Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Scoop (1938)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,201662,858 (3.82)225
Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the "Daily Beast, " has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs. Algernon Stitch, Lord Copper feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. So begins "Scoop, "Waugh's exuberant comedy of mistaken identity and brilliantly irreverent satire of the hectic pursuit of hot news.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 225 mentions

English (60)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Odd book really. Very dated language and ideas. Didn't see any of the humour, but the irony was laid on in spades ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Insider's expose of how the press and politics work. It's also very funny as well as on occasion patronising and racist, in part a product of its author, but also of its time. Some have suggested this is a satire. Don't be fooled. It's all true. ( )
  peterjt | Feb 20, 2020 |
As he was gaining fame as a novelist, Evelyn Waugh spent time as newspaper correspondent in Africa covering the Ethiopian-Italian war. That experience was essential in forming the basic plot of Scoop, which above all else is a fierce satire of the state of journalism in Great Britain of the 1930s. In the book, the owner of a London-based tabloid newspaper who is always in pursuit of the next hot story, charges his foreign editor to hire an up-and-coming writer to cover an emerging conflict in the African country of Ishmaelia. The editor erroneously taps the writer’s cousin, an introverted man who produces a minor nature column from his village home. This case of mistaken identity sets in motion an unlikely, but often amusing, series of events that fall somewhere between screwball comedy and a bitter indictment of how Fleet Street went about its business at that time. After many travails, the impromptu reporter is successful in uncovering news of an attempted coup-d’etat—sort of, anyway—which represents the “scoop” of the novel’s title. After that experience, the fledging correspondent happily returns to his country home, while a different relative of his benefits from yet another instance of switched identities.

I am somewhat torn as to how to evaluate this book. On one hand, I appreciate its skewering view of a subject that certainly invites considerable lampooning and scorn. Indeed, while technology has evolved greatly over the ensuing decades, the basic complaints in Scoop as to how journalism sometimes functions could still be written today. Also, the novel gives the reader a keen, if scathing, insight into British culture as it existed just before WWII. As much as anything, that is likely the reason why the book continues to be so well regarded in critical circles (e.g., it is rated on Modern Library’s list of the top novels of the last century). On the other hand, despite its farcical style, it is not always a pleasant book for a present-day audience; the dismissive colonial perspective that Waugh adopts is considered by many to be overtly racist. In fact, by some accounts, the author himself was a rude, cruel, and snobbish man—he supported fascist causes early in his career—which makes it hard to separate the fiction from the artist. So, while I certainly enjoyed the glimpse the book offers into the British mindset of a long-passed era, it does not rank among my favorite reading experiences. ( )
  browner56 | Dec 27, 2019 |
Well, if I’d thought Black Mischief was racist, it’s almost woke compared to Scoop. And yet Scoop is the Waugh novel which appears on so many best of lists, including “Best British Novels of All Time”. Of course, the people putting together these lists are not the ones who are troubled by the casual everyday racism embedded in them, but things have changed – for the better – and these works really should be re-evaluated in light of present-day sensibilities. And yes, I’m happy to call any right-winger a fascist, even if their views don’t fit the dictionary definition of fascism, let’s not forget taxonomy is a derailing technique and the only people who derail arguments are people who don’t want their views held up to public scrutiny. Because they’re probably fascist. Or racist. Like Scoop actually is. Its story is apparently inspired by real events, but it’s still a story about a white man – a hapless white man, it must be said – who goes to an “uncivilised” African country. Because all brown countries are, of course, uncivilised. At least to 1930s white people. But then, to add insult to injury, the text is filled with a number of racial slurs, not just spoken in dialogue, but in the actual descriptive prose. I lost count of them. The big joke is that a newspaper magnate has picked the wrong man – due to some confusion over names – to be his foreign correspondent covering a civil war in the invented African nation of Ishmaelia, but the Ishmaelians are too stupid and indolent to actually fight and all that happens is a series of contradictory communiques by government agencies. It’s a variation on Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, but written from a British colonialist perspective of the 1930s. Waugh was a terrible snob and a horrible person – it’s well-documented, he was deemed “officer most likely to be shot by his troops” during WWII – but he had a wonderful prose style. It’s a dilemma. His command of English is a joy to behold, but he wrote horribly racist and snobbish books (the latter allegedly presented as “comedy”). Read him and then throw his books away, that’s my strategy. ( )
  iansales | Dec 19, 2019 |
This is a novel about misunderstandings. Due to a misunderstanding, a London newspaper sends their nature editor to cover a war in a distant African country where he receives unintelligible cables from his head office. In Africa, there are considerable misunderstandings between the Reporters and the locals. In London, there are plenty of misunderstandings between the city mouse characters and the country mouse characters. Although these misunderstandings were likely humorous to readers when the book was first published, they make the novel very difficult to read for modern readers. The book does not really seem to be worth the effort. ( )
  M_Clark | Jan 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waugh, Evelynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blewitt, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duzijn-van Zeelst, M.E.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, HenriTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hitchens, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ràfols Gesa, FerranTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weyergans, FranzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
While still a young man, John Courteney Boot had, as his publisher proclaimed, 'achieved an assured and enviable position in contemporary letters'.
Why, once Jakes went out to cover a revolution in one of the Balkan capitals. He overslept in his carriage, woke up at the wrong station, didn't know any different, got out, went straight to a hotel, and cabled off a thousand-word story about barricades in the streets, flaming churches, machine guns answering the rattle of his typewriter as he wrote, a dead child, like a broken doll, spreadeagled in the deserted roadway before his window - you know.
There was something un-English and not quite right about 'the country', with its solitude and self-sufficiency, its bloody recreations, its darkness and silence and sudden, inexplicable noises; the kind of place where you never know from one minute to the next that you may not be tossed by a bull or pitchforked by a yokel or rolled over and broken up by a pack of hounds.
'Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole...'
'Up to a point, Lord Copper.'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.82)
1 7
1.5 4
2 28
2.5 16
3 128
3.5 51
4 210
4.5 26
5 139

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187492, 0141195126, 0141193468

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 148,051,470 books! | Top bar: Always visible