Monday, October 18, 2010
Desmond Leslie: A New Book
For anyone interested in the Contactee movement in general, and the saga of George Adamski in particular, there's a new book that you'll definitely want to get hold of. The author is Robert O'Byrne, and its title is Desmond Leslie 1921 -2001: The Biography of an Irish Gentleman.
Leslie was, of course, the co-author with George Adamski on his famous (or perhaps infamous!) book, Flying Saucers Have Landed.
Here's the blurb for the book, which looks to be massively entertaining and informative:
"When a guidebook to Ireland described his family as being 'mildly eccentric', Desmond Leslie took offence and wrote to the publishers informing them that, on the contrary, the Leslies were very eccentric. Throughout his life, he maintained a reputation for unconventionality - hardly surprising when one of his godparents was a noted Satanist who kept a pet parrot in his trousers.
"Desmond Leslie more than matched this behaviour: one of the most popular items on YouTube is a BBC broadcast showing him punching the critic Bernard Levin on live television more than forty years ago. Thanks to his 1953 bestseller "The Flying Saucers Have Landed", co-written with George Adamski, Desmond Leslie remains a cult figure among UFOlogists.
"After serving as a Spitfire pilot during the Second World War, he settled in London and embarked on a career as a writer, producing a string of innovative and critically acclaimed novels, one of which anticipated George Orwell's 1984 by a year.
"At the same time, he worked as a film producer and screenwriter and composed music for film and television in the second half of the 1950s. In 1963 he returned to Ireland to live at Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, and for the rest of his life devoted himself to protecting the family estate, today one of Ireland's finest country-house hotels.
"Son of writer Sir Shane Leslie and brother of historian Anita Leslie, Desmond Leslie has never before been the subject of a biography, which includes personal recollections by family members and by the well-known writer Herbie Brennan. In portraying the Anglo-Irish during the second half of the twentieth century, as they struggled to find a new role in a rapidly changing world, Robert O'Byrne offers a wholly engaging case study of his propulsive and charismatic subject.
"Robert O'Byrne, journalist and art historian, is author of The Irish Georgian Society: A Celebration (2008), Dublin's Gaiety Theatre (2007), Mind Your Manners (2004), Living in Dublin (2003) and Hugh Lane 1875-1915 (2000)."