Thursday, December 3, 2009

Book Review: My Paper Chase

Title My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times
Author Harold Evans
Rating ****1/2
Tags england, newspapers, sunday times, random house 

Really excellent book by Harold Evans, who grew up in a working class family in northern England. Class lines were much harsher then, and it was rare for someone of his class to have much opportunity to get ahead. He began working on newspapers in his teens, and managed to get into college in Durham and get his degree. From there his rise in newspapers was steady until becoming editor of the Sunday Times for 14 years. He left due to disagreements with Rupert Murdoch who bought the Times papers. He and his second wife, Tina Brown, who has been editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, came to the US where he worked for U.S News and World Report, Conde Nast Traveler, and Random House.

He's led an interesting life. Truly, though, the pleasure in this book is hearing from an intelligent, knowledgeable man who has always been passionate about his work, and clear-eyed about the difficulties in getting the best news to the world. He discusses in some depth certain stories he was involved with that illustrate the glories and problems in the newspaper business. For example, he followed for years the cases of the thalidomide babies in Britain, and he pushed hard to keep the story covered and see that the government didn't simply ignore their needs. For intrigue, he shows how his team followed the story of the traitor Kim Philby and revealed as much as they could about it.

As a native of the U.S. South it was interesting to hear his experience of the South during his first trip to the U.S. in 1956. He saw the horrors of the racism, and found it hard to reconcile with how nice white Southerners were to him even while expressing Neanderthalic opinions on race.

Excellent book.

Publication Little, Brown and Company (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 592 pages
Publication date 2009
ISBN 0316031429 / 9780316031424

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

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