Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming book. Weaving together memoir and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography. Subtle and perceptive, Michael Holroyd finds surprising ways to understand the past and challenge our view of the future.
Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming book. Weaving together memoir and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography.
Learning to drive was no easy matter for Michael- the lessons required military precision when practising how to get in and out of his car correctly. His biographical subjects also had their difficulties- Bernard Shaw drove with reckless gusto when overtaking his eightieth year; Vita Sackville-West's car became a chamber for sudden romantic assignations and getaways; while Augustus John and his family careered through vulnerable villages as the poor vehicle, piled high with bohemian friends, stuttered and jerked along in first gear.
Wry, thoughtful and very funny, On Wheels is an elegy to the glamour of the car. Subtle and perceptive, Michael Holroyd finds surprising ways to understand the past and challenge our view of the future.
Besides the Lives of Augustus John, Bernard Shaw and Lytton Strachey (which was filmed as Carrington), Michael Holroyd has written two volumes of memoirs, Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. A Strange Eventful History won the James Tait Black Prize, and was a biography of two great theatrical dynasties which included Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, and her son Edward Gordon Craig. His most recent book, A Book of Secrets, combined memoir with biographies of a number of notable women. He has been president of the Royal Society of Literature and is the first non-fiction writer to have been awarded the British Literature Prize. He lives in London and Somerset with his wife, the novelist Margaret Drabble.
"A charming book...elegantly written" -- Alexei Sayle Telegraph "Holroyd's elegant little essays are a pleasure to read...these are witty, quotable jeux d'esprit" -- Nick Rennison Sunday Times "A great Christmas present for those hurtling towards their driving test. A subtle delight" The Lady "Jolly, illustrated salute to the cars in his own life and the lives he has biographised in a long literary career. Lovely. Toot! Toot!" -- Iain Finlayson The Times "A delightful memoir-cum-social history which is wry, self-deprecating and anything but stuffy. his elegant musings provide an ideal festive pick-me-up, compact enough to fit in a stocking, and packing enough pep to burn any rival off the road" -- Andrew Lycett Sunday Telegraph
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