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on May 10, 2002
A truly funny satire of the newspaper business. Waugh's wit, unlike other so called British humorists, is funny even to a colonial like me.
Through a wonderfully hilarious mistaken identity, William Boot is sent to Africa by the daily newspaper The Beast on rumors that the country of Ishmalea is on the verge of revolution. Waugh's portrayal of Lord Copper, the newspaper magnate, Lady Stitch, and Slater,the newspaper's foreign editor, is very funny.
Boot is the newspaper's reporter of farm news and is flabergasted at Cooper and Slater's insistence that he go to Ishmalea to cover the revolution. He reluctantly agrees to go only because of the opportunity it presents to fly in an airplane.
Upon arriving in Ishmalea, Boot is united with foreign correspondents of other European and American newspapers. He quickly discovers that there really is no news to report and that for the most part the other reporters are making thier own news. Most of the stories are genrated by the infamous Lord Hitchcock who rarely leaves his hotel room.
While in Ishmalea, Boot meets a mysterious German girl, who he falls madly in love with. Boot reports on a mini-revolution that lasts about a day. For his good work, Boot is recalled home to a hero's welcome by The Beast.
Boot desires to return to his agrarian lifestyle much to the dismay of Lord Cooper who sends Slater to the country to persuade Boot to stay on at the Beast and to attend a banquet in his honor. Slater's visit to the Boot homestead is truly hillarious.
In a wonderful irony John Boot, the novelist that Lord Cooper intended to send to Ishmalea, is knighted for his work at the bequest of Lord Cooper and then sent to Antartica as a foreign correspondent.