Roald Dahl pushed children's literature into new and uncharted territory. More than fifteen years after his death, his popularity around the globe continues to grow, and worldwide sales of his books have now topped 100 million.
The man behind the stories, however, remains an enigma. Dahl was a single-minded adventurer, an eternal child, but his public persona was characterised by his blunt opinions on taboo subjects. Described as an anti-Semite, a racist and a misogynist, he felt ignored and undervalued by the literary establishments of London and New York.
To his readers, though, Dahl was always a hero, and since his death his reputation has been transformed. His wild imagination is now celebrated, along with his quirky humour and his linguistic elegance. Figures like Willy Wonka, the BFG and the Grand High Witch are nothing less than immortal literary creations, and in a recent poll he beat J. K. Rowling to win the title of Britain's favourite author.
In this masterly biography, Donald Sturrock draws on a huge range of source material that has become available since Dahl's death. The result is revealing, compelling and a pure joy to read.