Thursday, July 1, 2010

Exciting releases this month

The story of Britain's ultimate steam locomotives...

Andrew Roden, author of Mallard and The Flying Scotsman completes his successful trilogy for Aurum with a book about the finest and most powerful steam locomotive ever built in Britain.

Designed by the great William Stanier, the class began life in the Thirties as the 'Princess Coronation' class. The Duchesses were the flagships of the West Coast mainline for the LMS, designed to compete with the famous streamlined 'Pacific' class locomotives on the East Coast. Andrew Roden has talked to surviving drivers and firemen, and hose involved in the subsequent preservation of Duchess of Hamilton and Duchess of Sutherland, to tell the story of one of Britain's finest engineering achievements, including the restoration of Duchess of Hamilton to its original streamlined form.

Andrew Roden is the editor of the International Rail Journal. He lives in Cornwall.

Why Can't the Government do Anything Properly?

Richard Bacon and Christopher Hope's illuminating book is an immensely topical look at examples of the bureaucratic incompetence and bungling that affect us all.

Any single mother locking horns wih the Child Support Agency for maintenance from their father; any farmer nearly bankrupted waiting for rural support payments; any parent despairing at the black hole into which their child's SATS results have disappeared- all will testify to the endless delay, bureaucratic paralysis, computer breakdowns and blithering incompetence that characterise the government's dealings with us. And anyone who reads the newspapers might infer similar problems from similar fiascos concerning foreign prisoners, dentists' contracts, data transfer losses and tax credits- not to mention the looming introduction of ID cards: a litany of cock-ups commemorated with a string of exasperated reports from the long-suffering Commons Public Accounts Committee charged with conducting the sorry inquest.

Richard Bacon, as an MP for South Norfolk and a member of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, has direct constitency experience of all the problems he surveys. In a lively style he and his co-author, the Whitehall Editor of the Daily Telegraph, tackle the questions that the country are posing. Why is the government nowadays incapable of organising even the proverbial social event in a brewery? Why does it waste vast amounts of money in the process? If big companies can commission IT systems that work, why can't the civil service?

In this lively, shocking book Bacon and Hope look at ten notorious government fiascos, and the considerable effort that went into creating them.

"A great book about a great band. Chris Campion's recounting of the Police saga is well researched and often very funny." Stephen Davis, author of Hammer of the Gods

Ambition brought The Police together. It also tore them apart- but not before they became thebiggest band in the world and the first supergroup of the Eighties. In Walking on the Moon Chris Campion tells the full, uncensored story of their spectacular rise. Written with a fan's eye for detail, this no-holds-barred account follows the band from their early struggle to make a mark in the volatile late '70s punk scene, through their emergence- masterminded with the help of legendary manager Miles Copeland III- as an international rock phenomenon.

The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and are ranked at 70 in the Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Yet, although Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland have all released memoirs, until now there has never been a comprehensive and unbiased biography of The Police. Walking on the Moon features for the first time the arduous touring and recording schedule that saw the band crack America, the unorthodox business strategies that catapulted them to the top, and the bouts of infighting that caused their early demise. Campion details the shock 2007 reunion that saw them re-emerge as a global touring spectacle after a 20-year hiatus from the music industry and explores how the band members' conflicting personalities and the chaotic personal life of frontman Sting informed some of their biggest hits.

Much more than simply an entertaining romp, the book offers insightful critical analysis of the broader factors that enabled The Police's success, and reveals a band struggling to balance commercial ambition with a desire for artistic credibility. This is an epic tale of Eighties rock and the role played within it by one of the biggest names in music. A perfect gift for any fans of The Police from the former contributing editor to Dazed and Confused and Vice magazines. Chris Campion has also written for the Observer, the Daily Telegraph and Bizarre.

All of the above titles are released this month and are available on

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