34 'David Astor has written . . .': 15.11.56, ibid., p. 256. 35 'on the verge of . . .': q. in Kyle, p. 336. 36 'did not like the idea . . .': q. in ibid., p. 304. 37 'Bloody good!': q. in Cockett, David Astor and the Observer, p. 224.
Author: Jeremy Lewis
Publisher: Random House
Few newspaper editors are remembered beyond their lifetimes, but David Astor is a great exception to the rule. Growing up surrounded by astonishing wealth (the family home was so large it included a miniature railway to transport meals to the dining room) Astor’s early life was far from idyllic. At Oxford he suffered the first of the bouts of depression that were to blight his life, and he became a lost soul for much of the Thirties but when he took the Observer on in 1948 he converted a staid Sunday paper into essential reading. Employing the likes of Kim Philby, Vita Sackville-West, Clive James and Patrick O’Donovan (who became famous for writing his report on Bobby Kennedy’s funeral before it had taken place) he doubled the circulation and created a paper envied and admired.