John Betjeman: The Biography
This biography takes the reader from Betjeman’s troubled childhood in north London, through his blossoming at Oxford; a gay fling with W. H. Auden; a clandestine marriage to a field marshal’s daughter; pranks as a film critic; wartime service and probable espionage in Ireland, to the glory days of his later years when his Collected Poems became a runaway bestseller. This book is a distillation of Bevis Hillier’s three-volume biography, authorized by Betjeman himself.
'Hillier's [biography] has a wealth of often-hilarious detail that Wilson never touches on' * Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph * 'Where anyone interested in Betjeman will dig happily away' * Sunday Telegraph/Seven * 'Bevis Hillier's fine biography joins the jubilations' * The Times/Books * 'A stupendous work in many ways' * Daily Telegraph * 'John Betjeman remains extremely popular' * BBC History * 'A fine portrait of a vulnerable, acerbic man with a teddy.' * BBC History * '[Hillier] has unearthed a wealth of detail and anecdote' * Glasgow Herald * Immensely detailed, intelligent, generous, sympathetic, and often entertaining * Allan Massie, Literary Review * A pleasure to read and use. * Evening Standard * A mosaic in which the true face of the man and his time is revealed * Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday * Hilarious and very poignant * Duncan Fallowell, Express * A triumph * Spectator * An awe-inspiring piece of scholarship ... Betjeman has had the best and most sympathetic biographer he could have wished for * Artemis Cooper, Evening Standard * Strikes just the right note. * Telegraph * The chubbiest, juiciest book of the year * Barry Humphries, Daily Telegraph * A mosaic in which the true face of the man and his times is revealed * Mail on Sunday * Sharply perceptive ... compelling ... A biography this good abolishes time in its own way, and triumphantly ensures Betjeman's survival * Peter Conrad, Observer * Fascinating * Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times * Hillier's enthralling, many-voiced biography is an awesome achievement. But it is no more than Betjeman's due * John Carey, Sunday Times * 'This user-friendly trade paperback... will be welcomed as a crucial reference work by students and aficionados alike' * Oxford Times * '[Hillier] has unearthed a wealth of detail and anecdote.' * Glasgow Herald *
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