Media / Talk of the Trade: American rules

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WILLIAM SHAWCROSS's biography of Rupert Murdoch was reviewed sniffily by several British critics, who accused him of being soft on the fearsome tycoon. In the United States, where a shortened, Americanised version of Murdoch has just been published, Mr Shawcross has had an easier time - except from Herbert Mitgang in the New York Times.

While finding the book 'highly informative', Mr Mitgang says that, by agreeing to show Mr Murdoch the manuscript before publication, Mr Shawcross broke 'an unwritten rule for the most esteemed American biographers'. The same courtesy, he points out, was not extended to Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon in Mr Shawcross's earlier book, Sideshow.