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High drama at the High Court
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The Independent Culture

Biographers will breathe more easily after the High Court failure of David and Victoria Beckham to remove more than 200 words from Andrew Morton's book Posh and Becks, due from O'Mara in October as an unofficial rival to the Man Utd's star's My World (from Hodder). If the couple's action had proceeded, the attempted gag (based on an alleged breach of confidence by an ex-employee) might have run into a novel defence from Morton's silk, Geoffrey Robertson - the new Human Rights Act. Great things are expected of the HRA; could it swat pesky libel lawyers too?

Biographers will breathe more easily after the High Court failure of David and Victoria Beckham to remove more than 200 words from Andrew Morton's book Posh and Becks, due from O'Mara in October as an unofficial rival to the Man Utd's star's My World (from Hodder). If the couple's action had proceeded, the attempted gag (based on an alleged breach of confidence by an ex-employee) might have run into a novel defence from Morton's silk, Geoffrey Robertson - the new Human Rights Act. Great things are expected of the HRA; could it swat pesky libel lawyers too?

Forget the fuss over Dean King's new biography: Patrick O'Brian's naval adventures of Aubrey and Maturin will live on. O'Brian acknowledged that it was Thomas Cochrane, nicknamed "the Sea Wolf" by Napoleon, who provided the inspiration for Aubrey. Cochrane too rose from midshipman to admiral and, like Aubrey, was a master of deceit with a colourful shore life. All of which is recounted by former Tory MP Robert Harvey in Cochrane: the life and exploits of the fighting captain, due from Constable Robinson.

The third Graham Greene Festival will take place at the author's school, Berkhamsted, from 28 September to 1 October. Norman Sherry, who spent 25 years working on Greene's biography, is among the speakers. Topics include Greene's skills in espionage and adultery and, in the novels, God and spies. Further details from: Ksherw9100@aol.com

Most people departing for holidays will have crammed in as many paperbacks as space will allow. But will we soon be packing a piece of portable technology that will enable us to choose from a whole library? Simon & Schuster, Little, Brown and Random House are now publishing a whole range of new titles into e-format. And Microsoft has attempted to break open the e-book market by announcing free downloads of the Microsoft Reader software which makes e-books readable on any computer with Windows 95 and later. The Reader can be obtained free at www.microsoft.com/reader

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