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Rupert Hart-Davis

The Power of Chance

Those of you who watch science programs in the UK will be aware of the rather quirky presenter Adam Hart-Davis. You may not know that he comes from a pretty distinguished family. 'The Power of Chance' is the autobiography of his father Rupert Hart-Davis. It starts when Rupert is 19, following the death of his mother. After a brief spell as an actor, and marriage to the well known actress Peggy Ashcroft the book gets on to his main career in the publishing business. As such he met many well-known people and the book will be of interest to those readers wanting a glimpse into the start of the careers of actors and authors who are now famous.

So the book will appeal to those with an interest in celebrities, but for the more general reader, looking for a good story, I'm not so sure. The first part of the book seems to consist mainly of snippets of information, with none of the longer anecdotes that make a biography interesting. As the author was the editor of a number of other peoples biographies, I expected rather more from this book. The last part of the book describes the author's time in the army in the 2nd World War. This is mostly formed from letters to his 2nd wife Comfort, and as such put together as more of a story. Unfortunately the material here is less interesting than in the earlier part - many people must have gone through the same army training and adminsistration.