Ultimate Library : Brilliant Biographies

We love learning about the lives of remarkable people – some celebrated others forgotten… These five biographical accounts range from an account of one cyclist’s rivalry with Lance Armstrong to an investigation into climbers Mallory and Irvine’s fatal attempt to climb Mount Everest to a memoir about the experiences of a Chinese immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York under constant threat of deportation…

1. Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was by Daniel Friebe

The first biography of Jan Ullrich, arguably one of cycling’s greatest talents who many thought would go on to dominate his sport. Following Ullrich’s journey from becoming Germany’s first Tour de France winner, to his rivalry with Lance Armstrong Friebe asks
what price can you put on sporting immortality? Throughout his career Ullrich was lauded as a German national treasure and sporting hero, but what happened to the man that never quite made it?

Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was

2. Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller by Oliver Darkshire

Following an apprenticeship in bookselling at Henry Sotheran Ltd Oliver Darkshire had intended to leave the profession for something less dusty and better paid. But he soon found the alluring smell of old books and the temptation of a management position irresistible. In between carrying teetering piles of first editions, fending off nonagenarian widows, and trying not to upset the store’s resident ghost, Darkshire found that the bookshop was home to a wonderful array of eccentrics, curios, and fellow book lovers.

Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller

3. The Third Pole: My Everest Climb to Find the Truth About Mallory and Irvine by Mark Synnott

Veteran climber Mark Synnott never planned on climbing Mount Everest. But a hundred-year mystery lured him into an expedition. George Mallory and Sandy Irvine were last seen in 1924, eight hundred feet shy of Everest’s summit. A century later, we still don’t know whether they achieved their goal of being first to reach the top. Mark Synnott made his own ascent up the infamous North Face, but tragic circumstances led him to focus on something bigger than Mallory and Irvine’s fates – understanding the
madness of the mountain and how it continues to draw in explorers.

The Third Pole: My Everest Climb to Find the Truth About Mallory and Irvine

4. Panos: My Life, My Odyssey by Panos Papadopoulos

This is a rags-to-riches story about a man who came from a Greek village, born to a father with three years’ schooling and an illiterate mother, whose down-to-earth Greek values formed the foundation of an entrepreneur who went on to build a multi-million-dollar fashion empire. Today, Panos Emporio is one of the most established luxury swimwear brands in the world, being the choice of celebrities and royal families amongst others. Panos’ life as an entrepreneur is a tale of passion and total commitment.

Panos: My Life, My Odyssey

5. Beautiful Country: A Memoir of an Undocumented Childhood by Qian Julie Wang

In China, she was the daughter of professors. In Brooklyn, her family is ‘illegal.’ Qian is just seven when she moves to America, the ‘Beautiful Country’, where she and her parents find that the roads of New York City are not paved with gold but crushing fear and scarcity. Qian Julie Wang’s memoir is an unforgettable account of what it means to live under the perpetual threat of deportation and the small joys and sheer determination that kept her family afloat in a new land.

Beautiful Country: A Memoir of an Undocumented Childhood

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