The incredible life of Scottish icon Stanley Baxter

This authorised biography has generated headlines because in it 95-year-old Stanley Baxter comes out as gay, yet there is so much more to this account of the actor’s life than that revelation.

This jauntily-written book is a veritable treasure trove of anecdotes that shine a light on one of Scotland’s most beloved, yet most enigmatic, performers.

It also opens a window onto the world of thirties Glasgow that is long gone, details Baxter’s National Service and his relationship with his star-struck gypsy-like mother, and his rise through the theatric ranks.

There are endless celebrity namechecks in this excellent book (Kenneth Williams, Elton John, Billy Connolly, Julie Christie all feature), but above all, it is above all an intensely human, paradoxical story of a man who is terrified of the spotlight but can’t live without its glare.

The Real Stanley Baxter, by Brian Beacom, published by Luath Press, £20.

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