Oxford University Press, 2020
History is replete with individuals who led extraordinary and influential lives yet who are largely unknown today. Harry Perry Robinson (1859–1930) is one of these, and this book seeks to remedy that oversight (xiii).
|HPR in 1896 While in America|
|HPR (Top Center) with Fellow War Correspondents|
So much of Harry's unusual life is described in the 368 pages of Escape Artist that it is impossible to touch on it all in a short review. He was knighted due to his war coverage and became Sir Harry Perry Robinson. He returned to England but spent much time in the south of France due to health problems. In 1923 he accompanied Lord Carnarvon to Egypt and to the much-anticipated opening of part of Tutankhamun's tomb, filing stories to feed the growing "Tut-mania" and for the first time truly experiencing the feeding frenzy of the international press. (270)
Before he died in December 1930, he created somewhat of a storm by arguing in an article in the Times, "No More Olympic Games," that further games should be cancelled. His reasons are amply detailed and described in the book, as are all the fascinating events of Harry's incredible life.
I don't think I've ever enjoyed a memoir as much as I enjoyed this life of Harry Perry Robinson. The book is a "keeper" that I intend to read more than once. Author Joseph McAleer has done us a great favor by so ably bringing this complex and intriguing character to life again.
David F. Beer