The Ideal Occupation (Paperback)
Ships from Warehouse
Readers of this relaxed, pleasantly meandering memoir will have a pretty entertaining time themselves. It doesn't aspire to pomp or circumstance. Indeed, it often seems an idiosyncratic little stew of family reminiscences and moments of history. You follow the family Schwarz from Vienna to Manchester, as Hitler spreads his menace. You watch the young Walter get a place at Oxford (too young) and then learn about life on national service in Malaysia. He's a reporter on the Oxford Mail, a hack on the Evening Standard's Londoner's Diary, a freelance in Jerusalem, a failed publisher in Lagos: the shade of William Boot is never too far away. But you also know he's much cleverer than he lets on, because he quotes at length from many of the tales he wrote from far away. In prison or out, during the Biafra breakaway, he was brave and shrewd and eloquent, the best man in the thick of it. He should have had a prize for that.