Included in The Observor's list of 'The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time", Waugh's most tightly plotted novel follows the hapless adventures of William Boots, who finds himself reporting a war he doesn't understand in the East African state of Ishmaelia in a case of mistaken identity, far away from his home and bucolic pursuits.
Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs. Algernon Stitch, Lord Copper feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. So begins Scoop, Waugh's exuberant comedy of mistaken identity and brilliantly irreverent satire of the hectic pursuit of hot news.
Evelyn Waugh's tale of an innocent abroad is a hilarious satire on journalism, set amidst the powerful currents of the 1930's, and contains a memorable collection of comic creations.
In the pages of Scoop we encounter Waugh at the mid-season point of his perfect pitch; youthful and limber and light as a feather.The manners and mores of the press, are the recurrent motif of the book and the chief reason for its enduring magic...this world of callousness and vulgarity and philistinism...Scoop endures because it is a novel of pitiless realism; the mirror of satire held up to catch the Caliban of the press corps, as no other narrative has ever done save Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's The Front Page - Christopher Hitchens