Dr Johnson & Mr Savage is the story of a mysterious eighteenth-century friendship. Richard Savage was a poet, playwright and convicted murderer who roamed through the brothels and society salons of Augustan England creating a legend of poetic injustice. Strangest of all his achievements was the friendship he inspired in Samuel Johnson, then a young, unknown schoolmaster just arrived in London to seek his literary fortune. This puzzling intimacy helped to form Johnson’s experience of the world and human passions, and led to his masterpiece The Life of Richard Savage, which revolutionized the art of biography and virtually invented the idea of the poet as a romantic, outcast figure.
Richard Holmes gradually reconstructs this alliance, throwing suprising new light on the character of Dr Johnson. This extraordinary book also questions the very nature of life-writing and exposes the conflicts between friendship, truth and advocacy which the modern form has inherited.
Tommy tells the story of an epic and terrible war through the letters, diaries and memories of those who fought it. Epitomised by the character of Sgt Tommy Atkins, Richard Holmes portrays the strength and fallibility of the human spirit, the individuals behind the epic conflict, and their legacy.
Seeing Wellington as a remarkable figure, Holmes follows his career from the ruins of his family seat in Ireland to the plains of India where Wellesley first gained his reputation as a brilliant commander, to the horrors of the Peninsular War and Waterloo.
Combining his astute historical analysis with semi-biographical examination, Holmes artfully illustrates the rapid evolution in military and political thinking of the time.