In It Takes Two, Cathy Newman shows how double acts have relied on each other, how minds have married to usher in miraculous discoveries, and how those we think of as lone geniuses often did not work solo. Published by HarperCollins, the book hit the shelves in October 2020.
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Throughout history, collaboration has fueled greatness. From rivals pressuring each other forwards to friends combining their talents, it’s clear: often two heads are better than one.
In It Takes Two, Cathy Newman rewrites the history books to expose this strange power of two – the reason Holmes and Watson need to come as a pair, and Apple could not have been started by Steve Jobs alone. Bringing together an extraordinary range of stories from around the world, Newman shows how double acts have relied on each other, how minds have married to usher in miraculous discoveries, and how those we think of as lone geniuses often did not work solo.
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How did William and Ellen Craft work together to pull off a perilous cross-country escape from slavery? How did the queer artists Marcel Moore and Claude Cahun become icons of the surrealist movement, then heroines of the resistance during WW2? How do today’s most powerful couples – from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Bill and Melinda Gates – negotiate coupledom and individual achievement in the spotlight?
Vibrant, feminist, and unexpected, this brilliant history shows the value of friction, obsession, difference, and trust when it comes to progress – and retrieves the work of many who have been forgotten, asking why certain collaborators are so often left out of the narrative.
About the Author
Cathy Newman is one of Channel 4 News’ main studio presenters. She joined Channel 4 News as a political correspondent in January 2006 after eight years of writing for the Financial Times. Cathy is an award-winning investigative journalist whose scoops have allegations of sexual harassment in Westminster, an investigation into a British pedophile who abused vulnerable boys in Kenya; and allegations of violent abuse by the British barrister John Smyth. She was the only broadcast journalist to travel with Angelina Jolie and the then foreign secretary William Hague to the Congo as part of their campaign against sexual violence.