The 10 Best new biographies

From Banksy and Putin to two men who ran across America

1. Night Thoughts by Robert Fraser

£30, oup.com

Colourful biography of the English surrealist poet David Gascoyne. Fabulous.

2. The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild

£20, virago.co.uk

The author's free-spirited great aunt left her life of fusty balls, Bentleys and stately homes for the 1950s New York Jazz scene.

 

3. Simon Cowell by Tom Bower

£18.99, faber.co.uk

From failed music exec to global pop behemoth. Not high art, but juicy as a pear and interesting.

 

4. Banksy: Man Behind The Wall by Will Ellsworth-Jones

£20, aurumpress.co.uk

Charting the move from spray-can-wielding teen tagging his youth club, to global art star.

 

5. Hitler: A Short Biography by AN Wilson

£14.99, harpercollins.co.uk

Despite some controversy stoked by a Cambridge Hitler expert, this is highly readable.

 

6. Putin: The Man Without A Face by Masha Gessen

£20, grantabooks.com

A brave book documenting Putin's corruption, and goes some way to explaining Russia's liberal turn.

 

7. Diamond Queen by Andrew Marr

£25, panmacmillan.com

Worth a read, even if just for the amusing anecdotes, which bring out the inner nosy parker in us all.

 

8. Wilkie Collins by Peter Ackroyd

£12.99, randomhouse.co.uk

Victorian author of sensational fiction and detective stories and a bosom buddy of Charles Dickens.

 

9. Running For Their Lives by Mark Whitaker

£17.99, randomhouse.co.uk

In 1928 two men ran across America in 80 days. An extraordinary tale.

 

10. A Card From Angela Carter by Susannah Clapp

£10, bloomsbury.com

A luminous picture of her friend and correspondent, this is an intimate, funny, ribald book.

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