and BBC RADIO LEICESTER. The following local radio stations have run competitions with the book - BBC RADIO GUERNSEY, BBC RADIO NOTTINGHAM, BBC HEREFORD & WORCESTER,SCOT FM, BBC RADIO SOLENT, BBC WILTSHIRE SOUND. The excellent interview withWillie ran in the INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY magazine on 27 October and last month he was featured in the INDEPENDENT'S Passed/Failed slot. We've had diary stories in THE DAILY EXPRESS, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH and BOOKSELLER. John Walsh gave it a wonderful plug in his column in THE INDEPENDENT as has Terence Blacker in his column Reviews have been excellent 'This is not a serious book by any means, but it is a welcome relief from the usual hagiographies found in Debrett's and Who's Who, which will set very comfortably on the bookshelves of those who have given up hope of an entry in either.'Ross Golden Bannon, THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST 'I have not laughed so much in years, nor been so relieved that I did not know an author. You enter the world of William Donaldson at yourperil.'Byron Rogers, THE SPECTATOR 'This is probably the greatest bathroom book yet written.'Steve Jelbert, THE TIMES 'The most unputdownable anthology.... there's much to savour about this volume'John Walsh, THE INDEPENDENT 'In this breathtaking triumph of misdirected scholarship, Donaldson has found the ideal outlet for his splenetic wit and healthy disrespect for the great and the good.'Robert Chalmers, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'This new 600-page encyclopedia is the funniest book of the year, and quite possibly of all time.'Francis Wheen, THE WEEK 'There is plenty here to titillate and entertain...... ifyou are curious to know who bottle-fed a porpoise in a railway waiting room (Francis Trevelyan Buckland), or which king died after being bitten by a monkey (Prince Phillip's father), or whose feet were cut off so that he could fitinto his sarcophagus (the 10th Duke of Hamilton) or which hangman later became a hairdresser (John Ellis), then this book is for you. It will make a goodbog-book, with oodles of human quiddity and notoriety to detain you.'Christopher Silvester, THE EXPRESS 'This book aims to catalogue the infamous and egregious from the 'undergrowth' of British and Irish history, and it certainly achieves this.'Charlie Campbell, LITERARY REVIEW 'The publishers wanted a 'browsable and addictive collection of pen portraits of 1,500 extraordinary characters' and Donaldson's flair for finding the extraordinary has fulfilled this brief amply - giving readers a glorious gawp into the lives of outsiders and outlaws past and present.'THE BIG ISSUE BREWER'S ROGUES VILLAINS AND ECCENTRICS has also been mentioned in a number of Christmas round-ups. We had an extremely successful launch on Tuesday 8 October at the Pan Bookshop in the Fulham Road, with a wonderful array of villains and eccentrics there from Frankie Fraser to Sebastian Hawsley.
A browsable and addictive collection of pen-portraits of 1500 extraordinary characters from British and Irish historySee all Product description
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My personal favourite is the outrageously rich Georgian gentleman William Beckford, who travelled around Europe escorted by 24 musicians and once imported a flock of sheep because the view from his window in Portugal wasn't up to his standard. Back in England, he lavished his fortune building a vast Gothic house, but the 300 foot tower kept collapsing - perhaps because he insisted on keeping the builders paralytically drunk to encourage them to work longer hours.
As well as the entertainment value, William Donaldson throws in lots of illustrative asides and references other characters and books which may be of interest to the reader. It's a serendipitously entertaining ramble of a book, and every time I pick it up I seem to learn something.
A bit of a confession: I've taken to keeping mine in the bathroom to enjoy in those private moments.
As well as the patriotic feelings induced, this is one of the funniest books I've ever had my hands on. It's the perfect book to turn to if you have a few minutes spare and need a quick pick-me-up, as you can just dip in and out of it.
The only shortcoming, rather predictably, was the absence of some of my favourite rogues, such as Frank Bough, Stephen Milligan and Cecil Parkinson. But I suppose, everyone will have someone whom they think should be included but isn't.
In that regard, the book's biggest strength is to include many non-famous people, as it would have been far easier to have just profiled the "A-List" rogues. So, for example, we have the case of Gladys Elton, an 81 year-old resident of an old care home, who decided to do a striptease in front of the other residents and so caused 1 death and three further hospitalisations.
This book should be an essential addition to anyone who's sense of humour is slightly warped and who is appreciative of the seedier side of life.
No, it's too much. This is the kind of book that will suck away hours of your life if you let it. And you should.
A reference book to be dipped into at your leisure but will become a companion whenever reading a biography as it will provide a different view on the person concerned. Oddly there are some inclusions where the author has provided a kinder or less complete account of the person concerned but of course we each have our own opinions
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