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3096 Days

Author: Natasha Kampusch

Publisher: Penguin (2010)

3,096 Days is the remarkable and shocking true account of the kidnap of Natascha Kampusch in 1998, who relives her traumatic experiences in this amazing true story. On 2 March 1998 ten-year-old Natascha Kampusch was snatched off the street by a stranger and bundled into a white van. Hours later she was lying on a cold cellar floor, rolled up in a blanket. When she emerged from captivity in 2006, having endured one of the longest abductions in recent history, her childhood had gone. in 3,096 Days Natascha tells her amazing story for the first time: her difficult childhood, what happened exactly on that fateful morning when she was on her way to school, her long imprisonment in a five-square-metre dungeon, and the physical and mental abuse she suffered from her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil - who committed suicide by throwing himself under a train on the day she managed to make her escape. 3,096 Days is ultimately a story about the triumph of the human spirit. It describes how, in a situation of almost unbearable hopelessness, she learned how to manipulate her captor. And how, against inconceivable odds, she managed to escape unbroken.

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A Journey

Authors: Tony Blair, John Swannel

Publisher: Arrow (2011)

In 1997, Tony Blair won the biggest Labour victory in history to sweep the party to power and end eighteen years of Conservative government. He has been one of the most dynamic leaders of modern times; few British prime ministers have shaped the nation's course as profoundly as Blair during his ten years in power, and his achievements and his legacy will be debated for years to come. Now his memoirs reveal in intimate detail this unique political and personal journey, providing an insight into the man, the politician and the statesman, and charting successes, controversies and disappointments with an extraordinary candour. A Journey will prove essential and compulsive reading for anyone who wants to understand the complexities of our global world. As an account of the nature and uses of power, it will also have a readership that extends well beyond politics, to all those who want to understand the challenges of leadership today.

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A Life Discarded

Author: Alexander Masters

Publisher: Fourth Estate (2016)

Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap. A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation. A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

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A Mad World, My Masters

Author: John Simpson

Publisher: Pan Books

There are only a handful of places left on this earth where you can't buy a McDonald's hamburger or stay in a Holiday Inn - and John Simpson has been to them all. This hugely successful volume of writing is a celebration of some of the world's wilder places. His extraordinary experiences include stories about a television camera that killed people, about how Colonel Gadhaffi farted his way through an interview and how he - Simpson - mooned the Queen.

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A Man Called Dave

Author: Dave Pelzer

Publisher: Orion (2009)

'I don't blame others for my problems. I stand on my own. And one day, you'll see, I'm going to make something of myself.' These words were eighteen-year-old Dave Pelzer's declaration of independence to his mother, a woman who had abused him with shocking brutality. But even years after he was rescued, his life remained a continual struggle. Dave felt rootless and awkward, an outcast haunted by memories of his years as the bruised, cowering 'It' locked in his mother's basement.

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A Pride Of Tigers

Author: Sybil Marshall

Publisher: Penguin Books (1995)

Sybil Marshall was born in 1913 in one of the lowest and most isolated of the Black Fens in what was then Huntingdonshire. Apart from the Welsh blacksmith who arrived in Ramsay in about 1750 and founded the tribe of "Etherdses" there, all her antecedents except one can be traced to within a few miles of Ramsay, back at least to the beginning of the 18th century. She can, and does, claim to be a genuine fen tiger, one of the few still left of this endangered species. Being, as she puts it, "an afterthought" in her immediate family, "all eyes and ears", she grew up from babyhood looking and learning, absorbing and remembering. Fen tigers are inured to hardship and disappointment, but they rarely grumble and they never give up. Even so, Sybil considers herself especially blessed in being one of Will 'En's children - part of a clannish, warm, hospitable, gifted and laughter-loving family. It is about this particular pride of fen tigers that Sybil Marshall writes - her immediate family, her kin, and the friends and neighbours who all shared a life-style dictated by the environment and the isolation, and a philosophy part Christian and part immemorial superstition. Sybil herself is at the centre of this web of memories of personalities and peculiarities, triumphs and disasters, endurance and delight.

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A Time Of Gifts

Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor

Publisher: John Murray (1987)

In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on an extraordinary journey by foot - from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the first volume in a trilogy recounting the trip, and takes the reader with him as far as Hungary.

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A Very Expensive Poison

Author: Luke Harding

Publisher: Guardian Faber Publishing (2016)

1 November 2006. Alexander Litvinenko is brazenly poisoned in central London. Twenty two days later he dies, killed from the inside. The poison? Polonium; a rare, lethal and highly radioactive substance. His crime? He had made some powerful enemies in Russia.

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A Woman In Berlin

Authors: Anonymous, Antony Beevor

Publisher: Virago (2011)

Between April 20th and June 22nd of 1945 the anonymous author of A Woman in Berlin wrote about life within the falling city as it was sacked by the Russian Army. Fending off the boredom and deprivation of hiding, the author records her experiences, observations and meditations in this stark and vivid diary. Accounts of the bombing, the rapes, the rationing of food and the overwhelming terror of death are rendered in the dispassionate, though determinedly optimistic prose of a woman fighting for survival amidst the horror and inhumanity of war.

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Agent Zigzag

Author: Ben Macintyre

Publisher: Bloomsbury (2007)

The true wartime story of Eddie Chapman, second world war spy and double agent.

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