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Good Times, Bad Times: With a New Preface by the Author by [Evans, Harold]
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Good Times, Bad Times: With a New Preface by the Author Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews


“Enthralling . . . an excitement worthy of [John] le Carré.” —Charles Wintour, The Observer

“Evans remains one of the great figures of modern journalism.” —The Economist

“Entertaining and important. . . . The book has caused a stir.” —The New York Times

“Extraordinarily well written. A vivid portrait of what it is like to be the editor of a great daily newspaper.”—Chicago Tribune

“If there is one living editor who has carried the fight against the forces of darkness with [the] most vigour, persistence and brilliance, that man is unquestionably Harold Evans.” —The Independent

“Brilliantly written, sustaining a sweeping power of narrative and packed with pungently witty character sketches that will remind Hazlitt. . . . Compulsory reading for all who wish to estimate the strength of foundations of British democracy.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“Much has been written about Rupert Murdoch by journalists peering in from the outside . . . Good Times, Bad Times is by a journalist who was engaged with Murdoch in a struggle to the death.” —The New Republic

“Fascinating . . . both an uncommonly entertaining tale and an important account of the tribulations of the press in an age of international media barons.” —Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

“It’s a compelling book, a wonderful ‘read’. It is often very funny. It is also about journalism and good stories and editing. . . . One can think of a long list of prime ministers who have done less for publishing liberties in this country than Harold Evans did.” —London Review of Books

“Fascinating.” —Simon Jenkins

Book Description

Harold Evans reveals the inside story of Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of the Times of London and Murdoch’s rise to become a global media power

Product Details

  • File Size: 1707 KB
  • Print Length: 602 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (September 20, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 20, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005NY4QFI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Hugh Claffey on August 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I grew up reading Harold Evan's Sunday Times - in the late 1970s it provided a window on the world that few other papers could. I particularly remember comprehensive coverage of Egyptian President Sadats historic visit to Jerusalem; ongoing coverage of Soviet dissidents and a very welcome (I'm Irish) editorial urging Britain to consider withdrawal from Northern Ireland. However, from today's perspective, the paper's foreign coverage seemed to be written from a point of view which could be summarised as `what would the world do without Henry Kissinger?' [Indeed this has always seemed to be Mr. Kissinger's view also]; and that Soviet unreasonableness was a product of American hawkish unreasonableness and that balance, compromise and reasonableness were achievable with enough negotiation. My memory is of positive disdain for the emerging tax revolt in California and absolute dread at the more confrontational foreign policy approach being urged by followers of Governor Reagan. A major positive for me was the explanatory diagrams and the furtively taken photographs of Soviet missiles (SS-20s?) being deployed in Russian forests. I was reminded of these diagrams in 2002/3 when the modern Sunday Times gave excellent descriptions - supported by diagrams - of Saddam's mobile chemical/biological weapons labs - which turned out not to exist.

In saying all the above, I mean both to pay tribute to Harold Evans and to put in context the criticisms I have of this book - which contains descriptions of his triumphs as Sunday Times editor and his difficulties as Times Editor under Rupert Murdoch.
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Format: Paperback
The last 35 years have depleted the number of directors who actually sat around the board table with Harry Evans at Times Newspapers in 1981. His book concentrates on the events immediately following the company's acquisition by Rupert Murdoch. Evans has used his acknowledged skills as a writer to portray a clash between a hero and a villain. He casts himself as the hero, fighting to transfer his successes at The Sunday Times to the failing Times. Rupert Murdoch certainly does not need me as his defender and I have nothing to gain from being a critic of this book but the reader needs to be warned that it was largely driven by animus born when Evans' attempts to buy The Sunday Times failed. It was and remains my belief that Evans carefully documented conversations at the board table with the intent of using them in a future book. His skills as a writer and the career he built are well documented but 1981 was not one of his better years and this book attempts to explain that the reason was Murdoch's actions and not his. Prior to the purchase there were tough negotiations with the unions. We sought significant staff reductions to slow down the huge losses. He declared it was "an opportunity lost." This came from an editor and board member who with complete disdain for our budgets went out and hired additional journalists at higher rates of pay. His resignation process was almost theatrical even to the point of a double take when the TV crew arrived late. After his book was released I saw him in Fleet Street where he had been attending a book signing. He asked me if I had read it. I told him I had not. He said "you should, you are one of the heroes." I replied that that was not necessarily a good thing. The book has merit but should not be regarded as an accurate account of what actually happened in the stormy days of 1981.
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Format: Paperback
This book covers the remarkable career of an editor from about 1960 to 1983. He edited the Sunday Times and then, when Murdoch bought it out, he took over the Times itself as well. He began as a courageous challenger on neglected issues: there are wonderful stories of his pioneering efforts on Thalidomide children, the uncovering of the extent of Philby's espionnage, and many other adventures. Evans and his team braved threats from the government, law suits, and extremists. That is the first 3rd of the book. Evans also gives a wonderful explanation of the political ecology of a great newspaper: an independent staff working for a proprietor who believes in the journalistic mission of informing and serving society. It is a compelling plea, one that I believe in. He also gives a clear idea of the economics of the Times and hence, all British newspapers. Most significantly, the unions were out of control and damaging the company with strikes and ruinous disobedience. He also gives a wonderful history of the Times and the role it played in British society, with an analysis of the institutional factors that enabled it to have the impact that it did. It is absolutely fascinating and essential, a testament to idealism of a sort.

The rest of the book is about his professional relationship, and then desperate, cutthroat conflict with Rupert Murdoch, who is the most powerful media mogul of this time. After a long and enervating struggle with the unions, the original ("good") proprietor decided to sell quickly. Murdoch, who is nothing if not a business man of genius, was ready: he had the cash and a relentless drive to own the prestige of the Times, one of the world's oldest and greatest newspapers.

According to Evans, Murdoch was the exact opposite of the former owner.
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