A brilliantly evocative memoir from the golden age of newspaper publishing, from a man who helped define our modern media. When Les Hinton first fulfils his schoolboy dream of working on Fleet Street, it is still a place awash in warm beer, black ink, fag ash, and hot metal. Fifty-two years after being sent out to buy a sandwich for his first boss, one Rupert Murdoch, when Les finally leaves Murdoch's employment in 2011, the business of news has been turned upside down, in a tumble of social and technological change. Les Hinton has been present at and noiselessly directed several key scenes in that tale of revolutionary transformation, as employee and later head of Murdoch companies in newspapers, magazines, and television, on three continents over five decades, in Wapping and Wall Street, Australia and California. Born amid the rubble of the blitzed docklands of Bootle, and schooled by an itinerant Army childhood, he came to the centre from the periphery, just as Murdoch did. There, with a gang of like-minded outsiders, he set about redrawing the map of the media. Hinton depicts the upheavals that swept his trade with the same widescreen perspective and sharp colours he deploys to show us how politicians from Clinton to Blair, from Brown to Cameron, alternately canoodled and raged inside their arranged media marriages. We see the death of Diana, the IRA bombings, the charisma of Bill Clinton, and the phone-hacking scandal from a revelatory new angle. And we get the most undeluded and undiluted portrait yet of the man who is perhaps the last of the great press barons. Above all, emerging out of Hinton's scintillating stories of half a century of Murdoch and news revolutions, comes the voice of a wandering Liverpudlian who is still in love with the life of a newspaperman, and now the author of one of the defining media memoirs of our age.
'The stories are all told from the front row.' -- Roy Christopher * Well-Red Bear * 'The yarns are delivered with a classic journalist's eye for the telling physical detail, an ear for the revealing quote and a knack for sequencing facts.' -- David Cohen * Sunday Star Times * 'His narrative of growing up in Bootle, in Liverpool, and many other places around the world then moving into journalism is inspirational for any wanting to follow that path.' -- Steve Howard * Manly Daily * 'An amiable autobiography ... pacey, engrossing and a lot better written than most hacks' memoirs.' -- Michael Leapman * British Journalism Review * 'An honest, cleanly told autobiography ... The journalist within Les Hinton has observed the right professional care by setting his life in context, conveying it with an abundance of charm and refreshingly robust honesty.' * Australian Book Review * 'Les Hinton tells the story of his remarkable life in a remarkable book.' * Weekend Australian * 'Les Hinton's The Bootle Boy: An Untidy Life in News, is an ode to journalism and the amazing, eyeopening, exciting and gratifying life it offers.' * The Australian * 'Brilliant ... a remarkable book.' * Weekend Australian * 'Hinton evokes delicious memories of the analog age of newspapers, describing the smells and sounds of chutes, linotypes, molten lead stereo casting machines and presses roaring amid mists of paper fluff.' * Weekend Australian * 'A fascinating read.' * The Sunday Post Dundee * 'Hinton is likeable and self-deprecating as he conjures up the lost worlds of boyhood and early newspaper days. A must-read for anyone with even a fleeting interest in the media.' * Surrey Advertiser * Does not shy away from criticism of Murdoch's mistakes .... honest, revealing - and a beautifully written page turner. -- William Shawcross 'A rollicking good tale of his extraordinary life ... an utterly charming autobiography.' * William Shawcross * '[A] must-read for anyone with even a fleeting interest in the media.' -- Noreen Barr * Press Association * 'A terrific memoir by one of the all-time great newspapermen. Highly recommend if you want to know what it takes to be a journalist.' -- Piers Morgan 'Les Hinton's story is about the glory and the tragedy of the newspaper business. He knows all the secrets of this tale and few are more clear-eyed than him when they tell it.' -- Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury '[Gives] an unprecedented insight into the media mogul [Murdoch's] ways.' * i * 'It vividly captures the rise and fall of the press over 60 years ... [no] acolyte's paean.' -- Ian Burrell * i * '[A] great romp of a journalistic memoir.' -- Stephen Robinson * The Sunday Times * 'Les Hinton lifts the lid on his 52 years working with the media mogul Rupert Murdoch ... This 'untidy life in news' yields a rich crop of anecdotes.' * The Times * 'An epic story ... and a penetrating insight into the mind of Murdoch.' * Daily Mail *