In 1964, in Australia's remote outback, on the dazzling saltpan of Lake Eyre, Donald Campbell set out to drive his Bluebird car at over 400 miles an hour - faster than any man in history. Things went wrong from the start: unseasonal rains, a sodden lake bed in which every high-speed run slewed dangerously, money running short...even an Aboriginal curse. WIth death shimmering on the horizon before him, the lonely Campbell tried to hold his nerve until he broke the record. Campbell would lose his life eventually on Coniston Water, with over thirty years passing before his body was recovered in 2001, but this strangest - and greatest - of all his world record attempts was witnessed by a young reporter. John Pearson's classic book about Donald Campbell is an extraordinarily compelling and moving portrait of a modern tragic hero, fighting a battle with inhospitable elements and the outer limits of technology - and, above all, with himself.
Illustrated throughout, The Bluebird Years details what really happened in the final, fateful crash in which Donald Campbell attempted to break the world water-speed record to 300 mph. New analysis is featured by Ken Norris, Bluebird's Designer.
Egg-heads in an ivory tower? Dreary boffins carrying out useless research at the tax-payer's expense? Computer-nerds? Do such figures make you think of people working in humanities and social sciences in universities? This book shows just how wrong such representations are!
Generations are familiar with the haunting black and white television footage of Donald Campbell somersaulting to his death in his famous Bluebird boat on Coniston Water in January, 1967. It has become an iconic image of the decade. His towering achievements, and the drama of his passing, are thus part of the national psyche. But what of the man himself? The son of the legendary Sir Malcolm Campbell who was famous for being the ultimate record-breaker of the inter-war years - he broke the land speed record nine times and the water speed record four times with his Bluebird cars and boats - Donald Campbell was born to speed. He was outgoing and flamboyant, yet carefully orchestrated the image he presented to the world. Some saw him as a playboy adventurer; others, such as the radio producer on the twenty-first anniversary of his death, as a reckless daredevil with a death wish. He was known to take solace in extra-marital dalliances, and was obsessed with spiritualism. And in his final years, battered by a 360-mph accident while attempting the land record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and his prolonged and anti-climactic subsequent effort on the treacherous Lake Eyre in Australia, Campbell appeared a haggard and often frightened man. He had become trapped on his record-breaker's treadmill as he continually sought to prove himself to his illustrious father, in whose long shadow he felt forever trapped. DONALD CAMPBELL: THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK paints a fascinating portrait of an intense, complex, superstitious yet abnormally brave man who was driven not only by the desire to prove that he was worthy of the mantle of his father, but also by his fervent and unswerving desire to keep Britain at the forefront of international speed endeavour. This book generates a unique insight into how his desperate fear of failure finally lured him into taking one risk too many.
The definitive eyewitness account of Donald Campbell's 1964 land speed record attempt on Lake Eyre is not only a vibrant portrait of one of the world's most hostile and mesmeric landscapes, but also a compelling psychological drama driven by huge ambition, bitter rivalry, rare tenacity, a rarely glimpsed vulnerability and, above all, death-defying courage. This is the story of one man's obsession.
Britain's foremost writer on crime turns to the disappearance of Lord Lucan. The basis of the upcoming ITV drama, Lucan, starring Rory Kinnear and Christopher Eccleston For over thirty years, John Pearson has provided us with literary exposures of some of the most enigmatic people and underground organisations of our modern world. The Gamblers follows the fortunes of five men at the centre of the ultra-fashionable Clermont Set: the Clermont Club's eccentric founder John Aspinall; Dominic Elwes, who was to betray the Set's code of silence; the socialite owner of Annabel's, Mark Birley; the womanising, multi millionaire James Goldsmith; and the infamous Lord 'Lucky' Lucan. At the heart of the Set lay a belief that risk-takers are the people who make civilisation tick.Cruel, heartless and snobbish, they gambled with their fortunes and kept a stiff upper lip when they lost.This and a loyalty to each other that transcended everything else enabled them to rise above crises such as the long affair between Birley's wife and James Goldsmith, and the facial mutilation of the Birley's son by one of Aspinall's tigers.Pearson revels in the charisma, charm and wit of these dastardly but debonair millionaires, and reveals how their code led to one of the great unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century.
This collection brings together perspectives drawn from a range of international scholars who have conducted research into the applications of neo-tribal theory. The concept of the neo-tribe was first introduced by the French sociologist Michel Mafessoli (1996) to describe new forms of social bonds in the context of late modernity. This book critically explores the concepts that underpin neo-tribal theory, using perspectives from different disciplines, through a series of theoretically informed and empirically rich chapters. This innovative approach draws together a recently emergent body of work in cultural consumption, tourism and recreation studies. In doing so, the book critically progresses the concept of neo-tribe and highlights the strengths, weaknesses and the opportunities for the application of neo-tribal theory in an interdisciplinary way.
_____________________________ At Ronnie Kray's funeral, London crime expert John Pearson saw a man he didn't recognise - but who all the notorious criminals present deferred to. This is the remarkable true story of that man: 'the Englishman'. Investigations revealed that the Englishman was never mentioned in any of the previous books on organised crime, not because he wasn't involved, but because everyone was too scared to speak his name. Moreover, he was as legendary a figure on the streets of New York as on the streets of London. Pearson persuaded the mysterious criminal leader to talk to him - and the result was a story even more extraordinary than that of the Kray twins. Here Pearson reveals the true story of the Englishman who became the adopted son of Joey Pagano, the head of one of the major New York crime families. Here the Englishman tells the story that no-one else dared to tell. _____________________________ John Pearson's The Profession of Violence created the myth of the Kray twins, and remains a classic of true crime and the principal work on East London criminals.
Ever since the Kray twins invited John Pearson to write their 'official' biography more than forty years ago, he has been obsessed with them. After they were jailed in 1969 for thirty years for murder, Pearson's biography The Profession of Violence enjoyed a cult following among the young and was said to be the most popular book in H.M.'s prisons, after the Bible. Ron died in 1995. Reg followed him five years later, and both of their funerals drew crowds on a scale unknown for film stars, let alone for two departed murderers. Since then, far from fading with their death, public fascination with the twins has never flagged. Their clothes and memorabilia are sold at auction like religious relics. Ron's childlike prison paintings fetch more money than those of many well-known artists. And people still refer to them like popular celebrities. Why? This is the question Pearson asked himself, and over the past three years he has been re-examining their history, unearthing much previously unknown material, and has come to some fascinating conclusions. Notorious reveals new facts about the Krays' tortured relationship as identical twins; a relationship which helped predestine them to a life of crime; a relationship that made them utterly unlike any other major criminals. Pearson has discovered two new and unsuspected murders, along with fresh light on the killings of George Cornell and Jack 'the Hat' McVitie. There are facts about the twins' obsession with publicity, and how far this made them 'actor criminals' murdering for notoriety. Most riveting of all are the chapters which reveal how Ron Kray caused a major sexual scandal in which a prime minister, together with other leading politicians, condoned the most outrageous establishment cover-up in British politics since the war. Notorious contains many more surprises, but the one thing that emerges is that the Kray twins were not only stranger but also far more important than anyone ever suspected. Fascination with them will forever remain; they will never lose their role as the immortal murderers.