In the life of: 10 of the best biographies from 2019
Originally published on Wanted Online (13/12/2019)
1. ACID FOR THE CHILDREN by Flea (Headline)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers co-founder remembers his rough childhood as an LA street rat and how he ended up (sometimes naked) in the heaving stadiums of super stardom. Once from the top: “Boom bap boom ba boom bap.”
2. CATCHING TADPOLES - THE SHAPING OF A YOUNG REBEL by Ronnie Kasrils (Jacana)
The irrepressible “Red Ronnie” revisits the streets of Yeoville and his Yiddish roots, where the seeds of his activist life were planted. Mark Gevisser hails “his dash, his cunning, his humanity, his joie de vivre”.
3. THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by Prince (Penguin Random House)
A glorious hardback crammed with never-before-seen photos, pages of scrapbooks and scribbled lyrics and the beginnings of the memoir the enigmatic performer had started writing before he died.
4. THEATRE ROAD - My Story As Told To Sindiwe Magona by Thembi Mtshali-Jones (Karavan Press)
Beloved actress, singer and certified national treasure Mtshali-Jones sums up 70 years of a remarkable life and her stellar career on stage and screen.
5. MY LIFE AND RUGBY: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Eddie Jones (with Donald McRae) (Pan Macmillan)
One of the most admired coaches in the history of the game and a fount of anecdotes too. As well as looking back on his career, Jones dishes the inside story of England’s 2019 World Cup campaign.
6. ME by Elton John (Macmillan)
He’s still standing (just) and still dazzling the world on his final tour. Vulnerable, outrageous, miraculously talented. The diva flings aside the velvet curtain.
7. MRS ESCOBAR - MY LIFE WITH PABLO by Victoria Eugenia Henao (Penguin Random House)
Twenty-five years after the diabolical drug king was killed, his widow has finally spoken out. After marrying him at 15, she stayed by his side, through all the crime and violence, until the end. Strictly for fans of Narcos.
8. BEAST by Tendai Mtawarira and Andy Capostagno (Pan Macmillan)
"When he got mad, he was unstoppable," said John Smit. The long-awaited biography of the Zimbabwean colossus who arrived in South Africa with few belongings and one big dream.
9. UNFOLLOW by Megan Phelps (Quercus)
From a young age, Phelps sowed a whirlwind of hatred in the Westboro Baptist Church, the reviled homophobic and anti-Semitic sect. But at the age of 26 it all changed. Unfollow is a study of compassion and empathy.
10. TWO RIDERS WERE APPROACHING - THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JIMI HENDRIX by Mick Wall (Trapeze)
He was there when the dreams of the ’60s immolated and the blaze took him down too in a hideous surge of drugs and drink. The story of one of the greatest guitarists of all time has been told before - but never like this.