I found a copy of this in a second hand bookshop a few months ago,and I highly recommend it to anyone.It is hilarious and terrifying at the same time-how someone as monstrous as Kelvin Makenzie ever got to the top of the greasy pole at "The Scum",his worship of Thatcher,his utter hatred of gays,blacks,peace campaigners,feminists,striking workers and(most notoriously)of 96 dead football fans.He is a cartoon caricature of the loony right made flesh.
The authors interviewed widely within current and ex-employees of "The Scum",noting in passing that current News International employees were committing a sackable offence by talking to them.Their accounts are funny,but their fear and loathing of Mackenzie comes through loud and clear,especially as the story moves from the mid to the late 1980s.
Murdoch is a shadowy figure in the background of most of this book,but he shines out in the latter chapters,where it is explained that "The Scum" was a cash cow being milked to pay for Murdoch's international TV empire.The stories of the Sky promo drivel "Scum" journalists had to try and palm off as real news is eye-opening.
Whether deliberately or unconciously,the Hillsborough catastrophe of April 1989 and it's aftermath,which,thanks to Mackenzie,led to the biggest financial disaster ever suffered by a British newspaper(still ongoing in 2007)is the climax of the book.Their description of Mackenzie musing over whether to splash with "YOU SCUM" or "THE TRUTH" a few days after the disaster is horrifying.The reactions of other journalists to the infamous headline-basically,disassociate yourself from it and keep as far away from Mackenzie as possible-is well depicted,as is the boycott of "The Scum" initiated by outraged scousers then,and still going strong in Liverpool as I write.
The hardest thing to do when you read SIUYJ is to suspend your natural skepticism and accept that the authors didn't make this up,it all really happened.Read it in wonder.