What's That You Say, Mr Robinson?

Gallagher, Donat (2009) What's That You Say, Mr Robinson? Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies, 39 (3). - .

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Abstract

[Extract] Stephen Robinson’s The Remarkable Lives of W. F. Deedes is a sound biography, indispensable for anyone interested in Bill Deedes—journalist, soldier, parliamentarian, editor, cabinet minister, peer and amazingly long-lived roving reporter. It also sheds interesting light on twentieth-century newspaper history, the earliest use of television for political purposes and post-war Conservative Party politics. Two weak chapters irrelevantly pillory Evelyn Waugh. Born in 1913, W. F. (Bill) Lord Deedes was still working when he died in 2007, aged 94. By then he was a household name, widely admired as the epitome of a good journalist, a secular saint working with the likes of Princess Diana on anti-landmines crusades. Robinson declares his book The Authorised Biography, but it offers much personal information that tempers the public myth. Deedes emerges as spectacularly averse from normal contact with his wife and children, a shallow thinker with a Vicar-of-Bray-like capacity for emerging on the winning side following newspaper closures and hostile takeovers—his “subaltern’s mind” making him respectful of even the most repellent authority. Deedes and Waugh shared some traits, such as dressing well and keeping their English reserve; both were proud of their “trade,” whether as “working journalist” or “writer,” but in most respects they were opposites

Item ID: 14876
Item Type: Article (Book Review)
Keywords: Deedes; Waugh; Robinson; Abyssinia; journalism; biography
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2010 05:41
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature @ 33%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210310 Middle Eastern and African History @ 33%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200104 Media Studies @ 34%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 34%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 33%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europes Past @ 33%
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