Item description for I, Claud: Memoirs of a Subversive (Counterpunch) by Claud Cockburn & Alexander Cockburn...
The memoirs of British radical journalist Claud Cockburn are sardonic, hilarious, and filled with rich historical detail. They tell the story of an Oxford-educated Communist who rubbed elbows with everyone from Al Capone to Charles de Gaulle. From Times correspondent to foreign editor of the Daily Worker, Cockburn witnessed many of the twentieth century’s most important events. He shares his insights with unparalleled, and decidedly irreverent, authorial skill. Includes a new foreword by Alexander Cockburn.
Claud Cockburn (1904–1981) was a renowned journalist and novelist. His novel Beat the Devil was made into a film directed by John Huston.
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Release Date Jan 1, 2008
Publisher AK Press
ISBN 1904859712 ISBN13 9781904859710
Availability 0 units.
More About Claud Cockburn & Alexander Cockburn
Claud Cockburn (19041981) was a renowned radical British journalist. Educated at Oxford University, he was a journalist with The Times, the British communist newspaper the Daily Worker (covering the Spanish Civil War), and his own antifascist newsletter The Week. He is the author of several novels and nonfiction titles
Reviews - What do customers think about I, Claud: Memoirs of a Subversive (Counterpunch)?
Hugely enjoyable Feb 24, 2008
I'm so glad this biography is coming back into print. A few weeks ago I found a battered 1967 edition of this book selling for $2 in a cardboard box outside an Auckland bookstore. I bought it almost absent-mindedly: all I knew about Claud Cockburn was that he was Alexander Cockburn's father, and that he had popularised the saying "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied". The book turned out to be a gem.
It's not merely that Cockburn lived in interesting times. (He was on-scene to witness the Wall Street Crash; interviewed Al Capone; fought in the Spanish Civil War; was publicly condemned by British PM Ramsay MacDonald; was pursued around town by Joachim von Ribbentrop's conspicuously Aryan-looking spies; he even survived the polio epidemic in Ireland's County Cork.) Cockburn has such an offhand and hilariously acerbic way of describing it all. Highlights include:
** Charles De Gaulle's willfully tactless way of telling a patron of the Free French that her help was no longer required.
** The wording of a telegram sent from the dependably gay Gerard Hamilton following the birth a colleague's child whom he was being paid thousands of pounds to 'father'.
** The stunning political illiteracy of a Mrs. Wight, whose fourteen-year-old son had thrown a stink bomb at the Prime Minister during the 1966 general election.
The best thing about Cockburn's writing style is that where most journalists could not resist a smart comment, he knows when to allow garishly silly events to speak for themselves. I've read the memoirs of both George Orwell and Arthur Koestler (who, like Cockburn, saw action in Spain; lived through the inter-war crises; were initially drawn to - and later fled from - the cause of Communism; and railed tirelessly against fascism). I've found that the most famous of the three authors is also the most humourless. Compared to Orwell, therefore, Cockburn's prose style is a breath of fresh air.
And yet it's not all jet-black comedy. Cockburn had his human side, and his personal crises. He was also an astute (and early) observer of the perils of mass-media amalgamation; and in particular, of the deleterious effects advertising would have on a supposedly free press. No doubt Alexander Cockburn (who writes the introduction to this new edition - which I haven't yet read) would like to think that his newsletter "Counterpunch" carries on the traditions of his father's mimeographed, samidzat-like journal "The Week".
I had many enjoyable evenings reading this book. Now that it has been rescued from obscurity, hopefully others will too.