Scribe UK is to publish The Bootle Boy: An Untidy Life in News by Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man for over five decades.
Born during the war in the Liverpool dockside district of Bootle, Hinton came from a family of bakers, cooks, dockers and theatre managers. He had a peripatetic childhood due to his father’s exotic army postings in the twilight of the British Empire, culminating in the family emigrating to Australia. At 15, Hinton landed a job as a copy boy at an Adelaide newspaper owned by the rising star of the Australian press, Rupert Murdoch. The rest is "media and business history", as Hinton rose to become integral to Rupert’s business.
Publisher Philip Gwyn Jones acquired UK, EU and Commonwealth rights in the book from Emma Parry at Janklow & Nesbit US, which retains North American, audio, broadcasting and translation rights.
Gwyn Jones said Hinton's "thoroughly revealing" memoir is "far more interesting" than a mere "mud-slinging or revenge-taking book".
"The Bootle Boy is so winningly honest and undeluded, and there is plenty of meat in it about politicians and journalists and pop stars and the Davos world alike, and of course about Murdoch, all delivered most tastily cooked. Amongst its other virtues, this might just be the most thoroughly revealing portrait of The Digger [Murdoch] we are ever likely to get", said Gwyn Jones. "It is not a mud-slinging or revenge-taking book. It is far more interesting than that, as a portrait of how great businesses are built, run and grow, and how one man can come to control the flow of news down so many channels. Not least because of its evocative depiction of the challenges faced by the ordinary working families of Britain during the war and during the austerity and end of empire that followed it, it is if anything most reminiscent of This Boy by former Labour Minister Alan Johnson, and will, we think, appeal to that book’s thousands of fans."
Hinton said: "I wanted to tell a story of change and vanishing worlds: struggling, proud Bootle, and the bulldozed neighbourhood where I was born; a childhood of travels through the dying British Empire, where everywhere I went the sun was setting on it; the wild, often nutty, world of shapeshifting global media; the mighty empires of print that were swept away, to become creaking supertankers lost in the spray of a sleek fleet of algorithm-fuelled speedboats.
"Over fifty years, I met a lot of people and saw a lot of things. Rupert Murdoch was a big part of my working life and this book contains my version of the truth about him. Rupert could be hell to work for and he earned many of his enemies. He’s a driven businessman with heavy boots who bruised a lot of people. But, love or hate him, he’s an authentic colossus. I saw him at all angles: brilliant, brutal, and often - to the surprise of many - extraordinarily kind."
Scribe will publish The Bootle Boy in summer 2018.