The Paris Herald: A Novel
James Oliver Goldsborough
Prospecta Press (May 20, 2014), 304 pages
Kindle Edition $9.39, Amazon Hardcover $15.09
The Paris Herald is engaging reading for anyone interested in the newspaper biz. Although this is a novel, it recounts the history in the 1960s of the English-language newspaper The Paris Herald and its owner Jock Whitney. The book recounts his partnership with Katharine Graham of the Washington Post in his struggle to keep the paper alive, and the addition of a third partner, the New York Times, under “Punch” Sulzberger which resulted in the creation of the International Herald Tribune. In the course of the story we also see we see Charles de Gaulle and his key aides.
The book opens and closes with a newspaperman named Archer, but in between there is no clear protagonist. Rather there is an ensemble cast of publishers, editors, reporters, staffers, secretaries, wives, and mistresses. It’s not clear to me how many of these characters are real and how many are fictional, but I suspect that most of them are based on real people.
The story starts to fall apart after the point in the narrative where the Times buys into the paper, but the portrait of Paris in the 1960s and the politics inside Europe’s English-language newspaper make this enjoyable reading.