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My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times

Overview

My Paper Chase is the wild and wonderful tale of a newspapering and publishing odyssey that took Harold Evans from wartime Manchester to London, where he was the editor of two of the world's most renowned newspapers, the Sunday Times and The Times of London, and finally to America, where he became the publisher of Random House and a bestselling writer in his own right.

Evans brings to life print media's glorious history as he recalls his own-from unmasking the greatest Soviet ...

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My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times

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Overview

My Paper Chase is the wild and wonderful tale of a newspapering and publishing odyssey that took Harold Evans from wartime Manchester to London, where he was the editor of two of the world's most renowned newspapers, the Sunday Times and The Times of London, and finally to America, where he became the publisher of Random House and a bestselling writer in his own right.

Evans brings to life print media's glorious history as he recalls his own-from unmasking the greatest Soviet spy to taking on the lost cause of the thalidomide children, from clashes with politicians, government agencies, and Rupert Murdoch to achieving finally what F. Scott Fitzgerald declared impossible: a "second act" in America.

In an age when newspapers everywhere are under threat, My Paper Chase is a witty and inspiring personal story offering a poignant and timely reminder of all that newspapers have been, and all that they can be again.

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Editorial Reviews

<b>David Carr</b> - New York Times Book Review
PRAISE FOR MY PAPER CHASE:

"My Paper Chase is a fight song that revels in the music of times past...It celebrates bygone glories and dwells on the truths of good journalism that still obtain."

<b>Leonard Downie Jr.</b> - The Washington Post
"Engaging...in this readable, almost wistful memoir, Sir Harold Evans remains the rare self-made Englishman who changed British journalism."
Simon Winchester
Not only is My Paper Chase a loving homage to the joys of old-fashioned British newspapering but it has allowed Mr. Evans to tell at proper length stories that should now be taught as classics in journalism schools worldwide.
New York Times
Simon Winchester - New York Times
"Not only is My Paper Chase a loving homage to the joys of old-fashioned British newspapering but it has allowed Mr. Evans to tell at proper length stories that should now be taught as classics in journalism schools worldwide."
Justin Moyer - Christian Science Monitor
"A refreshing memoir...Evans jettisons hand-wringing over the 'vanished' times of its melencholy subtitle for one man's unquenchable enthusiasm for his life's work...My Paper Chase is the Gospel of Evans, and the gospel makes juicy copy."
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR MY PAPER CHASE:

"My Paper Chase is a fight song that revels in the music of times past...It celebrates bygone glories and dwells on the truths of good journalism that still obtain."—David Carr, New York Times Book Review

"Not only is My Paper Chase a loving homage to the joys of old-fashioned British newspapering but it has allowed Mr. Evans to tell at proper length stories that should now be taught as classics in journalism schools worldwide."—Simon Winchester, New York Times

"A refreshing memoir...Evans jettisons hand-wringing over the 'vanished' times of its melencholy subtitle for one man's unquenchable enthusiasm for his life's work...My Paper Chase is the Gospel of Evans, and the gospel makes juicy copy."—Justin Moyer, Christian Science Monitor

"Old school newspapering comes alive in this scintillating memoir. Evan's creates a lively, evocative portrait of 20th-century journalism...Written with self-deprecating humor and quiet conviction, this is a fine valedictory for a heroic style of journalism one hopes still has a future."—Publishers Weekly

"Engaging...in this readable, almost wistful memoir, Sir Harold Evans remains the rare self-made Englishman who changed British journalism."—Leonard Downie Jr., The Washington Post

"Amid pervasive gloom surrounding the future of newspapers, Harold Evans has produced a memoir to lift the spirits."—Financial Times

Financial Times
"Amid pervasive gloom surrounding the future of newspapers, Harold Evans has produced a memoir to lift the spirits."
Justin Moyer
A refreshing memoir...Evans jettisons hand-wringing over the 'vanished' times of its melencholy subtitle for one man's unquenchable enthusiasm for his life's work...My Paper Chase is the Gospel of Evans, and the gospel makes juicy copy.
Christian Science Monitor
Leonard Downie Jr.
Engaging...in this readable, almost wistful memoir, Sir Harold Evans remains the rare self-made Englishman who changed British journalism.
The Washington Post
Simon Winchester
Not only is it a loving homage to the joys of old-fashioned British newspapering, but it has also allowed Mr. Evans to tell at proper length stories that should now be taught as classics in journalism schools worldwide…Mr. Evans tells these stories well—on occasion with rather more detail than American readers might care for—but displaying all the while the rambunctious, anti-establishment, North Country willfulness for which Britain still fondly remembers him.
—The New York Times
David Carr
Sir Harold Evans knows his way around a story, having served as the editor of The Sunday Times of London, The Times of London, and all manner of publications up and down the food chain. As the title of his new book, My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times, suggests, he describes an epoch past, an era in British journalism when type was poured hot, articles deemed unfit landed on an actual spike, and the men—and it was mostly men—who commanded all of it were literate buccaneers. If all that sounds a bit silly, a gaslight waltz of serious men in eyeshades that has nothing to do with how journalism evolved, then My Paper Chase will leave you hopelessly, relentlessly bored. But do not confuse the modern newsroom (a generally quiet place that could be part of an insurance company) with the newsrooms of old—palpable theaters of language and ideas. The book is a fight song that revels in the music of those times past.
—The New York Times Book Review
Leonard Downie Jr.
In this readable, almost wistful memoir, Sir Harold Evans remains the rare self-made Englishman who changed British journalism.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Old-school newspapering comes alive in this scintillating memoir. Anglo-American journalist Evans (The American Century) reminisces about his rise up the ladder of English newspapers to its pinnacle as editor of the Sunday Times and his late-career hop across the ocean to run Condé Nast Traveler and the publisher Random House. The author depicts British journalism as a more rugged affair than the American version; editor Evans dodges British laws that permit prior restraint of news stories by the government, gets sued by the Irish Republican Army and battles a thuggish printers' union that he hates even more than he does his boss, Rupert Murdoch. America presents its own unique hardships, including protracted discussions with Marlon Brando over acquiring his memoirs, during which the blowsy thespian accuses Evans of being a CIA agent. Evans creates a lively, evocative portrait of 20th-century journalism: the mad deadline pressure of the copy-desk, stocked with Dickensian characters; the epic investigative pieces that make reporting a kind of spy craft; the obsessive pull of editorial crusades against official wrongdoing. Written with self-deprecating humor and quiet conviction, this is a fine valedictory for a heroic style of journalism one hopes still has a future. Photos. (Nov. 5)
The Spectator
Journalists' memoirs tend to be as transitory as the great stories they so lovingly recall....Few of them impart much of value, except perhaps for a fleeting sense of nostalgia...Harold Evans must surely be counted an exception, because, for more than a decade, he ran the best newspaper in the world. The Sunday Times, in the 1970s, was good because it placed journalism at the heart of the paper, and allowed it free rein...The stories for which Evans and his papers were once celebrated have long faded. But there is nothing ephemeral about the journalistic standards which he embraced. His may have been the hot metal era, but its lessons remain as important for the bloggers of today as they were for the reporters of his time. Those of us who were there were proud to be part of it.
—Magnus LInklater
Times Literary Supplement
The autobiography of Harold Evans, Britain's greatest post-war editor...is a series of dramatically crafted stories recalled from the highest newspaper perch of all...This is Evans at his storytelling best.
—Peter Stothard
The Times
Evocative and enjoyable...Evans has a young man's perennial ¬enthusiasm: he is 81 going on 18. Reading his autobiography, one quickly grasps how he became the most successful editor of his generation. He exudes a combination of boundless enthusiasm, relentless energy and an almost childlike delight in the sheer ¬wonderfulness of newspapers. How can they not survive? ...one feels the warmth of his sunny personality even as the lights seem to be going out in much of print journalism. He saw the best of it - o, lucky man!
—Robert Harris )
Kirkus Reviews
One of the great editors of our era chronicles his life in news reporting and book publishing. As editor of the London Sunday Times and The Times, and later as president and publisher of Random House, Evans (War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict from the Crimea to Iraq, 2003, etc.) not only told the stories that changed the social and political world, he often was part of them. He began life as the son of working-class parents in 1930s Manchester, England. Early on he became aware of two things: the seemingly magical way in which newspapers would deliver a torrent of information, and the demarcations of success that were "ordained by the hierarchies of class." Yet rise Evans did. The author is at his best recounting daily life in war-torn England and his early efforts to become a newspaper man. He lovingly describes the smells ("lead, antimony, and tin . . . hot metal marinated with printer's ink" in the typesetting room) and noise (a cacophony of manual typewriters and animated phone calls) of his chosen profession. More important, Evans presents a narrative of stories and their consequences: the failure of the British health system to provide women with simple screening for cervical cancer; the official ignorance of the pollution that was literally choking the life out of Northern England; the willful failure to recognize and act on the struggles of children born without limbs after their mothers took Thalidomide. In these and many other cases, Evans exposed the "vast official carelessness" that permeated British political life. Of his life in America, which began in the '80s, Evans says relatively little, outside of a few anecdotes of signing book contracts withsuch luminaries as Marlon Brando, Richard Nixon and a then-unknown politician, Barack Obama. A second volume, covering these years, would be most welcome. Despite the title, Evans's memoir is more than relevant in the age of computer news; good reporting still demands what Evans exemplifies here-honesty, courage and dogged determination. Agent: Ed Victor/Ed Victor Ltd.
Melvyn Bragg - The Telegraph
[My Paper Chase] is a work of extravagant exuberance. It is tough, optimistic, full of verve and friendship, written with clarity and energy, and goes like a train..."
Ian Jack - The Guardian
"Like many others I was lucky to have worked with him. His book is illuminating and entertaining on his personal history and it gives a valuable record of what used to be known as English provincial life; more vital then, perhaps than now. But the important reason to read it is that it tells you how good newspapers were once made and why they still matter."
Andrew Marr - BBC
""Inspiring is an overused word. My Paper Chase truly is. Anyone who feels cynical about public life in general, and journalists in particular, should drink down this wonderful book in a single gulp. Harry Evans was the great crusader of the twentieth century British press. His memoir, which is also jaw-dropping social history, is the best education possible in what true journalism's all about."
The Economist
"SIR Harold "Harry" Evans remains one of the great figures of modern journalism. For this reason, and because the kind of campaigning, reporting-based work he stood for is threatened as never before, his autobiography, written as he turned 80, is both gripping and timely."
Robert Harris
Evocative and enjoyable...Evans has a young man's perennial ­enthusiasm: he is 81 going on 18. Reading his autobiography, one quickly grasps how he became the most successful editor of his generation. He exudes a combination of boundless enthusiasm, relentless energy and an almost childlike delight in the sheer ­wonderfulness of newspapers. How can they not survive? ...one feels the warmth of his sunny personality even as the lights seem to be going out in much of print journalism. He saw the best of it - o, lucky man!
The Times
Melvyn Bragg
[My Paper Chase] is a work of extravagant exuberance. It is tough, optimistic, full of verve and friendship, written with clarity and energy, and goes like a train...
The Telegraph
Andrew Marr
Inspiring is an overused word. My Paper Chase truly is. Anyone who feels cynical about public life in general, and journalists in particular, should drink down this wonderful book in a single gulp. Harry Evans was the great crusader of the twentieth century British press. His memoir, which is also jaw-dropping social history, is the best education possible in what true journalism's all about.
BBC
Ian Jack
Like many others I was lucky to have worked with him. His book is illuminating and entertaining on his personal history and it gives a valuable record of what used to be known as English provincial life; more vital then, perhaps than now. But the important reason to read it is that it tells you how good newspapers were once made and why they still matter.
The Guardian
Robert Harris - The Times
"Evocative and enjoyable...Evans has a young man's perennial ­enthusiasm: he is 81 going on 18. Reading his autobiography, one quickly grasps how he became the most successful editor of his generation. He exudes a combination of boundless enthusiasm, relentless energy and an almost childlike delight in the sheer ­wonderfulness of newspapers. How can they not survive? ...one feels the warmth of his sunny personality even as the lights seem to be going out in much of print journalism. He saw the best of it - o, lucky man!"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316031431
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 12/6/2010
  • Pages: 582
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Evans

Harold Evans is the author of the New York Times bestseller The American Century. He was the founding editor of Conde Nast Traveler, editorial director of U.S. News & World Report, and President and Publisher of Random House, where he published a record number of bestsellers. He was editor of the London Sunday Times and of The Times. He lives in New York.

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Table of Contents

Book 1 Vanished Times

1 Grains of Truth 3

2 Getting Up Steam 12

3 First, Know Your Enemy 40

4 Hot Metal 72

5 How I Won the War 100

6 Non Nobis Solum 112

7 The Sting of Disraeli's Gibe 122

8 Stop Press 138

9 Why Aren't Their Women Wearing Our Frocks? 166

10 Adventures in the Land of Opportunity 192

11 From Delhi to Darlington 235

12 Just Causes 263

Book 2 Scoop, Scandal, and Strife

13 The Rolls-Royce of Fleet Street 301

14 The Third Man 323

15 Children on Our Conscience 353

16 Space Barons 385

17 Death in Cairo 413

18 Divided Loyalties 445

19 Showdowns 482

20 My Newfoundland 507

Acknowledgments 545

Principal Sunday Times Books 553

Bibliography 557

Index 565

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun

    Though this book is almost 600 pages long it is a fast read. Thats because Mr. Evans has a very light and fun way of writting. I really enjoyed his discriptions of the old way of gathering news and how much work went into publishing a newspaper. And some of the ground breaking reporting he did is amazing. All in all a very good book.

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  • Posted December 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An unusual and riveting account of British journalism at its heyday!

    Harold Evans' My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times appears a bit intimidating at first, if only because of the breadth, depth, and heft of it. But Harold Evans' writing flows, I found myself thoroughly engrossed. Born in 1928 from working class parents, Evans became a reporter at sixteen. His natural ability, drive, tenacity, and nose for a good story led him not just to excel in his field but to take on unrecognized and unpopular causes and to sway public opinion. One of the book's greatest strengths is the extent to which Evans gives us the background and context for each of the events or stories that he shares.

    At the start, Evans delves into his own background. His father had little formal education but was a genius at numbers. For instance, if you named a date whether it was 25 years ago or just a few months, his father could unerringly identify which day of the week it was. He worked his way up at the railway, beginning as an engine cleaner to the position of driver. His ability to calculate how much a person's wages would be, taking into account the different wage scales, overtime, deductions, and irregular hours, was recognized in his company's accounting staff and won him the gratitude and affection of his colleagues at the railway. Evans points out that in England at that time, his father's mathematical abilities, even coupled with hard work, would not have afforded him better opportunities because of "the Geddes axe." Sir Eric Geddes, a.k.a. Lord Inchcape, a Minister of the Crown and the former manager of the North Eastern Railway Company, had a strong contempt for the abilities of the working class. In his committee's examination of the expenditure of public funds, he advised against giving secondary school education to poor children, "children whose mental capabilities do not justify it" - essentially consigning an entire generation to very limited prospects.

    Evans' generation were given the opportunity to advance through a limited number of scholarships granted to ex-servicemen by the Ministry of Education, through the Butler Education Act in Great Britain. The Butler Act was a more restrictive version of the G.I. Bill but it paid for Evans' university education.

    Evans shares what it was like to work in the early newsrooms, where typewriters, typesetters, scissors, spikes, and paste were critical tools of the trade. In the chapter Stop Press, Evans shares what it was like as a young "copy taster" managing the coverage of the unfolding of the Harrow-Wealdstone disaster - a train crash that quickly became a collision of three trains with 75 dead and 110 feared dead for Manchester Evening News. He managed, edited, revised, and published eight editions in six hours, without the help of computers.

    Evans' projects range from battling air pollution to helping improve overseas newspapers, to beautifying Manchester to exposing the cause of the deadliest DC-10 air crash and uncovering one of the largest health scandals in the century.

    I found it fascinating - it's a book that I'll enjoy rereading at leisure.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

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    Bridget's Review

    I'm a huge fan of memoirs. I love to read about someone else's life. My Paper Chase tells the story of Howard Evans who ran a newspaper and the struggles he faced daily. He charged on even when there was a chance that the newspaper would lose it's place in the world.

    This was a very interesting book that allows you to look back in time and understand that nothing comes easy and everything has a price.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    compelling!

    This is a compelling read. Mr. Evans writes with passion about his love for newspapers, his yearning for education, the responsibilities of journalism. You can practically smell the newsprint as an edition is coming off the presses. I gained a new understanding of the role of investigative journalism and the challenges reporters and editors face. I could not put this book down.

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