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Russell Ash

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Dec 16, 2021

Russell Ash (18 June 1946 – 21 June 2010) was the British author of the Top 10 of Everything series of books, as well as Great Wonders of the World, Incredible Comparisons and many other reference, art and humour titles, most notably his series of books on strange-but-true names, Potty, Fartwell & Knob, Busty, Slag and Nob End and (for children) Big Pants, Burpy and Bumface.[1][2][3] Once described as ‘the human Google’, his obituary in The Times stated that ‘In the age of the internet, it takes tenacity and idiosyncratic intelligence to make a living from purveying trivial information. Russell Ash did just that’.[1]

Russell Ash
Born Russell Ash
(1946-06-18)18 June 1946
Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Died 21 June 2010(2010-06-21) (aged 64)
Lewes, East Sussex
Occupation Author
Nationality British
Alma mater St Cuthbert’s Society, Durham
Notable works The Top 10 of Everything
Spouse Caroline
Children Three

. . . Russell Ash . . .

Russell Ash was born in Surrey, a descendant of a family of craftsmen – goldsmiths and silversmiths in 18th-century London that included Claudius Ash (1792–1854), one of the pioneering inventors of false teeth.[1] His father worked as a bookbinder for the British Museum Library and also served in the RAF in the Second World War.[1]

The family moved to Bedford, where he attended primary school and Bedford Modern School.[1] He studied anthropology and geography at St Cuthbert’s Society, Durham University, and began a publishing career in 1967.[1] He worked as a picture researcher for Man, Myth & Magic and a researcher/writer for Reader’s Digest Books and as European Correspondent for Newsweek Books on their Wonders of Man series.[1]

In 1973, with his friend Ian Grant, Russell Ash established the publishing company Ash & Grant, that ran for five years.[1] He was also a director of Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 198083, where he worked with authors including comedian Barry Humphries (a.k.a. Dame Edna Everage), and Pavilion Books in 198488, where he published works by satirist John Wells, Hockney Posters and numerous other illustrated books.[1] However, his principal occupation was that of freelance author, having written or contributed to over a hundred non-fiction books.[1][3]

He was married to Caroline Ash, fundraiser with the Malaria Consortium, and has a daughter and two sons.[1][2] He lived in Lewes, East Sussex, from 1991 until his death from a heart attack.[1][2]

. . . Russell Ash . . .

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. . . Russell Ash . . .