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Everyday Heroes and Extraordinary Lives: Our Choice of 2018's Standout Memoirs

Posted on 14th December 2018 by Martha Greengrass

From Adam Kay's phenomenally popular (and hilariously funny) account of life on the NHS's frontline to Tara Westover's moving and electric story of survival and self-education, 2018's memoirs have illuminated the worlds on our doorstep. Here we select our pick of some of the year's most moving, inspiring and unmissable true stories.

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A funny, moving and insightful celebration of the everyday heroes of our NHS. Kay reveals the realities of working for the NHS with visceral honesty but also with humour, never losing sight of the huge significance of the work itself and those profoundly rewarding moments of truly-deserved gratitude from the patients.
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Both a fascinating snapshot of survivalist, rural America and an uplifting tribute to the power of learning, Westover’s memoir charts her journey from a bleak Idaho childhood to a Cambridge-educated academic.
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From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses and officers of the law, here is the best and worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system. Both a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system, and a guide to how we got into this mess, The Secret Barrister wants to show you what it's really like and why it really matters.
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A provocative and heartfelt new memoir from the brain surgeon and bestselling author of Do No Harm. In this searing, provocative and deeply personal memoir, Henry Marsh finds new purpose in his own life as he approaches the end of his professional career, and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.
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Brave, illuminating and inspiring, Somebody I Used to Know is the first memoir ever written by someone living with dementia. Philosophical, profoundly moving and ultimately full of hope, it gets to the very heart of what it means to be human. A phenomenal memoir, it is both a tribute to the woman Wendy once was, and a courageous acceptance of the woman dementia has seen her become.
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Dr Edith Eger shares her experience of the Holocaust and the remarkable stories of those she has helped ever since. Today, she is an internationally acclaimed psychologist whose patients include survivors of abuse and soldiers suffering from PTSD. She explains how many of us live within a mind that has become a prison, and shows how freedom becomes possible once we confront our suffered.
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Marie Colvin was glamorous, hard-drinking, braver than the boys, with a troubled and rackety personal life. She reported from the most dangerous places in the world. Drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews, Lindsey Hilsum conjures a fiercely compassionate, complex woman who was driven to an extraordinary life and tragic death.

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Meet the forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd. He solves the mysteries of unexplained or sudden death. He's a detective in his own right. And he has one, ultimate and pressing question to answer: How did this person die? Unnatural Causes is an unputdownable record of an extraordinary life, a unique insight into a remarkable profession and a powerful and reassuring testament to lives cut short

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The poignant, life-affirming story of a determined boy, a visionary coach, and how the dream of a record-breaking Channel swim became reality. This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood.
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I will teach them literature, poetry, culture. I will teach them The Waste Land ! I will be the Best Teacher Who Has Ever Lived! Or so the Secret Teacher thinks. In his first day at an inner-city state school things don't quite go to plan...
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