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  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241239971
  • Imprint: Viking
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $45.00

The Young H.G. Wells

Changing the World

A fascinating journey into the early life of H.G. Wells, the father of science fiction, from one of Britain's best biographers

How did the first forty years of H. G. Wells' life shape the father of science fiction?
From his impoverished childhood in a working-class English family, to his determination to educate himself at any cost, to the serious ill health that dominated his twenties and thirties, his complicated marriages, and love affair with socialism, the first forty years of H. G. Wells' extraordinary life would set him on a path to become one of the world's most influential writers. The sudden success of The TimeMachine and The War of The Worlds transformed his life and catapulted him to international fame; he became the writer who most inspired Orwell and countless others, and predicted men walking on the moon seventy years before it happened.
In this remarkable, empathetic biography, Claire Tomalin paints a fascinating portrait of a man like no other, driven by curiosity and desiring reform, a socialist and a futurist whose new and imaginative worlds continue to inspire today.

  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241239971
  • Imprint: Viking
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $45.00

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Praise for The Young H.G. Wells

'Another triumph for a biographer who goes from strength to strength

Melvyn Bragg

You put down Tomalin's book knowing you have met a living author

The Times

'A moving story, and Tomalin tells it vividly, with as great a fund of sympathy and sense, as can be imagined'

Daily Telegraph on Samuel Pepys: An Unequalled Self

One of the best biographers of her generation


Tomalin knows how to tell a cracking story

Daily Mail

A most intelligent and sympathetic biographer... she writes well and wittily

Daily Telegraph

Sprightly, generous... Claire Tomalin's restrained biography of the prolific writer and philanderer's early years lets readers reach their own verdict on his life and deeds

Guardian Book of the Day

Richly informative... Tomalin admits that, although she set out to write about the young Wells, she has followed him into his forties because she found him 'too interesting to leave'. The same can be said of her book

Sunday Times

A new biography by Claire Tomalin is always an event...the style is as well-researched and engaging as ever, her treatment of the complicated personal life of Wells as sensitively and carefully handled as in the Dickens...this is a wonderfully readable and fascinating account of the life of HG wells, and deserves a wide readership

Irish Times

In this brilliantly engaging story of the first 40 years of Well's life, Claire Tomalin cannot hide her admiration for a man who never forgot what it felt like to be hungry

Mail on Sunday

Claire Tomalin is my favourite biographer and I'm desperate to get my hands on her latest, The Young H. G. Wells. I'd be thrilled to find this under the tree on Christmas Day

Elizabeth Day

This is a fine and very enjoyable biography of an extraordinary man and his times. Wells is still relevant, still matters. It's good that Tomalin reminds us of how remarkable he was


A deft and informative account which brings its subject vividly to life


Focusing on the first four decades of Wells' life, Tomalin lays bare both his work ethic (he'd turn out 7,000 words a day) and relentless philandering in peerless prose

Financial Times, Best Books of 2021

The life of HG Wells, from childhood to the height of his literary success, is told by one of our leading biographers - a tale of prodigious energy in the study, and the bedroom

The Times, Best Books of 2021

For a compact overview of this endlessly fascinating man and writer, Tomalin's 'The Young H.G. Wells' is hard to beat, being friendly, astute and a pleasure to read

Washington Post

With a flair for colour, pace and plot that matches her subject's, Tomalin does not bury Wells under a monumental tombstone. Instead, her dynamic sketch invites readers to discover - or rediscover - why that volcano still spits fire to light up a changing world

Boyd Tonkin, Arts Desk

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