Alan Moorehead’s memoir A Late Education is both a poignant account of a lasting friendship and a vivid picture of a world at war. With his striking and sensitive good looks Moorehead was the perfect figure of the fearless and romantic writer and traveller. As a war correspondent in the Second World War he was twice mentioned in dispatches.
Later he would become famous as the author of books on Gallipoli, the discovery of the Blue and White Nile, and the Burke and Wills expedition across his native Australia. A Late Education describes how it all began.
By the time he first met the charismatic English journalist Alex Clifford in 1938, young Moorehead, newly arrived in Europe, had already managed to smuggle himself into Spain on a Russian tanker running supplies of oil to the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. Bumping into one another again in Cairo in 1940, the two became friends and professional rivals, reporting on the war in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North-west Europe, Alex for the Daily Mail and Alan for Beaverbrook’s Daily Express. Though utterly unalike, the two remained close until Alex’s tragic death at the age of 43. It’s easy to see why Moorehead had such a brilliant reputation. With vivid brushstrokes he conjures up the heady atmosphere of his salad days in pre-war London and Paris, the feverish feel of Berlin during the 1936 Olympics, the pathos of the ragged and defeated Republican armies as they struggled over the Pyrenees from Spain into France, the confusion of war in the desert. A Late Education is a haunting book, episodes in the life of a highly observant man who was both a compelling writer and an ace reporter.
‘Beautiful, well produced, well written . . .’
‘Thanks for sending me the Alan Moorehead book. It’s the first one I’ve bought from Slightly Foxed and I am so impressed with its production. I also bought the Hilary Mantel memoir which I will...Read more
‘My idea of heaven . . .’
‘A friend gave me A Late Education for Christmas a few years ago and I loved it. Sitting in bed on Boxing day with a perfect book was my idea of heaven. She now gives me an edition every Christmas...Read more