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The remarkable rise and fall of C.O. Stanley
Radio Man tells the story of C.O. Stanley, the unconventional Irishman who acquired Pye Radio at the beginning of the broadcasting age. Although he started with little experience and even less money, he was to make Pye a major player in the British electronics industry - only to crash it spectacularly forty years later. From the romance of early radio to the birth of the mobile, Stanley and Pye were players in some of the key moments of twentieth century Britain. His obsession with the infant medium of television allowed Pye to provide the equipment that put radar into planes in time for the Battle of Britain. His energy also drove Pye's pioneering work on the proximity fuse - work that would revolutionise antiaircraft warfare - and the company's manufacture of the war's most successful army radios.
In the 1950s Stanley led the offensive against the BBC's monopoly of television in a battle that split the British establishment. When his son, John, took Pye into mobile radio Stanley fought and defeated the bureaucrats who then controlled Britain's airwaves.
Stanley's loss of Pye in 1966 illustrated British industry's inability to withstand foreign competition. It also brought tragedy. Stanley himself escaped with honour more or less intact, but left his son to face public humiliation on his own.
This revealing and meticulously researched text is written within the broad context of the political, technological and business changes of the time, and shows how a very ambitious businessman was brought down by the qualities that made him so successful.
About the Author
Mark Frankland read history at Cambridge and at Brown University, USA. He was a foreign correspondent for The Observer, working in the Soviet Union, the Far East, Europe and the United States. He twice won the British Press Awards prize for foreign reporting. His most recent book, Child of My Time (Chatto & Windus, 1999), won the J.R. Ackerley Prize for autobiography. His account of the collapse of communism in east Europe, The Patriots' Revolution (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1990), was shortlisted for the NCR award. He is the author of five other books, including Khrushchev (Penguin Books, 1966) and The Sixth Continent (Hamish Hamilton, 1986), a study of Russia under Mikhail Gorbachev.