The Expense of Glory: Life of John Reith

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9780006383512: The Expense of Glory: Life of John Reith

A biography of John Reith who founded and, for its first 14 years, directed the BBC, imbuing it with that Reithian ethos on which arguably it still runs, and establishing a model for public-service broadcasting all over the world. Reith's life was one of both tragic and baroque proportions. A product of Victorian Scottish morality, he stood monumentally for a world of absolutes and standards - of accent, of self-denial, of conduct and self-instruction. He harangued applicants for posts at the BBC with the sternness of his Presbyterian upbringing; he insisted female employees resign on marriage and dismissed male employees who divorced. Yet the great love of his life was not his long-suffering wife Muriel, but a man seven years younger than himself and in old age he had a series of passionate liaisons with much younger women. He was vain, self-absorbed and authoritarian, but he struggled with disappointment, depression, frustration and the faults in his character of which he was periodically aware.

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About the Author:

Ian McIntyre was born in Kincardineshire, the native county of Robert Burns’s father. At Cambridge he read Modern Languages and was President of the Union. He was for nine years Controller of Radio 3 and is a former Associate Editor of ‘The Times’. An occasional broadcaster and a regular contributor to ‘The Times’ book pages, he has most recently published ‘The Expense of Glory’, his highly praised life of the BBC’s first Director-General, John Reith.

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McIntyre, Ian
Published by Harpercollins (1995)
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