John Preston: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell

Join John Preston, author of the recently released film The Dig and A Very English Scandal, to present his jaw-dropping life story of notorious business tycoon Robert Maxwell.


Thursday 22nd April, 2021 @ 3:30 pm

  • In Conversation
  • Online event
  • Questions & Answers


About the Event

Join John Preston, author of the recently released film The Dig and A Very English Scandal, to present his jaw-dropping life story of notorious business tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Fact is often better than fiction, as John Preston has proven in his writing of three gripping books based on real life events. His latest, Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell, is the jaw–dropping story of the notorious business tycoon. John is joined in conversation by fellow journalist Luke Harding to discuss Maxwell’s extraordinary rise and scandalous fall. Born an orthodox Jew, he escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, fought for Great Britain in World War 2, and was awarded the Military Cross. He then became a Labour MP and a media mogul owning several publishing companies and newspapers before he became mired in scandal. You couldn’t make it up!  

Author Biography
John Preston is a former Arts Editor of The Evening Standard and The Sunday Telegraph. For ten years he was The Sunday Telegraph’s television critic and one of its chief feature writers. His most recent book, A Very English Scandal, was published to great acclaim in 2016 and turned into a BAFTA-winning BBC drama series. His 2007 historical novel The Dig has been adapted into a new major motion picture starring Ralph Fiennes, Carey Mulligan, and Lily James and directed by Simon Stone. It is now available to stream globally on Netflix. 

Luke Harding (chair) is an award-winning foreign correspondent with The Guardian and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. Between 2007 and 2011 he was The Guardian‘s Moscow bureau chief; the Kremlin expelled him from the country in the first case of its kind since the Cold War. He is the author of Collusion, A Very Expensive Poison, The Snowden Files, and Mafia State, as well as the co-author of WikiLeaks and The Liar (nominated for the Orwell Prize). Two of Harding’s books have been made into films: The Fifth Estate and Snowden. 

About the Book

Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell
Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell

John Preston

Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date:4 Feb 2021


3.80 out of 5
11 reviews
"a trove of "scandalous anecdotes and shocking revelations", as we discover how a man who had once laid such store by ethics and good behaviour became reduced to a bloated, amoral wreck."
The Bookseller
"The stories are good and Preston tells them with his gift for the kind of wry comedy that suits English decline"
The Guardian
"Any good biography of a mountebank depicts not only its subject but also the ambivalent society that accommodated the monster. John Preston’s Fall does this with deft understatement"
The Times
"This life of the media magnate is by turns engrossing, amusing and appalling"
The Sunday Times
"Preston has an eye for the telling detail and an ear for the revealing quote"
The Observer
"such a richly detailed, well-written, gripping biography I wished that it could have been twice as long"
The Daily Telegraph
"John Preston’s timely book revisits the extraordinary fate and fortunes of a larger-than-life media mogul"
Financial Times
"A new biography ventures inside the monstrous ego of the robber baron of Fleet Street."
New Statesman
"the narrative gathers irresistible page-turning pace"
The Spectator
"a jaw-dropping biography about Robert Maxwell"
Daily Mail