Scoop Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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From the Back Cover
Lord Copper, proprietor of the Daily Beast, is persuaded to send fashionable novelist John Boot as a foreign correspondent to cover the civil war in the African republic of Ishmaelia; but, owing to a most unfortunate case of mistaken identity, he actually sends William Boot, a contributor of charming nature notes to the Beast who has rarely ventured out of his rural retreat.
Evelyn Waugh's tale of an innocent abroad is a hilarious satire on journalism, set amidst the powerful currents of the 1930's, and contains a memorable collection of comic creations.
About the Author
Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903. His first novel, Decline and Fall, was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). In 1942 he published Put Out More Flags and then in 1945 Brideshead Revisited. When the Going was Good and The Loved One preceded Men at Arms, which came out in 1952, the first volume of 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The other volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, followed in 1955 and 1961. In 1964 he published his last book, A Little Learning, the first volume of an autobiography. For many years he lived with his wife and six children in the West Country. He died in 1966. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In regard to the novel being racist, I don't think it is. It must be taken in the context of it's time, much of the language is outdated, and would never be used now for fear of offence, but was, at the time acceptable. The African characters in the book are never criticised more than the white characters, and if anything, the African's end up fooling the journalists and being portrayed as intelligent, insightful characters. How this could be considered racist is a mystery to me.
Scoop is a classic example, essentially involving a mix up in the assignment of a plum overseas journalism posting to cover the Ishmalian civil war. This is written in the age of Goebbels and Stalin, and so it is no surprise to see that the power of the press is essentially responsible for destabilizing the otherwise unassuming African state. Where the journalists decide there is a story, a story will exist. Is it really that different today?
Waugh uses his social observation skills to almost ludicrous extremes, with portraits of Lord Copper, Boot of the Beast and the other journalists in the pack being both ghastly and stunningly incompetent. The novel retains its comic touch, although has dated slightly more than some of Waugh's other works. Essentially many of the caustic barbs would be more suited to an age familiar with the excesses of Beaverbrook and Rothermere.
This is essentially classic Waugh, and thus should be approached with a little prior knowledge of his style. If you like him, you'll love this - I devoured it in a day.
This book is set just 54 years before CNN redefined the role of war correspondents during the Gulf War of 1990.
Back in the late 1930s just before WW2, the global powers were having a trial run ahead of the Big One. In those days, it was the newspapers (and not the TV networks) who called the shots.
Evelyn Waugh in his inimitable, over-the-top style goes right to the heart of the media business. It's not about delivering news; it's pure power politics. The egos of the media owner are the prime drivers of the machinations of this industry. Their bungling underlings are constantly in damage control and covering up their incompetencies.
Only Waugh could get away with these observations on indigenous Africa. His descriptions of the supposedly fictitious Democratic Republic in Africa (20 years before most of the continent went independent of their colonial masters) is pure clairvoyance.
Most of Africa today is just like his Ishmaelia. So-called democracies run by autocratic Presidents-for-Life.
This book as well as being a primer for foreign correspondents, is an excellent manual for students of African politics.
Unfortunately, for many readers on the West Side of the Atlantic, Waugh's subtle ironic style might be at times impenetrable. Rule one with Waugh is never to take things at face value. He was a brave and clever man to get away with the demolition jobs he does on his own class ridden British society.
Once you twig to his wit, his writing becomes a pure pleasure. There is never a dull moment. His observations on society, politics, business and the human condition are timeless.
Waugh is the master of 20th century satirical literary humour. Scoop is one of his best.
William Boot mistaken for his travel writing cousin is sent to Africa to report on a possible coup in the independent state of Ishamlia.
Having previously only produced a nature column called lush places, Boot's journey is a superb comedy of errors. This book is not only excellent in it's own right but provides a superb introduction to the rest of Waugh's work. Waugh might be best known these days for 'Brideshead Revisited,' but his earlier comedies are for me at least as rewarding.
I first read this book at Wilmslow Grammar School in the mid-1970s, when it was clearly not considered racist or any unsuitable for school children. Furthermore, we were taught that Waugh himself is embodied in the naive everyman character, William Boot, who sees everything but avoids the pitfalls of premature judgement. Waugh's whimsical but savage narration, on the other hand, lampoons everything in sight, notably the enterprising but weary African response to expense account journalism.
Ishmaelians are stereotyped and lightly ridiculed not because Waugh was personally racist, but because he is attacking the mores and prejudices of his readership, albeit it such a light-hearted fashion that the vast majority would barely realise they were being sent up.
As such, Scoop is a perfect document of its time, but I doubt that much has really changed. For all our political correctness nowadays, it seems to me that most people are more suspicious of and offensive towards foreigners now than ever. Waugh was right - plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Decided it was time to read a book by this author. For me the 'humour' was silly and the racist language offensive. The plot was clever but the mix up of characters was tedious.Published 1 month ago by doonhamer
This book is a 'forgotten' gem by one of our greatest writers. Re-reading it after about 30 years, I found it as wickedly funny now as then. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Old Hand
Decline and Fall was hilarious and, as I expected from Evelyn Waugh, beautifully written. I have only read the first section of Scoop, which looks like being of a similar type. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Sharman
Felt a bit dated from when I last read it in my teens even though the issues are still topical.Published 5 months ago by Sue C
I have had to stop reading this on the train due to shaking and crying with laughter. It is understandable why a contemporary reader would be uncomfortable with the racist... Read morePublished 5 months ago by English Guru