John Healy, the author, spent all his working life in journalism. He joined "The Western People", Ballina, as a cub reporter in 1948 and moved to Dublin in 1950 to join the Irish News Agency. Later he worked with the Irish Press Group before joining the Irish Times organisation in 1959, to become the youngest editor of a national newspaper, The Sunday Review. He went on to edit Ireland's oldest evening paper, The Evening Mail. As a freelance journalist he won the 1967 Television Scriptwriter of the Year Award, published his first book, Death of an Irish Town, which has become an important source book on the evolution of modern Ireland and, as well as being a best-seller, it is one of the most widely-quoted books of the last twenty years. Following its publication Healy was elected "Mayoman of the Year" for "the moral courage and integrity" he had shown in his writings. For close on two decades he wrote The Irish Times political column, "Backbencher", and in the one major study to date of the Irish media, Healy is described as "the father of modern political journalism in Ireland". Nineteen Acres was his second book. This time he pulls the focus tighter, for whereas Death of an Irish Town was a study of a rural Irish village, Nineteen Acres portrays life in the basic unit, the family smallholding. It was an instant success and, like his first book, was out of print within six months.