Never judge a book by its cover. When I picked up Tramp's Gold and saw the picture of the author garlanded with celebrities, I suspected it was just going to be a roll-call of superior name dropping.
So I nearly dropped the book back on its pile, until I read a few pages about a young Jewish boy growing up in bombed Britain and it read, I do not exaggerate, better than Ballard's Empire of the Sun.
There is a whole social history here contained within one man's experiences of the second half of the 20th Century. Rarely has National Service in Germany been so amusingly recalled; or so poignantly, when Gold reveals he discovers he is playing rugby on the fields by Auschwitz.
Why did you never come home for leave during two years? the customs man asks him on his return. Because if I did, I would never have gone back, replies Gold. That encounter - like so much in the book - reveals his emotion with brevity and wit.
I didn't know he was the primary source for the Time Magazine piece that annointed London the swinging city of the sixties.
The subsequent three decades are crammed with insightful social history: a student of the time would learn more from Gold's book than a dry history of political changes at Westminster.
From The Beatles to Sinatra, from George Best to Tiger Woods, from Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon to Dodi and Di, Mr Gold has a fresh story about each character - never malicious, usually hilairious, and always as absorbing as the book itself.
I couldn't drop it down!