From the self serving grandiosity of Conrad Black to the raise and mysterious demise of Robert Maxwell, I have always enjoyed reading about people in the media. David Leser is neither self serving, nor mysterious, and he has written an at times brutally honest account of his life as a journalist, being a son, and being a husband and a father. Told with much wit and insight, his story cleverly uses world events and the many fascinating people he has met along the way as a backdrop to his own journey. Having spent much time in Jerusalem, a proud, but somewhat agnostic Jew, he agonises over the conundrum that is the Israel oppression of the Palestinian people. He serves up fascinating tidbits of the very long list of people he has interviewed and written about, not shying away from having opinions about those that may not share his own values, yet without malice or the hubris prevalent in the media world he inhabits. His meetings with Allan Jones are told with humour and due reverence to the enigmatic, self important and influential radio host. (That Jones sued Leser for the article he wrote about him speaks volumes about the narcissistic paranoia of Jones, but that is another story, and not one Leser himself dwells on to his credit.)
David is equally candid about his own demons, not least in the way he describes the at times fractious, but fundamentally loving, relationship with his mercurial father, the long-serving CEO of Conde Nast, one of the world’s largest media companies. He weaves the story of his family, fortunate survivors of the Holocaust, into that of his own at times painful pilgrimage of self-discovery. In summary, this is not so much an autobiography but a ripping yarn about a passionate, deeply caring, word- and world-wise man, worts and all. Do your self a favour and read it!