Biteback Publishing to publish Kenny MacAskill’s book on The Lockerbie Bombing

  • February 09, 2016 10:00
  • Vicky Gilder

Iain Dale, MD of Biteback Publishing, has acquired world rights to The Lockerbie Bombing by former Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSP. Rights were acquired from Caroline Michel at PFD.

On 21 December 1988, Pan Am flight 103 departed London Heathrow for New York’s JFK Airport. Shortly after take-off a bomb was detonated, killing all aboard and devastating the small Scottish town of Lockerbie below. Only one man, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, has ever been convicted of the crime, though no-one believes it was the work of a lone agent.

The Lockerbie Bombing is the definitive story of the atrocity and its aftermath from a man who has played a central role in the story. As Scottish Justice Secretary it was Kenny MacAskill who, in 2009, took the decision to release al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. In the book, MacAskill will detail the build-up to the attack, the international investigation that followed it, and the diplomatic intrigue that saw a Scottish court convened in the Netherlands. It explains the controversial release of Megrahi, the international dimensions of the case and the commercial and security interests involved. Finally, it will answer the questions of why and how the atrocity happened – and who did it.

Kenny MacAskill said: ‘A lot has been said and written about both Lockerbie and me. I was central to much of it. This is my chance to set out what happened, why and by whom. I’m delighted to be working with Biteback, who have shown a willingness to publish without fear or favour. This book challenges many of the powerful and I’m grateful for Biteback’s support.’

Iain Dale said: 'Almost thirty years on, and still so many questions surround the events leading up to the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and the investigations following it. As a central figure in the release from prison of the man held accountable for the bombing, Kenny MacAskill's account of the atrocity and its aftermath will cast new light on the affair, and I'm very pleased that Biteback will be publishing it. It is a book which will add a lot to what we already know.'

The Lockerbie Bombing will be published in May 2016, and supported by a major press campaign.

For more information please contact or call 020 7091 1260


February Releases from Biteback Publishing

  • February 08, 2016 12:00
  • Sam Jones

Little Cyclone

by Airey Neave

Little Cyclone is the extraordinary tale of one woman’s defiance during adversity. 24-year-old Belgian Andrée de Jongh appeared in the Bilbao British consulate in August 1941 accompanied by a British soldier; a soldier she had smuggled all the way from Brussels. The journey took them through Occupied France and over the Pyrenees and marked the beginning of a tumultuous and daring life for the woman who would come to be known as the World War Two ‘Little Cyclone’. Repeating this perilous journey countless times, de Jongh eventually established one of the most renowned escape lines of WWII, saving some 800 soldiers and airmen. Originally published in the years following the war, this story has proved to be as irrepressible as de Jongh herself.


Hammer of the Left

by John Golding

In this visceral, no-holds-barred account, Golding political classic describes how he took on and helped defeat Labour’s Militant Tendency during the early 1980s, providing not only a vivid portrait of political intrigue and warfare, but a timely reminder for the party of today of the dangers of disunity and of drifting too far from electoral reality.




Europe: In Or Out

by David Charter

This revised and updated edition of David Charter’s essential guide addresses the real issues surrounding a potential exit from the EU – including jobs, travel, immigration, investment, sovereignty and justice – and investigates the consequences both for the country and for the person on the street. This is a must read as the inevitable referendum approaches.





by Michael Crick

Widely acclaimed as a masterly work of investigative journalism upon its original publication in 1984, this political classic examines the origins, organisation and aims of the secret Trotskyite organisation known as Militant.

Operating during the mid-1980s, the faction caused damaging rifts within Labour before it was eventually quelled by more senior members. Many have drawn parallels between the divided party of the 1980s and the controversial rise of left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn – Michael Crick’s book is an essential and timely reminder of a turbulent time in Labour's history.


Hillary Rising author James D. Boys on the beginning of Hillary Clinton's nomination campaign

  • February 02, 2016 13:00
  • James D. Boys

Hillary, it’s Cold Outside…

As voting finally gets under way in the 2016 US presidential election, it is more than merely Hillary Clinton’s personal ambitions that are on the line; a potential political dynasty is at stake, and dependent, in part, on the turnout in the remote state of Iowa, where voters have gathered together in a series of caucuses to help determine who will become the 45th President of the United States.

Hillary Clinton has been here before, of course. Eight years ago, she entered the presidential campaign with every imaginable advantage: exceptional financial backing; universal name recognition; apparent party support; and plenty of political IOUs to cash in.  Yet all of these came to nothing in the end as her presidential ambitions crashed and burned. Hillary Clinton failed to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for a variety of reasons; poor campaign management, poor electoral tactics and a sense of hubris all contributed to doom her presidential aspirations in 2008.  If Hillary Clinton is to be elected President of the United States in November, it is vital that her campaign learn from the mistakes that were made in 2008 and not merely attempt to win using the same flawed tactics.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008 was impacted by decisions made during her 2006 re-election bid for the Senate. She needed to secure an overwhelming re-election result to position herself for 2008’s presidential campaign. This, however, precluded early campaigning in Iowa, forcing her to yield the state to Barack Obama and John Edwards, who both invested time and money in the state, leaving Hillary Clinton to play catch-up months later. Not surprisingly, when Hillary Clinton’s team eventually began canvasing opinion in Iowa, they discovered that she was polling third, on the basis that voters claimed not to like her. Her competence and ability were not an issue, but in Iowa, where voters are inundated with presidential candidates and often meet them three times before deciding to vote for them, Hillary Clinton’s absence created a void that her opponents had filled and fashioned an impression of being removed from the process.

At the last minute, Hillary Clinton’s campaign flooded Iowa in a desperate attempt to convince voters that she was not taking their vote for granted. However, when the Iowa results were announced, Hillary Clinton’s numbers had barely moved and, as initially predicted, she came in third with 29.5 per cent of the vote, narrowly behind John Edwards on 29.8 per cent, but considerably behind Barack Obama’s winning number of 38 per cent. The result shattered the illusion of Hillary Clinton’s invincibility. Her campaign team appeared uncertain as to what to do next or what had gone wrong.  In hindsight, campaigning in Iowa may have been the single greatest mistake of the campaign.

Eight years later, Hillary Clinton is still not home and dry in Iowa. A Suffolk University poll conducted in August 2015 put her thirty-four points ahead of Bernie Sanders, leading 54 per cent to 20 per cent. However, on the eve of voting, voter intent has narrowed, leaving the result up for grabs. A RealClearPolitics poll-of-polls gives Hillary Clinton a six-point lead, but this is still far too close for comfort for a candidate with every possible advantage.

Despite the tightening of the polls, Iowa has provided Hillary Clinton with a majority of its votes, in a reversal of eight years ago. Alas, New Hampshire is looking like a lock for neighbouring son Bernie Sanders, in another reversal of the result from 2008. However, while losing New Hampshire would be embarrassing for Hillary Clinton, it would not be terminal, especially when the direction of the race is considered. As a local candidate, Senator Sanders is likely to exceed expectations in New England, but then run into problems. Even if the vote in New Hampshire is closer than Hillary Clinton would like, as soon as the race heads south and west, the demographics swing in her favour, particularly in South Carolina, where African-Americans constitute the majority of Democratic Party voters. A strong showing in South Carolina should establish Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner, irrespective of results in New Hampshire, and enable her to go into the Super Tuesday primaries on 1 March confident of a strong showing that could effectively end the race in her favour.

With remarkable insight, James D. Boys reveals the political ideology and core principles that have remained a constant throughout Hillary Clinton's truly extraordinary life. Get your copy of Hillary Rising now!


Comrade Corbyn is published today! Author Rosa Prince says it’s a must-read for followers of UK – and US – politics…

  • February 01, 2016 12:00
  • Rosa Prince

The headline on the Association Press wire service last week felt so familiar. Reporting the latest news in the surprisingly tight contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the battle to capture the Democratic presidential nomination, it read: ‘Clinton appeals to Democratic voters torn between head and heart’.

Substitute the word ‘Clinton’ for ‘Andy Burnham’ (or Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall) and ‘Democratic’ for ‘Labour’, and the same headline could have been used at any time during the heady days of last summer’s leadership contest, when Jeremy Corbyn’s three rivals tried in vain to stop his astonishing victory.

In the United States, where I have been spending a few months while finishing off my new book about Corbyn, it feels as if history is repeating itself, and not just with Clinton vs Sanders in the Democratic Party.

Republicans, too, are finding their nomination contest ambushed by an upstart outsider, who, despite receiving no backing from legislators or media commentators, and having had his chances repeatedly written off by the political establishment, seems to have struck a chord with grassroots activists.

The billionaire Donald Trump (who memorably suggested banning Muslims from America) and Comrade Corbyn may not have much in common on the surface, but their ability to defy expectation and capture the imagination of those who profess themselves sick and tired of politicians and politics as usual is striking in its similarity.

Of course, Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who, highly unusual for an American politician, unabashedly describes himself as a socialist, are far more simpatico. 

The surprise with which American political observers have greeted Sanders’s refusal to accept the presumption that the nomination was the experienced Clinton’s for the taking shows how little they paid attention to Corbyn’s coup on the other side of the Atlantic last summer.

So will Trump or Sanders – or even Trump and Sanders – go on to emulate Corbyn by winning their parties’ respective nominations? And can they do one better than him and actually capture the presidency?

I would answer ‘perhaps’ to the former question and ‘probably not’ to the latter. But then, if I learned one thing while writing Comrade Corbyn, it’s that, in politics, one should always expect the unexpected.

Comrade Corbyn is available now in hardback and eBook, with a limited number of signed copies!


January Releases from Biteback Publishing

  • January 06, 2016 11:00
  • Sam Jones

Happy New Year from Biteback Publishing! We’ve an array of very exciting new titles for you this January – from polarising politicians and rising revolutionaries to surprising spies and heroes of human rights…

Hillary Rising: The Politics, Persona and Policies of a New American Dynasty

By James D. Boys

An unbiased and revelatory insight into an illustrious career and fascinating life, Hillary Rising examines the highly intriguing former First Lady who looks set to be a frontrunner in the upcoming presidential election.

If Hillary secures the Oval Office, she will go down in history as the first female President of the United States, but what kind of leader would she make? Drawing on extensive interviews with close associates, together with recently declassified material from the Clinton archive, James D. Boys provides an extensive portrait of one of the most intriguing characters in recent political history.


The Witchfinder General: A Political Odyssey

By Joyce Gould

Joyce Gould’s memoirs weave an astounding tapestry of the Labour Party, the world of British politics, and her personal experiences at the centre of the evolution of both. A stalwart in the battles against racial and sexual discrimination, Gould humbly describes her own instrumental role in facilitating the key changes that have shaped the country in which we live today.




Equal Ever After: The Fight for Same-sex Marriage – and How I Made it Happen

By Lynne Featherstone

29 March 2016 marks the two-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom. Equalities Minister in the coalition government, Lynne Featherstone tells the story of her pivotal role in turning the dream of same-sex marriage into a reality. The road to this historic achievement was never smooth, and Featherstone’s resolute and tireless efforts inside Parliament were met with opposition and support from some of the most surprising places.



Guy Burgess: The Spy Who Knew Everyone

By Stewart Purvis & Jeff Hulbert

Stewart Purvis and Jeff Hulbert’s definitive new biography of one of the most successful spies and notorious traitors is the first book to include recently declassified material from the National Archives. This is the extraordinary true story of the spy who knew everyone, and how he became the man who knew no one.





Comrade Corbyn: A Very Unlikely Coup: How Jeremy Corbyn Stormed to the Labour Leadership

By Rosa Prince

Just how did Jeremy Corbyn, a middle-aged, middle-class, obscure party rebel, achieve the Labour Party leadership in 2015 with such a landslide victory? Honest, fair-minded and often surprising, Comrade Corbyn is a comprehensive biography that sheds new light on the current political climate and the life of Labour’s divisive new leader.




Hammer of the Left : The Battle for the Soul of the Labour Party

By John Golding

The ascension of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader will, for many, trigger only unhappy memories of the dark days of the 1970s and ’80s, when the party was plagued by a civil war that threatened to end all hopes of re-election. In this visceral, no-holds-barred account, Golding describes how he took on and helped defeat the Militant Tendency and the rest of the hard left, providing not only a vivid portrait of political intrigue and warfare, but a timely reminder for the party of today of the dangers of disunity and of drifting too far from electoral reality.



Europe: In or Out? Everything You Need to Know

By David Charter

With the issue of Europe still as prominent as ever, and a national referendum growing increasingly large on the horizon, this book – now fully updated and revised – is the essential and accessible guide that will help in understanding exactly what a ‘Brexit’ or continued EU membership would mean for you.