Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking Forward to 2012

We're two weeks into the New Year, so if you haven't quite got round to joining the gym or learning a language yet, why not make it your resolution to read one of these great new books from Aurum:

The Austerity Olympics by Janie Hampton

It can't possibly have escaped anyone's notice that London's Olympic year has finally arrived. But while we're getting caught up in this summer's excitement, 2012 will also be a time to look back to when Britain last hosted the Games.

The London Olympics of 1948 were a vastly different occasion to this year's extravaganza. With the Blitz fresh in the city's memory and rationing still in force, the Games were organised for less than one hundredth of a per cent of 2012's massive budget. Janie Hampton's The Austerity Olympics is a vivid account of the Olympic Games of the past. With tales of athletes being ferried to events on double-decker buses and sewing their own kit in makeshift accommodation, the book depicts a world that is far removed from the Games of 2012. It will be a fascinating read for Olympic fanatics and sceptics alike.

Interviews with some of the athletes who competed in 1948 can be read in Kate Youde's fascinating article for the Independent here.

"[Hampton] has an illuminating sense of detail, and her book tells a story that goes beyond that of a sporting event - a story of innocence, hope and pride." The Daily Telegraph

"Hampton's excellent book should be compulsory reading for everyone involved in the 2012 London Olympics." Daily Mail Critics' Choice

Re-issued: April 2012
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Price: £8.99

The previous edition of The Austerity Olympics is available to buy here.

Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall by Will Ellsworth-Jones

From his home city of Bristol to Los Angeles, New York and London, Banksy's exhibitions have attracted huge audiences. New works of graffiti go viral almost instantly, and such is the commercial value of his work that people have hacked whole walls from buildings because they bear his trademark stencilled designs.

But how much do we really know about this notoriously secretive artist? How has he become the phenomenal success that he is today, and how does he protect his anonymity under the glare of worldwide fame? In Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall, Will Ellsworth-Jones pieces together his subject's life and builds a picture of the world in which he operates. Incorporating interviews with friends and enemies, those who knew him in his early, unnoticed days and those who have watched him come to terms with his new-found fame, this is a book that gets to the very heart of who Banksy is and what his life's work adds up to.

Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall is released in March. In the meantime, you can see a few of his best works at his official website.

Coming: March 2012
Format: Hardback, 320pp
Price: £20

Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity by Sonia Purnell

In May, Londoners will go to the polls to choose their next mayor. The question on the minds of many will be whether the capital keeps Boris Johnson or ends his four-year spell at City Hall. Speculation that he has one eye on Downing Street continues to bubble to the surface, but one thing remains certain: Johnson is Britain's most recognisable and comically self-deprecating politician. He has become notorious for his gaffes and attracted controversy with his candid manner, but has climbed to one of Britain's highest political offices nonetheless.

As a former colleague of Johnson's at the Daily Telegraph, Sonia Purnell holds a unique vantage point over the Mayor of London's remarkable career. In Just Boris, she examines how the archetypal old Etonian came to be a Man of the People capable of charming London; how a shy young boy from a broken home became one of our most distinctive political figures; and how the Johnson family has built a media and political dynasty.

The first comprehensive account of his life and career, Just Boris unravels a political enigma and asks whether the man who has made his mark on London has what it takes to be Prime Minister.

You can read Carole Cadwalladr's review of Just Boris for the Guardian here.

"Sonia Purnell must have had huge fun writing this wonderful book. The only person who won't be amused is Boris himself." Michael Crick

"Future biographers will always be in her debt. Purnell has accumulated a wealth of previously unknown detail." Andrew Grimson, The Spectator

Coming: March 2012
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Price: £8.99

Just Boris is available to buy in hardback here.

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