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TREVOR MCDONALD: An Improbable Life
Bibliophile price: £3.25
Sir Trevor McDonald, now in his eighties, has been a leading figure in British news reporting for 50 years. Starting his career in Trinidad on the island's radio station, he had parents who taught him to be ambitious, so when representatives of the BBC World Service visited the island Trevor made his pitch to join the BBC in London. He moved from the BBC to ITN in 1973 and quickly became a regular face in our living rooms, doing the job with consummate professionalism and also, as he was always aware, providing a role model for young black people in the UK. He joined a convivial working atmosphere in the News at Ten office just off Oxford Street, where long lunches were the norm. His first interviewee was the far-right Monday club MP Sir Ronald Bell, who had voted against the game-changing Race Relations Act of 1965. A series of horse shows followed, as Princess Anne embarked on a relationship with her first husband Captain Mark Phillips. Over the years McDonald interviewed scores of world figures including Colonel Gaddafi, Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein and George W Bush. McDonald covered the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and when he interviewed Saddam, the dictator seemed to be suggesting a diplomatic solution, which McDonald had no power to deliver but which might have had far-reaching consequences. When Nelson Mandela was released, McDonald anchored the main ITN News from the top of a flatbed truck in Soweto, and his subsequent interview with Mandela shocked the world as the hero starting by insisting that you must compromise with your opponents. McDonald is an articulate commentator not only on politics but on race relations, and the final chapter is entitled "The politics of black and white". A fascinating read. 322pp, colour photos.

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