Something Wholesale

Something Wholesale

3.69 (199 ratings by Goodreads)
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Veteran travel writer Eric Newby has a massive following and is cherished as the forefather of the modern comic travel book. However, less known are his adventures during the years he spent as an apprentice and commercial buyer in the improbable trade of women's fashion.

From his repatriation as a prisoner of war in 1945 to his writing of the bestselling 'A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush' in 1956, Eric Newby's years as a commercial traveller in the world of haute couture were as full of adventure and oddity as any during his time as travel editor for the Observer.

'Something Wholesale' is Newby's hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of the disorder that was his life as an apprentice to the family garment firm of Lane and Newby, including hilariously recounted escapades with sudden-onset wool allergies, waist-deep predicaments in tissue paper and the soul-destroying task of matching buttons. In addition to the charming chaos of his work in the family business, it is also a warm and loving portrait of his father, a delightfully eccentric gentleman who managed to spend more energy avoiding and actively participating in disasters than he did in preserving his business.

With its quick wit, self-deprecating charm and splendidly fascinating detail, this is vintage Newby - only with a garment bag in place of a well-worn suitcase.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 15mm | 170g
  • HarperPress
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 0007367511
  • 9780007367511
  • 132,788

Review quote

Praise for 'Something Wholesale':

'It would strain the imagination to picture this stalwart young adventurer selling women's clothes. We are relieved of the difficulty by his own deliciously funny description ... I read it once and liked it awfully' Evelyn Waugh

Praise for Eric Newby:

'Newby is one of the funniest English writers; he more or less invented the modern comic travel book. ... one of our best-loved writers' William Dalrymple, Mail on Sunday

'A marvellous storyteller' Noel Perrin, Washington Post

'Any book by Eric Newby is an event' Len Deighton

'One of the finest and certainly the funniest of British travel writers' Sunday Times

'No one engages his readers more enthusiastically in his adventures, or views the world through fresher eyes. With Eric as tour leader, everything becomes memorable' Christopher Matthew, Daily Mail

'A companion to be chosen above any traveler, past or present, if a real journey were to be made with any writer of books of travel. . . . For it is always Newby we want more of - Newby we sympathise with - Newby's cough, or feet, or dashed hopes, with which we suffer. Without one word of vanity in his books, he emerges effortlessly as the hero of them all' Spectator

'Newby's tremendous enthusiasms ... leave one too exhausted for anything but breathless admiration' Observer
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About Eric Newby

Eric Newby was born in London in 1919. In 1938, he joined the four-masted Finnish barque Moshulu as an apprentice and sailed in the last Grain Race from Australia to Europe, by way of Cape Horn. During World War II, he served in the Black Watch and the Special Boat Section. In 1942, he was captured and remained a prisoner-of-war until 1945. He subsequently married the girl who helped him to escape, and for the next fifty years, his wife Wanda was at his side on many adventures. After the war, he worked in the fashion business and book publishing but always travelled on a grand scale, sometimes as the Travel Editor for the Observer. He was made CBE in 1994 and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Guild of Travel Writers in 2001. Eric Newby died in 2006.
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Rating details

199 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 19% (37)
4 43% (85)
3 29% (58)
2 9% (17)
1 1% (2)
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