A few months ago I started reading the Eye and quickly got hooked. However, I realised soon that I was missing over 50 years of history (and thus didn't get a lot of recurring phrases and names) and also got interested in the people behind the magazine. This book (bought second hand in very good shape, for just a few bob) answers most of my questions and provides a good introduction - I finished reading it in just a few days. Here's to the next 94 years!
I find this book to be wonderfully informative, and witty, as it goes behind the satire.
Many years' ago I met Ian Hislop at an inaugural lecture at Royal Holloway University - the lecture was on ancient Roman literature. He is as witty, and intelligent, as is also evinced from this book. We do need to know how the satire is created, hence this book.
I would add that I contributed to The Eye circa 2007, when HMRC lost their discs. As a former HMRC employee, and while I was there, I was proud to leak information to The Eye. It was the most productive work I ever did.
If anyone ever works, or worked, for large PFI Groups, or gubernatorial agencies, your Eye needs you: leak to The Eye. You will feel good about it.
Although I didn't buy this for myself and there for can not comment on the content, I do know that this book is a very good read. I say this as it was a present for my father who has been collecting Private Eye since the 60s and my Grandmother before him. I can honestly say I have never seen him quiet on Christmas day but to my joy he loved the book and couldn't put it down!
'The First 50 Years' is a fascinating volume on the history of the iconic and long-running satirical magazine 'Private Eye', which avoids being a straightforward, dry chronological narrative by putting its entries into an A-Z format. It's not an encyclopedia as such, but an interesting way of presenting the material which makes it ideal for dipping into. There's also a wealth of visual material, some previously unpublished, from the Eye archives. Pleasingly, there's a frankness in the editorial tone of the book, and in those interviewed, and so this isn't simply a run-through the magazine's triumphs but also its failures along the way. In short, if you're a regular Eye reader, or even someone with an interest in British politics, culture and satire over the past five decades, you're likely to find a great deal of interest here.
This has to be one of the most interesting books I have picked up in many a year. I was an occasional reader of Private Eye so didn't expect to be so captivated by this 50 year history.The encyclopaedic format "A to Z" is a real winner. I started on page 1 "A" and before long was directed to a related article some 100 pages on. You will be kept amused skipping back and forth for hours at a time. This is an extremely well written book made with the cooperation of PE and its current and former editors and contributors. It will make you pause for thought about just how important Private Eyes' contribution has been. And long may it continue.
Show stopper, Anything that annoys Morgan is great, keep the good work up Ian. It reads like an encyclopedia of satire, a kick in the nuts for successive governments and villians, like Archer and Maxwell and his Tonyness.
I've been a fan of Private Eye for many years and I enjoyed this A-Z of their history. It contained all their usual sharp satire and excellent reporting. I would recommend this for anyone, regular readers or new ones.
Private Eye is a wonderful publication that so often proves the old adage, "You just couldn't make it up". The true bits are so often more ridiculous than the jokes. This book is, in equal part, a history of the Eye and a review of the more famous (infamous?) stories that have appeared over 50 years.
There is, perhaps, nothing more delightful than a group of public school boys (and yes, they are almost exclusively boys) who reject the elitism that is expected of there breed. Ingrams and Hislop have, for 50 years pricked the bubble of assured arrogance that surrounds so many of these "chaps". I have always admired the way that, hidden amongst the jokes is some of the most cutting edge reportage available to the reader. Eye regularly exposes scandals to which the hard nosed reporters of the press have turned a blind eye, for fear of upsetting an advertiser.
This book does explain the nascent germ of many of the characters found in the Eye over the years and has a descent biography of all the main players: above all, it retains the anarchic humour for which the magazine is rightly famed. If you claim an interest in humour, or politics, and you have not purchased this book, then your claim is erroneous.