Friday 9 December 2016

The death of Tony Judt Memoirs and biographies

Published 14/08/2010 | 05:00

The cover story of our Arts and Books section last weekend featured the writer and historian Tony Judt and his battle to continue working despite suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, which had left him a quadriplegic. Sadly, over the same weekend, he died, aged just 62.

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Judt was one of America's leading intellectuals. He wrote regularly for the New York Review of Books, including a remarkable piece called Night about his physical decline which can be found on the NYRB website and is worth looking up.

Perhaps his best book was Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. It came out in paperback in June and despite its formidable length (960 pages) it is one of the most readable and engaging histories of Europe since the war, a fresh and provocative overview.

Memoirs and biographies

After a few big names failed to pay off their giant advances last year, publishers this year are being more cautious. Where would they be without the British Labour Party? Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson have done well, but there's a lot riding on Tony Blair's book (£4.5m if the rumours are correct) which is out on September 1.

Also coming are Michael Caine's memoir (£1.5m) and Michael McIntyre's book (a staggering £2.2m for a young comedian's story, no matter how funny he is). The daddy of them all, however, is the $7m Keith Richards has got for his Life, which appears in October. Stephen Fry, Cheryl Cole and almost everyone from Coronation Street will also have books on the shelves this autumn.

Irish Independent

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