I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy : The short and gilded life of Tara Browne, the man who inspired The Beatles' greatest song

4.18 (174 ratings by Goodreads)
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Few people rode the popular wave of the sixties quite like Tara Browne. One of Swinging London's most popular faces, he lived fast, died young and was immortalized for ever in the opening lines of 'A Day in the Life', a song that many critics regard as The Beatles' finest. But who was John Lennon's lucky man who made the grade and then blew his mind out in a car?

Author Paul Howard has pieced together the extraordinary story of a young Irishman who epitomized the spirit of the times: racing car driver, Vogue model, friend of The Rolling Stones, style icon, son of a peer, heir to a Guinness fortune and the man who turned Paul McCartney on to LSD.

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy is the story of a child born into Ireland's dwindling aristocracy, who spent his early years in an ancient castle in County Mayo, and who arrived in London just as it was becoming the most exciting city on the planet.

The Beatles and the Stones were about to conquer America, Carnaby Street was setting the style template for the world and rich and poor were rubbing shoulders in the West End in a new spirit of classlessness. Among young people, there was a growing sense that they could change the world. And no one embodied the ephemeral promise of London's sixties better than Tara Browne.

Includes a sixteen-page plate section of stunning colour photographs.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 130 x 197 x 25mm | 305g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main Market Ed
  • 1509800042
  • 9781509800049
  • 57,408

Review quote

The devastating crash that killed him has become near folkloric, not least because of the Beatles song that is the title of this book. But for many people who read the news that day, Tara is alive and golden, beautiful and poetic, somewhere deep in their hearts today * Spectator * A compelling, sympathetic and unusually poignant book about someone whose star may have burned briefly, but who has left an indelible impression on almost everybody he left behind * Daily Mail * A masterpiece -- Ian O'Riordan * Irish Times * A richly populated history traced along this spirited character's journey from Ireland to Swinging London, it is a fascinating piece of work * Daily Telegraph * Dramatic and engrossing . . . the opening chapters read like an Irish Great Gatsby by way of Downton Abbey . . . "A lucky man who made the grade", as The Beatles have it in A Day in the Life? This book removes Browne from a song lyric and repositions him as an alluring figure of wonderment . . . This is a masterpiece -- Brian Boyd * Irish Times * I was fascinated to read this beautifully written book, which gripped me on many different levels. Vividly telling the extraordinary story of Tara Browne, a mythical figure through the Beatles' song, showing how extremes of love with no rules combined with limitless funds, is as disastrous as it is glamorous. Paul Howard documents in detail through his exacting conversations with many of the people in Tara's life, the post war/pre 60s British aristocratic attitudes - illuminating a life that seems more like centuries ago, than decades. Having been to Luggala as a child, and remembering my meeting with Oonagh, Paul brought her to life for me, told me much I had absolutely no idea about, showing both her brilliance and originality - and also the tragic outcome of many of her choices. It is a compelling read and a story that is only possible to believe because it is actually true. I can only hope that Julian and Dorian live more peaceful, if less exciting lives. -- Julia Samuel, founder of Child Bereavement UK and author of Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving A vivid and immaculately researched account of a remarkable life. A fascinating journey through post-war Irish and English society, in the company of a cast of extraordinary characters. -- Antony Edmonds, author of Oscar Wilde's Scandalous Summer This is a wonderful book about the Swinging Sixties; it opens a door into an extraordinary world that we all clung to long ago, and dreamed of remotely, at the other end of our tiny transistor radios. Back then we only knew the sound track. But this is the real thing. Man -- Michael Harding, author of Staring at Lakes: A Memoir of Love, Melancholy and Magical Thinking I read - no, devoured - I Read the News Today, Oh Boy. It's an absolute gem. Great humour is balanced with the sadness, and the writing is so deft with all that research woven so lightly into the mix. I can only imagine how much labour is involved in making it all flow so effortlessly -- John Butler, writer and director of The Stag Tara Browne held the rare quality of romance. A figure of intense but passive glamour, he stood at the epicentre of the bohemian Anglo-Irish aristocracy and 1960s London at its most swinging, yet somehow gave the air of merely passing through life. In a wonderfully readable book, gleaming with detail, Paul Howard evokes the splendid vanished worlds that Browne inhabited and - no easy thing to do - makes us believe in his elusive, imperishable enchantment -- Laura Thompson, author of Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters I loved it! Howard's skilful evocation of an extraordinary turning point in cultural history is an absolute joy to read. The life of Tara Browne offers the perfect conduit into a psychedelic world populated by a legendary cast of characters that you simply couldn't make up. While it's clear that Howard undertook years of rigorous original research, his prose is always gripping and never laboured. The deep but slightly exasperated affection Howard feels for Browne injects pathos into this highly entertaining account of an extraordinary, chaotic, high-octane life -- Eleanor Fitzsimons, author of Wilde's Women: How Oscar Wilde Was Shaped by the Women He Knew After all these years, we at last know about the real life of the lucky man who made the grade. I found it fascinating to discover the true story of Tara Browne, a legend in a lyric. -- Hunter Davies, author of The Beatles: The Authorised Biography Tara Browne was the golden boy around whom, for a short while, the entire extraordinary world of Sixties London seemed to revolve. Tara knew everybody and they all loved him, not for his money, as he feared, but because he, above them all, embodied the spirit of the age. I absolutely loved this book. It's a brilliant, vivid portrait of extraordinary times -- Miranda Seymour, author of In My Father's House
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About Paul Howard

Paul Howard is a multi-award-winning journalist, author, playwright and comedy writer. He is best known in his native Ireland as the creator of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, a fictional rugby jock and the star of a series of books that have sold well over one million copies in Ireland. He is a former Irish Sports Journalist of the Year, an Irish Newspaper Columnist of the Year and a three-times Irish Book Award winner. He has written for stage and for television. He is a Beatles nut and lives in County Wicklow with his wife, Mary.
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Rating details

174 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 41% (71)
4 39% (67)
3 19% (33)
2 2% (3)
1 0% (0)
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