Former government ministers treated with rudeness by Jeremy Paxman need not read far into his memoir to discover why the presenter had such an urge to humiliate those in authority. As early as page six he recounts how his father, a former Naval officer, 'was accustomed to chains of command, and the merest suggestion of insubordination would send him into a fury, during which he'd grab the nearest hard object with which to beat whoever had provoked him. I was thrashed with sticks, shoes, cricket stumps, cricket bats or the flat of his hand.'
Why the first SAS soldiers were mad, bad - and VERY dangerous to know: The fearless killers who thought nothing of crossing the desert without water or boots
Ben Macintyre's book is the first ever fully authorised history of the SAS, covering its secret activities in World War II. Macintyre had access to a confidential, 500-page 'war diary' compiled by the regiment's archivists. It was a gold mine of first-hand reports from those who took part in one clandestine operation after another, from the regiment's formation in 1941 until 1945. A master at setting the pulse racing, Macintyre relates stories of raw courage and daring by extraordinary men whose chief characteristic was that they defied every convention.
The loves and lust of lonely Mrs Amis: Elizabeth Jane Howard's affairs with married men ended in tears, as did her marriage to cruel Kingsley
Kingsley Amis, who was married to her from 1965 until 1983, ended up absolutely hating Elizabeth Jane Howard (pictured). Amis was particularly aggrieved by her 'automatic assumption of the role of the injured party in any clash of wills', by her 'bottomless pit of neediness', and the theatrical way she had of unpinning her hair and slowly tossing it about.