Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People by Charlie Campbell - review by Francis Wheen

Francis Wheen

Passing the Buck

Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People


Duckworth Overlook 208pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Who could resist a book with such a subtitle? ‘I can see why they’ve asked you to review it,’ my other half said. She is a saintly figure who seldom if ever apportions blame, whereas my instinct when misfortune befalls me – lost socks, slipped discs, curdled mayonnaise – is to ask which blithering idiot was responsible, since it certainly wasn’t me.

Back in the 1970s an editor advised me that there were only two angles worth pursuing on any story from economic crises to plane crashes: ‘we name the guilty men’, and ‘arrow points to defective part’. But my habit was probably inculcated long before that. As Charlie Campbell

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