Douglas Reed (1895–1976), British author and journalist, was a penetrating and clear-eyed witness to the course of events in Europe and the West following the First World War. He served in the trenches in that war, and afterwards became a correspondent in the then-arising telephone news services. “I began to pick up the tricks of the journalist’s trade,” he writes in Insanity Fair, the book that made him famous. Insanity Fair was published April 1, 1938 and was a great success. Six months later Reed reported in a Postscript: “Now… on October 1st, I am sitting in Belgrade and read in my newspapers that the book is in its 28th edition and that it has been banned in Germany, and all around me is the tragedy that I have foretold you, the tragedy of faith betrayed… moving with gathering speed.”
There were few tricks either in his moral sense or his prose style. He possessed a rare capacity, seemingly extinct in journalists today, which was a refusal to be deceived. This is a character of the will rather than of the intellect. But he was intellectual astute and had a graceful and highly literary prose style. The titles of many of his works speak to this literary flair: Insanity Fair (1938), Disgrace Abounding (1939), A Prophet At Home (1941), Lest We Regret (1943), From Smoke to Smother (1948).