Margrave of the Marshes by John Peel
Despite the number of claims in publishers blurbs, not many people actually achieve the status of legend in their own lifetime. Fewer still actually deserve that status. John Peel is the exception which proves that rule, a Great Briton whose contribution to British culture is undeniable, without whom popular culture would never have become popular. Beloved by millions - whether for his unstinting championing of musical talent on Radio 1 or for his wildly popular Radio 4 show "Home Truths" - this is the astonishing book he began to write before his untimely death in October 2004, completed by the woman who knew him best, his wife Sheila. The first half of the book, written by John, describes with characteristic humour his early life, from child to man, including his school days and National Service. You can hear the unique Peel voice in every sentence - rarely, if ever, before has a voice been so successfully transferred to paper. The second section, written by Peel's wife and soulmate of many years, Sheila Ravenscroft, gives us an intimate portrait of the man and his music, and the highs and the lows of everyday life at Peel Acres. The completion of this book has been a labour of love for John's family and their passion has paid off. It's every bit as extraordinary as the man himself and a fitting tribute to a bona fide legend.