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During a long journalistic career, Miriam Gross has worked, and sparred, with some of the most influential figures of the 20th century - poets, philosophers, playwrights, politicians and thinkers. Brought up in wartime Jerusalem, she made her way, via Dartington Hall School and Oxford, to the heart of the pre-spell-check Fleet Street - a trajectory which makes for an often eye-opening perspective on English cultural life. Whether she is describing being ordered to mend her boss's bra at her first job in publishing, or having to rewrite Angus Wilson's slapdash book reviews on the Observer, or being asked to make the women's pages there "more raunchy", she shows a merciless eye for the bogus and the absurd; and is equally unsparing when writing about her own flaws and failures. Alongside reflections on everything from feminism and motherhood to education and anti-semitism, she recounts her numerous infatuations, both requited and unrequited, with the sort of self-deprecating candour that makes this memoir a classic of its kind.

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