Archive | September, 2017


5 Sep

Scribe UK and Scribe Australia are delighted to announce that next summer they will publish The Bootle Boy: An Untidy Life in News by Les Hinton, who was Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man over five decades.

Born during the war in the Liverpool dockside district of Bootle, Les came from a teeming and lively family of bakers, cooks, dockers and theatre managers. He had a peripatetic childhood thanks to his father’s exotic Army postings in the twilight of the British Empire, culminating in the family emigrating to Australia. At 15, Les landed a job as a copy boy at an Adelaide newspaper owned by the rising star of the Australian press, Rupert Murdoch. The rest is media and business history, as Les rose to become integral to Rupert’s business.

Publisher Philip Gwyn Jones says; ‘Les was a keystone in the construction of an ever mightier media empire that came to encircle the globe, midwife a media revolution or two, and play a very significant role in governmental policy and public opinion on four continents. Les was at the mogul’s side for five fascinating decades — an experience he recalls and illuminates with great flair and gusto in this riveting memoir. It is so winningly honest and undeluded, and there is plenty of meat in it about politicians and journalists and pop stars and the Davos world alike, and of course about Murdoch, all delivered most tastily cooked. Amongst its other virtues, this might just be the most thoroughly revealing portrait of The Digger we are ever likely to get. It is not a mud-slinging or revenge-taking book. It is far more interesting than that, as a portrait of how great businesses are built, run and grow, and how one man can come to control the flow of news down so many channels. Not least because of its evocative depiction of the challenges faced by the ordinary working families of Britain during the war and during the austerity and end of empire that followed it, it is if anything most reminiscent of This Boy by former Labour Minister Alan Johnson, and will, we think, appeal to that book’s thousands of fans.’

Les says; ‘I wanted to tell a story of change and vanishing worlds: struggling, proud Bootle, and the bulldozed neighbourhood where I was born; a childhood of travels through the dying British Empire, where everywhere I went the sun was setting on it; the wild, often nutty, world of shapeshifting global media; the mighty empires of print that were swept away, to become creaking supertankers lost in the spray of a sleek fleet of algorithm-fuelled speedboats. Over fifty years, I met a lot of people and saw a lot of things.’

‘Rupert Murdoch was a big part of my working life and this book contains my version of the truth about him. Rupert could be hell to work for and he earned many of his enemies. He’s a driven businessman with heavy boots who bruised a lot of people. But, love or hate him, he’s an authentic colossus. I saw him at all angles: brilliant, brutal, and often – to the surprise of many – extraordinarily kind.’

Philip Gwyn Jones at Scribe acquired UK, EU & Commonwealth rights in the book from Emma Parry at Janklow & Nesbit US, which retains North American, audio, broadcasting and translation rights.