Let’s deal with the facts first, says Ralph McAllister.
‘THE PROMISED LAND by Barack Obama and CROSSING THE LINES by Brent Coutts easily come top in my Best Books of 2020.
The former, the first part of an autobiography, will survive the test of time and be recognised as one of the greatest written this century.
But as I have already reviewed and raved about THE PROMISED LAND I leave it to you to ignore my recommendation at your peril !
Similarly, CROSSING THE LINES and its account of three gay men doing much much more than just surviving the Second World War, but achieving honour and dignity whilst entertaining the troops .
Again you can check my thoughts on a landmark of New Zealand history .
I suspect you will be as astonished, proud and tearful reading it as I was.
This superbly illustrated book has been selling well so get down to your local bookstore soon.
Which leaves me space to salute the other highlight of my factual reading this year.
This was,without hesitation , ONE OF THEM by Michael Cashman.
Radio New Zealand may have wanted to turn the volume down on my enthusiasm when I waxed on about this searingly beautiful autobiography to Kathryn Ryan on Nine To Noon.
But by now she is used to coping with me.
Cashman, abused as a child, starred as Oliver in the West End production In the early sixties, became a successful actor, established a lifelong gay relationship with Paul, a relationship which was remarkably open in those days.
He was Colin in Eastbenders, as the gutter press called the soap, after he was part of the first gay kiss on this family show.
Questions in Parliament, bricks through the window of his house, didn’t prevent this courageous man from continuing to enjoy his life as ‘one of them.’
He became one of the leaders of the LGBT movement,helping it grow and grow,teaming up at times with Ian McKellen,campaigning and educating indefatigably in the pursuit of dignity and understanding for the movement.
His political life was honoured by his being given a life peerage just at the time he lost Paul to cancer after 31 years together.
He continues this wonderful life today, a life you will find enriching when, not if, you read ONE OF THEM.
Fiction suggestions to follow in a few days.’