Book Review: (Don't) Read all about it…

Love him or loathe him, Max Clifford has undeniably had a major influence on the UK tabloid press over the past forty years. From Ali to Sinatra, OJ Simpson to The Beatles, Max Clifford has operated at the highest (and lowest) levels of British pop culture. He is also the mastermind behind many of the UK’s most memorable kiss-and-tell episodes – and whether you like it or not – the best known PR man in Britain.

This type of “PR” is outside my area of expertise, but Clifford’s continued success, means that he it someone I’ve had a passing interest in. So when I saw his autobiography “Max Clifford – Read all about it” (co-written by Angela Levin) it caught my attention. I realized that it would obviously be carefully positioned to show him in a good light – after all he is in his own version of PR – but I wasn’t prepared for how much spin would be in this tome. In fact, there’s so much spin I am amazed the book isn’t round.

This book is a complete whitewash, it sets out of position Max as the moral guardian of the UK – remember this is the guy who makes extraordinary amounts of money selling kiss-and-tell stories. It is filled with unintended irony and contradiction. To make matters worse it’s written in tabloid prose – where they assume you couldn’t possible remember simple facts so they re-state them again and again. I have to say I was disapointed and amazed that someone so clearly skilled in the business of positioning could produce a book that was simply a bound company brochure.

There’s little real insight into the world of celebrity PR, little insight into the business, and for someone who has rubbed shoulders with the great and the good for forty years, very few interesting stories. Of course, since Max is still working it would be hard to really get into the hard detail, but maybe he should have held off.

There’s little to recommend in this book, save your money.

Of course not everyone agrees with me see the favourable Amazon reviews.

I leave you with an excerpt, the opening of chapter seven:

At home Max was the rock Louise and Liz relied on as he tried to keep them both strong and positive. But his own anxieties remained bottled up inside him. He became an expert at juggling the demands of his work with those of his chrionically sick daughter. He leaned on no one, but escaped from his worries through his work, playing sport and organising sex-based parties.