Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughter And Dissent, 14 April 2010
By 
This review is from: Hoo-hahs and Passing Frenzies (Paperback)
To my mind, Francis Wheen, has gone down hill in recent years from the heady of heights of this book and his two brilliant biographies (Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretions and Karl Marx). I put it down to the company he keeps, in particular Oliver Kamm, one time hedge fund-ist, self declared lefty and pedant in chief for The Times; and David Aronovitch, smug-alec par excellence whom I last came across puffing up David Milliband, likewise in The Times. But all this was in the future. This collection of journalism from the 1990's and the first couple of years of the millennium sees Wheen in full stride, dissenting in his singular and seriously funny style against the perceived wisdom of the day, sniffing out hypocrisy and hum-bug with un-erring accuracy.

His range of targets is laudably wide, and includes many prominent figures of that period. There was no honeymoon period vis-à-vis Tony Blair for our Francis, he smelt him out in early on when Blair was in opposition. Not the only writer to do so (Blair was and is an open invitation for satirical writers), but no other writer skewers him with quite as much skill and wit. Likewise with John Major's and his most (only?) favourable attribute: his alleged "decentness", which Wheen rationally appraises and finds to be overstated to say the least.

Lower order figures come under scrutiny, including a well deserved mauling for Robert Maxwell's mendacious minions within the Labour Party not a few of whom re-surfaced (unlike Captain Bob) under Blair, for example Helen Liddell ("I never worked for Robert Maxwell"), "The truth is slightly different [retorts Wheen]. During the 1988 Commonwealth Games [while Maxwell's director of corporate affairs] she clung to him so closely that at one point she even follows him into the gents lavatory - a scene that was recorded for posterity by a BBC TV documentary crew".

The focus isn't purely on politicians, Wheen also writes about literature, class, the media industry and a variety of other subjects. Even when I didn't agree with him, and his piece on the Nato attack on Serbia is one that I thought a little disingenuous, he still makes pertinent points.

"Hoo-Hahs and Passing Frenzies" contains some of the best journalism on the Major and early Blair eras. Wheen's wit and sense of fun are ideal companions for revisiting that depressing period. This book is one that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend and shall no doubt read again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

5.0 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,014