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Something Wholesale: My Life and Times in the Rag Trade (Picador Books) Paperback – 7 Jun 1985

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (7 Jun. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330287788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330287784
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 938,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for ‘Something Wholesale’:

'It would strain the imagination to picture this stalwart young adventurer selling women's clothes. We are relieved of the difficulty by his own deliciously funny description … I read it once and liked it awfully' Evelyn Waugh

Praise for Eric Newby:

‘Newby is one of the funniest English writers; he more or less invented the modern comic travel book. … one of our best-loved writers’ William Dalrymple, Mail on Sunday

'A marvellous storyteller' Noel Perrin, Washington Post

'Any book by Eric Newby is an event' Len Deighton

'One of the finest and certainly the funniest of British travel writers' Sunday Times

‘No one engages his readers more enthusiastically in his adventures, or views the world through fresher eyes. With Eric as tour leader, everything becomes memorable' Christopher Matthew, Daily Mail

'A companion to be chosen above any traveler, past or present, if a real journey were to be made with any writer of books of travel. . . . For it is always Newby we want more of - Newby we sympathise with - Newby's cough, or feet, or dashed hopes, with which we suffer. Without one word of vanity in his books, he emerges effortlessly as the hero of them all' Spectator

'Newby's tremendous enthusiasms … leave one too exhausted for anything but breathless admiration' Observer

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Eric Newby was born in London in 1919. In 1938, he joined the four-masted Finnish barque Moshulu as an apprentice and sailed in the last Grain Race from Australia to Europe, by way of Cape Horn. During World War II, he served in the Black Watch and the Special Boat Section. In 1942, he was captured and remained a prisoner-of-war until 1945. He subsequently married the girl who helped him to escape, and for the next fifty years, his wife Wanda was at his side on many adventures. After the war, he worked in the fashion business and book publishing but always travelled on a grand scale, sometimes as the Travel Editor for the Observer. He was made CBE in 1994 and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Guild of Travel Writers in 2001. Eric Newby died in 2006.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
Genuinelyhilarious memoir of the writer's time in the rag trade after the war and an afectionate portrait of his father - an unsual man of his times. Strongly reccomended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Collier on 18 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There will have been lots of companies operating as Eric Newby's father's did in the 1950s, with characters such as he met working for them like the rep who never stepped out of his long johns. It's a time gone by, and it's good that we have such an evocative record of them as this book gives. Read it. It's fun (glad I wasn't there though!)
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By Militant Biochemist on 17 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is hilarious. His descriptions of life in the rag trade is delivered with characteristic charm and humour.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By margaret corbett on 18 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
did not enjoy this book. very poor
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
Just pop back and collect a wife.... 13 May 2012
By John the Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Captured by the Germans from rather more relaxed Italian prisoner of war camp, where he had met his future wife, entrained for the harsher camps in the colder climate of the north, there seemed to be little hope for our intrepid traveler and raconteur.

But this prisoner is Eric Newby, so of course incredible and funny things happen. On his release and relocation back to England the Army send him back into the very region of Italy where he had been imprisoned, so of course, "Our Eric" casually collects his sweetheart, locates a region for one of their future homes and returns again to his home and marries the indomitable Wanda of his future travels and adventures.

From daring Commando - landing from rubber boats and raiding behind the enemy lines - crew-hand on the last of the windjammers to "flogger" of ladies dresses in his parents business in the Rag Trade Newby storms into his ever chaotic and always hilarious travelling. This book introduces the new reader of this splendid author to his wit, sheer audacity, and interest in history, archeology, countries, cultures and ... constantly and totally without reservation of prejudice ... people. This fascinating life led to over twenty equally fascinating books.

This rather seedy and already dying trade with the wholesale selling trips, traveling in crowded trains with a fellow `traveller' fiddling his expenses so that they share rooms in seedy hotels Newby parleys into an hilarious series of ever more interesting escapades.

A very good read and recommended for the life and times it portrays.
Disappointing sequel to his wartime classic 7 Aug. 2011
By David Ljunggren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Newby writes amusingly about his post war experiences but they are nowhere near as interesting or moving as "Love and war in the Appenines", his book about imprisonment and love in World War Two Italy. Now married to his Slovenian sweetheart Wanda, who helped him evade capture, Newby finds himself working for the struggling London fashion firm run by his father. He is no good at the job and has no fun trying to sell frmupy clothes to staid and frumpy clothes stores around Britain. Newby expertly delves into the characters of his father, who is only happy when in a rowing scull, and the other eccentrics at the firm. The problem is that unless you have an abiding interest in and knowledge of the clothes trade, you'll quickly bog down in yet another torpid tale of which Scottish dowager looked disapprovingly at a certain unimpressive dress. The book quickly bogs down and, very disappointingly, doesn't focus anywhere near enough on the formidable Wanda.
one of newby's best 14 May 2009
By Kevin Lawrence Mahoney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
SOMETHING WHOLESALE, by Eric Newby, was on my must-read list after reading the first two chapters of "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush." This was his account of trekking in Afghanistan in more peaceful times, and it opens with an account of the end of his career in the wholesale clothing trade.

He inherited the trade from his parents, largely for lack of an alternative. Every paragraph reveals the absurdity of the business he was in; perhaps the problem was that his parents did not deal in clothes that were of particular interest to the British. (They made a dress and coat for his wife, who burst into tears when she tried them on; they were burned in their back yard.)

Kevin L. Mahoney
Great story 20 Nov. 2009
By Mac - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is Eric Newby's best book, even better than his travel books. On the surface, it is a book about working in his family's wholesale clothing firm, but it is really an ode to his father. The preface, in which he conveys the reader through a presumed chronology of his dad's life by describing family photos, is a classic. The characterizations of the people who work at the firm, and the buyers who come to negotiate purchases, are hilarious. Though most of the book describes Newby's comings and goings in the conduct of the business, the frequently interlaced episodes of life with father, who ran the business, conveys the sense of respect Newby had for his dad. A great book.
Redressing the balance 28 Dec. 2014
By Dan Milco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I have to redress the balance here - I think it is ludicrous that this book received low marks from people who expected it to be Newby's usual fare. It should have been obvious this was about a completely different world to what he usually writes about, and for what this is, it is one of the most brilliant and accessible portraits of a very, very under-covered and under-represented field of British business history and the fashion trade that I've come across. If that's not your area - fair enough - but for students of fashion and business practice in the UK at this time, and researchers, this is a resource that should be far better known.
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