Evelyn Waugh’s books on the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935–36

Historian article

By Philip Woods, published 3rd February 2023

Philip Woods discusses Evelyn Waugh’s contribution to understanding the nature of journalism before the Second World War.

This article compares the value to historians of the two books Evelyn Waugh wrote based on his experiences as a war correspondent covering the Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935–36. The popular satiric novel Scoop (1938) is often taken as providing valid insights into the excesses and absurdities of the contemporary newspaper business. There has been little attention paid to the much less successful non-fiction account which Waugh published in 1936 as Waugh in Abyssinia. Yet, it will be argued that this earlier book is a much more reliable guide to his experiences and to the issues confronting the media in reporting the conflict that led up to the Second World War... 

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