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I Fought The Law [Paperback]

Dan Kieran
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jun 2008

Originally intended to be a simple Christmas humour book, I Fought The Law ended up becoming something rather different. The premise was simple enough. Dan was going to spend a year trying to break as many stupid old laws as he could find, for your amusement. You see there are loads of ridiculous laws on the statute book...

It is still illegal to beat a carpet in the Metropolitan Police District, to take possession of a beached whale or to get within a hundred yards of the Queen without wearing socks. The list goes on and on. But in the process of researching these silly old laws Dan found a glut of stupid legislation that was equally ridiculous, but these laws had one thing in common - they'd all been passed by our current Government. And when he met a man who has a criminal record for eating a cake that had 'Freedom of Speech' written on it in icing in Parliament Square the idea of breaking the Adulteration of Tea Act of 1776 started to seem a little frivolous.

Lifting up this legal concrete slab in the garden of England, however, caused all sorts of creepy crawlies to emerge that began to cast doubt on the health of the nation, so Dan's adventure began to change tack. His journey ended up taking him all across the country where he found some unlikely heroes fighting back. Meet...

* Dorothy, who spent days living on the roof of a bus station in Derby

* a group of pensioners, who were forced to let off stink bombs in a court of law

* the man who dresses like Chaplin's tramp and keeps getting arrested outside Downing Street

* one woman who got an ASBO for being naked in her own home - and a Tourette's sufferer who was given an ASBO for swearing.

So, whether it's fighting to protect our environment, our freedom, or the right to live in an unconventional way, I Fought the Law is an unashamedly patriotic call to arms to all those for whom enough is enough.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (2 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553817701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553817706
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"From cake-eating protests to roof-clambering OAPs, this book uncovers the UK's weirdest oddball laws - and the even odder folk who rally against them." (MAXIM - June 2007)

"Inspiring" (Independent on Sunday)

"Should be on the top of [Tony Blair's] reading list" (The Times)

"Absolutely fantastic! Everyone in Britain should be made to read it!" (Carol McGiffin, LBC Radio)

Book Description

A unique and often hilarious travel memoir covering Dan Kieran's satirical 'crime spree' around the UK as he uncovers fascinating and disturbing truths about the state of post-Blair Britain.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a funny story 13 Jun 2007
When I read "From cake-eating protests to roof-clambering OAPs..." I thought this book was a just collection of humourous stories about eccentric Brits but I was wrong - don't dismiss it as a book of funny tales. Yes, there's lots of humour - I've laughed out loud several times already (and I'm only half-way through it) - but it's so much more. Finally, someone dares to use that rarely-heard word: commonsense!

Dan Kieren looks at real problems and talks to the people who are trying to do something about them. Not the politicians, the professionals or anyone in power, but the people who are standing up for what they believe in - despite having no real voice and despite being at odds with a government whose current thinking labels them as crackpots and troublemakers.

If you're despairing at the current state of the UK, if you have even an inkling of a doubt that the government has its citizens' best interests at heart or if you've ever wondered at the sheer crassness of the legal system, then read this book.

It's refreshingly truthful, funny, warm and full of commonsense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The more people that read this the better! 8 July 2008
Having been concerned about the erosion of civil liberties, particularly in the light of the recent 42-day detention issue, I saw this and couldn't resist: and the situation is worse than I feared!

This book is funny, but it's also scary; it shows us how we're sleepwalking in (not into, in: we're already there) a situation where anyone can be stopped and searched for no reason (the Government enacted legislation enabling the police to stop and search anyone for no reason under exceptional circumstances for a month at a time: that legislation has been renewed every month in Greater London since 2002!)

He also lists the ten most ridiculous laws, not saying that they are rdiculous per se, but that the heavy-handed and ill-thought-out laws have unintended and ridiculous consequences:

'Sex Offences Act 2003... Section 9 prohibits sexual contact with a child (obviously not ridiculous) 'but when applied with Section 13... it actually makes it a criminal offence for two teenagers to snog'. This was bad enough, but when I mentioned it in passing to a solicitor friend, she said that she had personally dealt with people actually prosecuted for, basically, a teenage snog in the park.'

It's a real eye-opener. Anyone who has given any thought at all to the disregarding of 800 years of legal rights as enshrined in the Magna Carta will read this and realise that it's much worse than they thought.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wise book 3 Nov 2008
I'll be honest: I didn't expect much from this book. I thought it would be entertaining enough; offbeat, amusing, with doses of snarky political observation. It certainly delivered on those counts, and for much of the journey I was lulled by the unpretentious clarity of Kieran's style into thinking there would, indeed, be nothing more.

But (of course) I was wrong. I Fought the Law is more than entertaining; it's also wise. It is clear-eyed in its assessment of how badly Britain's communities need fixing, and espouses an uncomfortable and far-reaching solution which is self-consciously at odds with so many of our other current cultural influences, but it is also radically hopeful about the possibility of social change. It centres personal action, individual empowerment and individual connections, at the heart of political progress. And so despite all my preconceptions, I actually found this book remarkably inspiring. I'd strongly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky 8 July 2008
You should definitely read this book, it is an essential slice of the madness that is Britain today. But when I had finished it I felt a little underwhelmed, a little unsure, as if it somehow didn't fully explain something. Odd, but there you go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A manifesto for a generation 14 Sep 2009
By Quijote
A really important and inspiring book. Revolutions occur when people start to change their minds, and I'm starting to change mine.

Let's hope the government gets the message about the erosion of civil liberties.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic look at the erosion of civil liberties 15 Jun 2008
An excellent read, made me laugh, angry and cry with despair at some of the laws we've now got.
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