Monday, January 17, 2022

Michael Russell (1933 – 2020)

Described in The Telegraph’s obituary of him as a “publisher, wit and author,” Michael Russell is best known for writing the spoof memoirs of J. R. Hartley – the charming mythical old man of Yellow Pages advert fame in the 1980s. Bournemouth born, Oxford educated and a father of three, Russell loved horse racing and fishing and was known for his “extremely shrewd judgement as to which books would sell in shops.” His one-man company produced over 500 books by the time of his death and amongst titles that were hits were Richard Spitzy’s How We Squandered the Reich – a book that described Hitler as being “like a cross between a head waiter and a chimney sweep.”

 

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    • I wish they made adverts like this today. Such a charming story and the obituary reminded me of it – so I thought it would lift some spirits right now to share it more widely.

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