MUST READS They murdered six million — and got away scot free: Book…
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Share LADY SINGS THE BLUES by Billie Holiday (Penguin £9.99, 192 pp)
LADY SINGS THE BLUES
by Billie Holiday (Penguin £9.99, 192 pp)
‘Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was 18, she was 16 and I was three.’ The startling first line of Billie Holiday’s autobiography reveals a good deal about the book and its author.
In a 2015 study, the academic and author John Szwed pointed out that Billie’s mother was actually 19 when she was born, her father was 17 and her parents never married.
But, despite claims of inaccuracies, the book is a wrenchingly authentic account of Holiday’s turbulent trajectory from abused child to jazz genius and her later drug addiction and imprisonment.
Co-written with the New York Post journalist William Dufty, who based his account on detailed conversations with Billie, it recounts in her own voice the extraordinary highs and lows of her life: ‘I became a celebrity. When that happens, watch out.’
INTO THE GREY ZONE by Dr Adrian Owen (Faber £9.99, 320 pp)
INTO THE GREY ZONE
by Dr Adrian Owen (Faber £9.99, 320 pp)
One day in 1997, a colleague of Dr Adrian Owen at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, told him of the distressing case of Kate, a 26-year-old nursery school teacher.
She had caught a bad cold, which turned into a much more serious viral condition that left her in an apparently vegetative state. But a PET scan of Kate’s brain showed her responding to stimuli as though she were healthy.
Eventually, she recovered sufficiently to describe her experiences in the ‘grey zone’ of consciousness between life and death.
Dr Owen’s research into vegetative patients convinced him consciousness can survive — even in patients who seem entirely unresponsive.
One day, he predicts, sophisticated technology will mean that the ‘voiceless will speak again, and those who we thought were gone for ever . . . will exercise their right to be treated as real people’.
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