Miriam Gross, as a journalist and editor, has worked with some of the most influential figures of the 20th century - poets, philosophers, playwrights and politicians. This book offers recollections from 40 years at the heart of English cultural life. Brought up in wartime Jerusalem, she was deposited by her parents, speaking no English, at the bohemian Dartington Hall School; and then continued her education at Oxford where - eschewing her quiet, tea-drinking contemporaries at St Anne's - she found her way into more glamorous academic circles. From there it was a short hop to pre-spell-check Fleet Street. Her descriptions - whether she is having to mend her boss's bra on her first day at work, or rewriting Angus Wilson's slapdash book reviews, or being asked to make the women's pages of the Observer "more raunchy" - show a merciless eye for the bogus and the absurd. Alongside reflections on everything from feminism and motherhood to education and anti-semitism, she recounts her numerous infatuations, both requited and unrequited, with the sort of self-deprecating candour that makes this memoir a classic of its kind.
Miriam Gross has worked on the Observer, as deputy literary editor and then as woman's editor; on the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph as arts and literary editor; and as senior editor on Standpoint magazine. She is the editor of two collections of essays, The World of George Orwell and The World of Raymond Chandler and the author of So Why Can't they Read?, a pamphlet on literacy in London's state schools.