Who is Henry Raddick?
May 29, 2006 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Who is Henry Raddick, really?

Henry Raddick, internet-famous for his satirical product reviews at Amazon.com, seemingly ceased his performance art a few years ago. When a random neuron in my brain fired up his name, I googled about to see whatever became of him, if he'd ever written anything else, etc. The Wikipedia (always a notorious source for truth) seemed to imply that he might be none other than William Donaldson, a British (as Raddick claimed to be) satirist best known for his pen-name "Henry Root" (Raddick being an anglicization of Radix, or "Root"). Lending slight credence to the theory is that Raddick ceased his reviews a handful of years ago, and Donaldson passed away at age 70 just last year. Does anyone in the AxeMe community have any more information about this unusual character?
posted by jonson to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Man, just this week I was thinking about Henry Raddick and wondering what had happened to him. Thanks for asking this, jonson. Hope something turns up.
posted by felix betachat at 3:13 PM on May 29, 2006

I was a huge fan of Henry Root when I was younger. This was before the internet and back when baiting celebrities and strangers was really exciting and dangerous. The overall tone of the reviews I have read are very similar to Root, but it could easily be an imposter. The tone and use of language that Root used in his books are far more prevalent today.
posted by fire&wings at 3:24 PM on May 29, 2006

Response by poster: okay, tangential question for fire&wings - as a Root novice, what book should I read first?
posted by jonson at 3:39 PM on May 29, 2006

I was just thinking of him recently too, probably wondering what he'd have thought of the Oozinator. Sounds like Wikipedia has it, though.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:14 PM on May 29, 2006

jonson - It was "Letters" and "Further Letters" that I read as a kid, I'm guessing "The Complete Letters" is just those two merged. I haven't read the other books, but they look to me like cheap spin-off material. I would buy "Letters," first, it's the original classic. Bear in mind that the whole thing is quite UK-centric, lampooning the English middle class nit-picking attitude in quite a specific fashion. I haven't looked at a copy in years and I'd imagine they are incredibly tame today, but probably interesting nonetheless.

I remember the complaint about the new shade of brown paint used on lamposts and his donation of £1 to Margaret Thatcher (which was returned) as the best. The letters really were a phenomenon throughout the 80's, it must have been 89/90 when I read the books, and they were still a talking point that were passed amongst friends and family at that point.
posted by fire&wings at 4:34 PM on May 29, 2006

Oozinator 4 life. The ultimate toy.
posted by clango at 7:52 PM on May 29, 2006

Reading the Root letters today feels like a glimpse of a bygone era (I get a similar feeling when reading Clive James's TV reviews) although his mode is much imitated (badly) today.

The person in the radio interview linked in the blue doesn't sound like a sexagenarian Wykehamist so my guess is that 'Raddick' was a devotee rather than the man himself: perhaps even Robert Popper, aka Robin Cooper.
posted by holgate at 9:28 PM on May 29, 2006

Yeah, the smoking gun here is probably that radio interview -- I don't know how they found Henry, exactly, and I don't know what Henry Root should sound like, but it's probably not him.

posted by blueshammer at 7:21 AM on May 30, 2006

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