My Paper Chase, By Harold Evans

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The Independent Culture

Harold Evans is the newspaperman's newspaperman. The son of a railwayman, he took his first job at 16 on the Ashton-under-Lyne Weekly Reporter and worked at the Manchester Evening News and Northern Echo before his talents hit Fleet Street. My Paper Chase is a sharp, beautifully written account of the British newspaper industry which, in hindsight, was at its zenith when Evans assumed the mantle of editor of The Sunday Times in 1967.

Though the intricacies of his editorship were described in a previous memoir in 1983, Good Times, Bad Times, they are worth retelling, especially the stories which won Evans his reputation, on Kim Philby, Thalidomide and the 1979 DC-10 air crash.

Now that he is 83, and has observed the Wapping dispute and the internet revolution, you might expect Evans to carp. He does have a few sharp words about Rupert Murdoch, but Evans concludes with a chapter about looking over the shoulder of his wife Tina Brown, who now edits the campaigning news website The Daily Beast. There's no printer's ink, but, he observes, "it's not the delivery system that counts. It is what it delivers."