Michael Vaughan was born in Manchester in 1974. Michael began playing professional cricket at the age of seventeen and first captained the England Under-19 cricket team in 1993. He made his Test debut for England in 1999 against South Africa and in May the following year scored his first Test century against Pakistan. In 2002, Michael scored 900 runs in just seven Tests and was named PCA Player of the Year. Michael was appointed captain of England in 2003, the same year in which he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year and reached the top of the world rankings. In 2005, Michael captained the team that reclaimed the Ashes in an historic series against Australia and was awarded the OBE. Injury prevented him from captaining the team that travelled to Australia the following year, but on his recovery Michael returned to the Test side and surpassed Peter May's record of twenty wins as England captain. His final total of twenty-six wins makes him the most successful Test captain of all time. Michael Vaughan resigned from the captaincy in 2008 and in June 2009 he retired from all cricket. Michael lives with his wife and two children in Derbyshire.
One of the best-known mountaineers of his generation, Stephen Venables was the first Briton to climb Everest without oxygen, pioneering a new route at the same time. His first book Painted Mountains won the Boardman Tasker Award; reviewing his most recent book, A Slender Thread, the Observer praised his 'novelist's sense of dramatic punch'. As well as eight books, he has written for all the major national newspapers and appeared in numerous television programmes, including the recent BBC Mountain Men series, for which he climbed the Matterhorn in Victorian tweeds and nailed boots, and the BBC's Race for Everest. His most recent project was retracing Shackleton's steps across South Georgia for the IMAX movie Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure. A master storyteller and skilful photographer, he is also a motivational speaker whose illustrated lectures have inspired audiences all around the world.
Vincent Virga is a writer and picture editor. He is the coauthor, with the Library of Congress, of Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations (Little, Brown, 2007), The American Civil War: 365 Days (Abrams, 2006), and Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States with Alan Brinkley (Knopf, 1997), which was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club. He's a native New Yorker who also lives in Washington, D.C.