It’s often said that the qualities required for success in journalism are: “rat-like cunning, a plausible manner and a little literary ability.” Even so, Murray Sayle, the man who originally coined this dictum, had rather more to offer, as this collection of his best pieces amply demonstrates. To the above mentioned qualities, Murray added extraordinary bravery and a combative individual style that often made waves in his relations with his editors, and sometimes his readers. When not deployed in war zones, he tended to seek relief in hazardous leisure occupations like sailing the Atlantic single-handed or climbing Everest. Part of the Australian diaspora that brought the likes of Clive James, Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries to Britain’s shores, Murray went on to become the top writing journalist on the Sunday Times, reporting almost exclusively from the world’s most dangerous places. Lewis Chester, the compiler of this anthology – part biography, part selected journalism – was a close observer of his rise at that time. A wordsmith all his long life, Murray had no interest in climbing the executive ladder, aside from his editorship of Sydney University’s newspaper (“Honi Soit”) at the age of seventeen. He always thought that the highest ambition of a journalist should be the writing of a good piece. His own achievements in this regard makes this book a must for any student of journalism and a rich entertainment for all other readers.