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17 June, 2011

A LOOK AT SIR HAROLD MATTHEW EVANS' RIVETING LITERARY WORK: "MY PAPER CHASE: TRUE STORIES OF VANQUISHED TIMES"

Through My Paper Chase: True Stories Of Vanquished Times (www.hbgusa.com; www.amazon.com), Sir Harold Matthew Evans transports us to a place and space in time when newspaper and magazine editors and publishers demanded that materials submitted to them by journalists contain facts that had been "double-checked" and "triple-checked". "Sources" for articles had to be verified not once, but two, three, and sometimes even, four times. Proofreaders brandished editing pencils that rooted out grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors in materials submitted for publication. Linotype machines transformed typewritten words into newsprint. Computers, computer terminals, iPads, e-mail, the Internet, blogs, and social media platforms such as TWITTER and FACEBOOK did not exist.

My Paper Chase: True Stories Of Vanquished Times breathtakingly chronicles Sir Evans' journalism career which began in 1944, at the age of 16, as a reporter for the Ashton-under-Lyne Weekly Reporter Series in Lancashire. He served as an Assistant Editor at the Manchester Evening News; Editor of The Northern Echo, a regional daily newspaper; Editor of The Sunday Times; Editor of the Times of London; and Director of Goldcrest Films and Television. In 1984, Sir Evans moved to the United States where he joined the faculty at Duke University. Subsequently he was appointed Editor-in-Chief at The Atlantic Monthly Press. In 1996, he became the Founding Editor of Conde Nast Traveler and from 1990 through 1997, Sir Evans served as President and Publisher of the Random House Trade Group. From 1997 through 2000, Sir Evans donned the mantle of Editorial Director and Vice Chairman of U.S. News and World Report, the New York Daily News, and The Atlantic Monthly.

Sir Evans discovered in his early teens that journalism made his heart sing and his soul dance -- a discovery he eloquently recounts on pages 10 through 11 of My Paper Chase: True Stories Of Vanquished Times

" . . . Newspapers were clearly more important and more fascinating than I had imagined, reporting more than a matter of stenography. But how was I to become a reporter and learn the newspaper trade? I was a working-class boy who had already been branded a failure, having failed to qualify for grammar school (the English equivalent, roughly of American high school). Was I reaching too far? Was I really fit for the work? What were the pitfalls, the ethical dilemmas, and the traps I could barely imagine? How could I equip myself to decode the complex, ever-changing, thrillingly dynamic mosaic of live news and bring it to the public with the raw integrity of truth? So began my paper chase."

Sir Evans' observation at a very young age about the "clear importance of newspapers" was definitely on point. Under his stewardship, a number of publications became agents of positive change.

My Paper Chase: True Stories Of Vanquished Times is a dazzling and soulful literary work masterfully crafted by Sir Harold Matthew Evans that points out the unique relationship that exists between journalism and history and the power of the written word while simultaneously offering riveting life lessons about integrity, compassion, and stepping out on faith.