Publishing bandwagon cashes in on news

Click to follow

Have you got lots of book tokens from Christmas? And haven't got the faintest idea which books to get?

Have you got lots of book tokens from Christmas? And haven't got the faintest idea which books to get?

Then worry no more.

Our scouts have been out and about in the bookshops, looking at what's on offer, and we think these are the cream of the crop.

"David Blunkett: My Part In His Downfall" by Stephen Pollard.

Older readers will remember a prominent politician in the Labour government called David Blunkett who became briefly famous for his colourful private life, which led to his summary departure from power. Pollard had just published an intimate biography of Mr Blunkett, which did not mention either his colourful private life or his fall from power. This is the new, revised version of the book, which has been rushed out just in time for the general election, after which Mr Blunkett may well return to power, leading to another edition of this book.

"The Life of Alexander The Great" by Oliver Stone.

Stone's thesis in the book is that Alexander the Great would make a hell of a subject for a film, on the grounds that he conquered the known world, was good with the ordinary man, and is know to have had a drink problem. Or is it President Bush he's thinking of? Either way, it's nice to see this book rushed out just in time to commemorate the 2,308th anniversary of Alexander's death.

"Trafalgar: The Battle That Saved Britain," by A C Historian.

It's nice to see a book being rushed out just in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, which coincides neatly with the death of Admiral Nelson. Admittedly Nelson is famous for having had only one eye and one arm, but some readers may think that Mr Historian rather over-stresses the way in which many notable naval figures have similarly been disadvantaged (Long John Silver, Captain Hook, etc). Still, as disability and health and safety are such a modern preoccupation, perhaps that makes it a biography for our time.

"An Instant Book Rushed Out As Sincerely As Possible To Cash In On John Peel's Unexpected Death" by Rock Journo.

This is an instant book rushed out to cash in on Peel's unexpected and tragic death. As sincerely as possible. It contains pieces about him and photographs of him, occasionally smiling, with pictures of groups he made famous, very few of them smiling.

"Himalaya" by Michael Palin.

Nice to see this book being rushed out just in time for the anniversary of the formation of the mightiest range of mountains in the world. Fifty million years ago India was not part of Asia - it was an isolated land mass travelling northwards from Australia, and when it collided with Eurasia, maybe 40 million years ago, it pushed the land upwards to form Mount Everest and the other mighty peaks. Forty million years later, a sometimes tired-looking but always exquisitely affable British broadcaster arrived to have a look round, and wonder where to go next.

"The Peter Cook Mystery" by A Hack.

In the last few weeks of 2004 and the first few weeks of 2005, radio and television schedules were suddenly full of programmes about Peter Cook, tributes to Peter Cook, even full-length plays about Peter Cook. What was the reason for this explosion of interest in a comedian who had passed quietly away in the previous decade? Andrew Hack decided to investigate.

"To begin with," says Mr Hack, "I was struck by the fact that there were also lots of programmes about Peter Pan at the same time, and I genuinely wondered if the media had somehow got Peter Pan and Peter Cook mixed up. Then I found out that Peter Cook had died exactly 10 years before, and this was all just a rush to get programmes out to cash in on it. Like my book."