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A frontline seat as it all goes wrong,
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This review is from: Editor: An Inside Story of Newspapers (Paperback)
Max Hastings occupied an enviable / terrifying position (depending on your view) during his stint as the highly successful editor of the Daily Telegraph. Pressured from his hard-right wing boss Conrad Black as well as the loony-right faction of the Tory party, Hastings fought to keep a centrist editorial policy in what has always been seen to be the mouthpiece of the Conservative party. Most would crack under the pressure, but Hastings admits to being not a man of overwhelming convictions, and it seems to be this ability to remain aloof from the dogma that ultimately saved him and the paper.
His style is as engaging as his other written work, and he retains a refreshing candour about his errors and predjudices. His historians eye now has the ability to look back at the late 1980's with no little perspective, and a fine job he does too. There is plent6y of meat to chew over too, the fall of Margaret Thatcher, the Tories inability to find their way forward post-Thatcher (plus ca change?) The almighty mess that is the House of Windsor comes in for especially close inspection and is found wanting, especially the Prince of Wales (although Hastings cheerfully admits to being smitten by Diana!)
A fine, pacy revue of an era in British history that appears to be creating ripples still, and thus an essential read. There is an equally fascinating book to be written about the enigmatic, and frankly terrifying Conrad Black, but that will have to wait.
One minor criticism - Max Hastings is surely erudite enough to know that 'chronic' does not mean extreme, but rather continuous over time - a mistake he makes at regular and annoying intervals.