In My Paper Chase, Harold Evans recounts the wild and wonderful tale of newspapering life. His story stretches from the 1930s to his service in WWII, through towns big and off the map. He discusses his passion for the crusading style of reportage he championed, his clashes with Rupert Murdoch, and his struggle to use journalism to better the lives of those less fortunate. There's a star-studded cast and a tremendously vivid sense of what once was: the lead type, the smell of the presses, eccentrics throughout, and angry editors screaming over the intercoms. My Paper Chase tells the story of Evans's great loves: newspapers and Tina Brown, the bright, young journalist who became his wife.
In an age when newspapers everywhere are under threat, My Paper Chase is not just a glorious recounting of an amazing life, but a nostalgic journey in black and white.
Old-school newspapering comes alive in this scintillating memoir. Anglo-American journalist Evans (The American Century) reminisces about his rise up the ladder of English newspapers to its pinnacle as editor of the Sunday Times and his late-career hop across the ocean to run Cond Nast Traveler and the publisher Random House. The author depicts British journalism as a more rugged affair than the American version; editor Evans dodges British laws that permit prior restraint of news stories by the government, gets sued by the Irish Republican Army and battles a thuggish printers' union that he hates even more than he does his boss, Rupert Murdoch. America presents its own unique hardships, including protracted discussions with Marlon Brando over acquiring his memoirs, during which the blowsy thespian accuses Evans of being a CIA agent. Evans creates a lively, evocative portrait of 20th-century journalism: the mad deadline pressure of the copy-desk, stocked with Dickensian characters; the epic investigative pieces that make reporting a kind of spy craft; the obsessive pull of editorial crusades against official wrongdoing. Written with self-deprecating humor and quiet conviction, this is a fine valedictory for a heroic style of journalism one hopes still has a future. Photos.