Andrew O'Hagan was hired to ghost write Julian Assange's autobiography, and today he's written a longread article in The London Review of Books that can only be called fascinating, revealing much of what it was like getting to know and trying to work with the self-described 'Most Dangerous Man in the World'. Basically, if you hate Assange, you'll love this article. If you like Assange, you'll love the article but probably not the man. And if you're neutral about him, well, good luck. An excerpt:
He’s not a details guy. None of them is. What they love is the big picture and the general fight. They love the noise and the glamour, the history, the spectacle, but not the fine print. That is why they released so many cables so quickly: for impact. And there’s a good argument to support that. But, even today, three years later, the cables have never had the dedicated attention they deserve. They made a splash and then were left languishing. I always hoped someone would do a serious editing job, ordering them country by country, contextualising each one, providing a proper introduction, detailing each injustice and each breach, but Julian wanted the next splash and, even more, he wanted to scrap with each critic he found on the internet. As for the book, he kept putting it off. Carelessness is a ‘tell’. For months, Julian thought he was in control of his relationship with his publishers, agent, lawyers, and writer, but he was demonstrating every day in a hundred ways that he couldn’t face the book. He’d signed up for it, he was pretending to work on it, but, even before the lies, he was dignifying his denial with higher appointments and legal struggles. The book became his evil ‘other’, his nightmare ‘autobiography’, and rather than being haunted by me, his ghost, he decided to convert me into a quietly ineffective follower. In a moment of helpfulness, he asked his mother to send a load of photographs from his childhood. He gave me the disk and completely forgot about it.