The book is a collection of twenty six interviews, most of which appeared in Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph magazine and radio times. The interviews are of the rich, the famous and the controversial, ranging from the judge who ordered a death sentence to a frustrated music vocalist.
The interviews deal with the present lives of the interviewees, their past and controversies. The interviews are in the form of conversations. The people interviewed are the sought after personalities of that time like Lord Denning, Graham Greene, Mick Jagger, David Hockney, E.P Thompson, Angela Carter.
‘For my money the best interviewer there now is’ said Terry Coleman in the Guardian about John Mortimer who was a playwright, a novelist and a former practicing barrister of his time and an interviewer and the writer of this book.
A smooth talker and an intelligent questioner is how Mortimer turns out to be in this book. He’s an interviewer who can handle a range of personalities and ask them hard questions without being offensive. The best of quality of Mortimer is that he gives enough space to the interviewee to answer the question the way he/she wants to. He also gives them the liberty to evade difficult questions. But like a clever interviewer, frames up the same question in another way and throws it as bait, which is mostly taken by the interviewee.
Mortimer has done a commendable job by making the interviewees reveal their secrets. A must read for those who want to learn the knack of good interviewing.
- john mortimer: www.guardian.co.uk/culture/john-mortimer
- lord denning: www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/mar/06/claredyer1
- mick jagger: www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/mick-jagger.html
- david hockney: www.davidhockney.com/bio.shtml
- E.P Thompson: www.marxists.org/archive/thompson-ep/index.htm
- Angela Carter: www.themodernword.com/scriptorium/carter.html