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An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward Hardcover – 11 May 1987

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; First Edition edition (11 May 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224023470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224023474
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First published in 1987, long after the events it describes, as a result of the discovery of lost tape recordings, letters and scripts, this fresh look at the events and background to the Profumo Affair and the downfall of Stephen Ward now reads like a page-turning novel, and to anyone unfamiliar with the story it may seem scarcely credible that this is not fiction.

It perfectly conveys the atmosphere of London in the early sixties, just before the social and artistic explosion that was about to change everything for ever. The decadence of the social climate and the Conservative Government entering into its death throes leaps off the page. Even to those that followed the unfolding events at the time there is much here that is new.

Although in itself this book is a self-contained masterpiece, I would direct those interested in reading contemporary accounts to "Scandal '63" by Clive Irving and others, and The "Trial of Stephen Ward" by Ludovic Kennedy. While a novel set in the London of 1962 and 63, "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" by James Brodie captures not only the atmosphere but the political and social context.
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Format: Hardcover
I made the mistake of beginning this book after 9:00 P.M. I was still reading tenaciously when dawn broke and I reluctantly had to put it down from sheer exhaustion.
Faster paced than any novel, this gripping story, ripped from the headlines of the 1960s, tells how an affable, gregarious, handsome, and unconventional man, who was both a gifted osteopath and a talented artist, and who had many friends in London society (and one in the Soviet Embassy), became swept up in the tumultuous events of history only to be sucked down into the vortiginous sinkhole of politics.
Knightley and Kennedy not only narrate the tragic life and death of Stephen Ward, but they also relate the history of the rise of tabloid journalism, which--with tales of women wielding whips, naked masked men waiting tables, orgies in Stately Homes and other titillating tidbits of gossip--is ever ready to sustain the public's prurient and seemingly insatiable appetites for such trash. (The combination of sex and politics in this book makes one wonder--only momentarily, mind you--whether that marvelously wicked British DVD "House of Cards" might not be a forerunner to reality TV!)
"An Affair of State" is also the heartbreaking story of a rather naive man who put his faith in his friends, in his country, and in the British system of jurisprudence. In the end, according to Knightly and Kennedy, he was abandoned by all but a few of his friends and betrayed by both country and British justice. In other words, he was made a scapegoat, in the authors' estimation, to the interests of the Conservative party and the hypocrisy of the establishment after the resignation in disgrace of John Profumo, Britain's dapper and dandy Minister of War.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent account of a fascinating period in British political history. Although he was a flawed character, the way in which the Establishment closed ranks against Ward, his treatment in court and the manner in which he was abandoned by most of his friends was shameful. The dreadful pressure of all this drove him to suicide, with no mourners at his funeral.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in this still intruiging affair.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm very used to books starting out with a glorified description of how the subject meant so much to the author and blah blah within minutes you can see an agenda. No so with this book, the research has been done with a professional approach and it is apparent very quickly.
Excellent writing and I thought I knew most of the characters but was pleasantly surprised that I was lacking a great deal of the information and motivation of their actions in this sorry affair.
Hugely enjoyable read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very good book filled with minute details never before revealed.
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