A Hack’s Progress (1997)

November 5, 1998 · 1 comment

in Books

In this revealing and very funny account of his career in journalism, Phillip Knightley tells the real story of a reporter’s life. From inauspicious beginnings as a seaman, vacuum cleaner salesman and South Sea Island trader, he went on to work for the notorious, foul-mouthed Australian newspaper magnate Ezra Norton, whose lurid tabloid became the model for the Sun and the New York Post.

Eventually, Knightley moved to England and wriggled his way on to the staff of the Sunday Times just as it entered its golden years. Twice winner of the Journalist of the Year award, he covered some of the most dramatic and ground-breaking stories of his time – exposing the cynical double-dealing of Thalidomide, reporting on the shadowy machinations of the Profumo scandal and unravelling the Hitler Diaries fiasco. Knightley’s investigations into the world of espionage led to an extraordinary correspondence with Kim Philby – the spy who betrayed a generation – and he became one of the few journalists to get access to Philby in Russia.

A Hack’s Progress is a vivid and revealing portrait of the press, and a compelling insider’s view of the stories behind the stories. At once thoughtful and marvellously entertaining, it is one of the best books ever written about journalism.

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