Announcing When One Door Closes by Peter Sissons

  • August 05, 2010 13:43
  • Katy Scholes

Biteback is delighted to announce it has secured the memoirs of veteran broadcaster, Peter Sissons, from PFD for an undisclosed advance. In When One Door Closes, Sissons, one of Britain’s most popular and outspoken news anchors, describes an extraordinary career at the heart of British broadcasting. He says, “I’m delighted to be publishing my story with Biteback and am looking forward to working with Iain Dale and his team on the project.” When One Door Closes is published in January 2011 and is a lead title for Biteback.

Iain Dale says: “I grew up watching Peter Sissons and was thrilled when I was offered the chance to publish his fascinating story. This isn’t just a book about news, it’s about Liverpool, the Beatles, being shot and much more besides. Peter isn’t afraid to launch both barrels when necessary and he gives some brilliant insights into what it’s like working in fast moving news operations and also the difficulties modern day news journalists encounter. It’s a life story, but it’s also a book that will appeal to anyone involved in news or wanting to get into journalism.”


SIX terrific review in the Sunday Times

  • August 02, 2010 13:28
  • Katy Scholes

Dominic Sandbrook, reviewing Michael Smith's Six: A history of Britain's secret intelligence service called the book "engrossing", and comments, "As a rollicking chronicle of demented derring-do, Smith’s book is hard to beat. His research is prodigious and his eye for a good story impeccable, and his book, while perfectly scholarly, often reads like a real-life James Bond thriller."

To read the review on the Sunday Times website, click here. You will need to log in to access.


The Oxford Times discusses the history of MI6 with Mick Smith

  • August 02, 2010 09:18
  • Katy Scholes

Maggie Hartford of The Oxford Times writes:

Sword-stick assassinations; the slow torture of Rasputin, found with his testicles crushed; a sack tied to a door, containing the remains of a secret agent. Michael Smith’s latest book, Six: A History of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, doesn’t stint on violence. He said: “People have accused me of exaggerating, because the subtitle is Murder and Mayhem, but it’s all there in the facts.”

Mr Smith made his name in 2004 as defence correspondent of the Sunday Times, exposing the Downing Street memos, which rocked the Bush and Blair administrations with suggestions that the intelligence that sparked the war in Iraq was ‘fixed’.

He is uniquely placed to write about spying and spies, because he used to be one.

To continue reading, please click here.

SIX is available to buy here, priced £19.99.


Anthony Seldon: How Brown and Clegg let it slip

  • July 29, 2010 17:25
  • Katy Scholes

Brown at 10
Brown at 10 by Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge, the definitive insider account of Gordon Brown's premiership, will be published by Biteback in Autumn this year.

From the Independent, 29th July 2010

Brown's decision to offer his own head stunned Clegg and made him realise, for the first time, that Brown was serious about trying to make a Lib-Lab pactwork

Read the whole piece here.


David Cameron's boldness: the overlooked clues

  • July 29, 2010 11:56
  • Katy Scholes

C9781849540308Writes author of Campaign 2010: The Making of the Prime Minister Nicholas Jones:

In his television documentary – Five Days That Changed Britain – the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson chides himself for his failure to have predicted that in the event of an inconclusive general election David Cameron might attempt to establish a coalition government.

I too was taken totally by surprise by the boldness of Cameron’s ‘big, open and comprehensive’ offer to Nick Clegg and his skill in negotiating a deal that paved the way for a joint Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration.

But just like Robinson I too overlooked vital clues. In his case, the BBC’s political editor says senior Liberal Democrats did tell him during the campaign that they thought Cameron was capable of repeating Disraeli’s bold risk-taking and pulling off a post-election deal.

‘If only I’d listened more to those two Lib Dems, I would also have predicted Cameron’s boldness’, says Robinson.

Immediately I heard the election-night exit poll suggesting that the Conservatives would fall short of an overall majority I feared my book – Campaign 2010: The Making of the Prime Minister – was about to become a car crash for my publishers Biteback.

But as a drowning author I still had one straw to clutch to: the year I spent researching Cameron’s background and early career had convinced me that if anyone could pull off a last-minute sensation, it was the leader of the Conservative Party.

From the moment Cameron took the initiative the day after the election and made his offer to the Liberal Democrats, I had a feeling that he would still make it to 10 Downing Street and I held to that view despite Gordon Brown’s counter offer.

What had so impressed me about Cameron was that whenever the chips were down, he held his nerve and took a risk. Speaking without notes to the Conservatives’ 2005 party conference – his first-ever speech at a party conference – was a gamble for any leadership candidate.

Nor did he over react when Gordon Brown dithered about the on-off general election of 2007. Cameron then risked all in the immediate aftermath of the scandal about the abuse of MPs’ expenses in 2009 by standing up to the Tory grandees and insisting they repay excessive claims.

On the eve of Brown’s resignation as Prime Minister and the Queen’s summons to Buckingham Palace, Cameron was still not sure he could secure an agreement with the Liberal Democrats; he told Nick Robinson he remembered saying to his wife Samantha ‘it’s not going to happen, I am going to remain Leader of the Opposition’.

I find it comforting now to hear Cameron come across sounding so relaxed about such a knife-edge moment. Needless to say a nerve-wracked author had nothing like the composure of the Prime Minister to be!

Campaign 2010: The Making of the Prime Minister is available to buy here, priced £9.99