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In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile Hardcover – 17 Jul 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (17 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782067434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782067436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'To my mind, the best and hottest non-fiction property of the decade is Dan Davies's book on Jimmy Savile. He had amazing access for years and stuck with the story before anybody knew how interesting it was. His book will be a must-read and will hit British culture like a cluster-bomb' Andrew O'Hagan.

'An astonishing account ... It is an incredible read' Carole Cadwalladr, Observer.

'An extraordinary book, by turns deeply sinister and darkly comic' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday.

'Impossible to put down' Paul Merton.

'Absolutely jaw-dropping' Nicky Campbell, Radio 5 Live

From the Inside Flap

'To most people I am a question mark'
Knight of the Realm; devoted son' pathological liar; marathon runner; pioneering DJ; devious myth-maker; hospital reformer; sadist; competitive wrestler; bullying psychopath; friend to 'Lords, Ladies, Earls, Ministers, Cardinals and branches of the royal family'; relentless sexual predator. Jimmy Savile was a complex, sinister and ultimately unknowable man.
Savile was at the forefront of pop culture for over forty years. He raised millions of pounds for charity, was honoured by the pope, and charged with reforming Broadmoor hospital. Yet he also used his position as 'Britain's Most Trusted Man' to abuse the vulnerable and underage on an unprecedented scale, all the while covering his tracks by moving into the establishment's innermost circles.
Dan Davies has spent more than a decade on a quest to find the real Jimmy Savile. He interviewed him extensively over a period of seven years preceding Savile's death, and was given unique levels of access to the man now at the centre of the darkest, most shocking scandal of recent years.
In Plain Sight is a devastating curtain-lift on a British society whose burgeoning 'youth' scene, from the 1950s onwards, fostered a culture ripe for abusive manipulation. Dan Davies offers an unflinching portrait of the bizarre life and grim crimes of one of the strangest, most malevolent figures in British popular history.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mr. GM De La Bedoyere on 29 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When this book arrived I started reading it instantly. I did not move from my chair for two hours and over the next two days I read it with as few disruptions as possible. In short, it had the same effect as a compelling novel. Dan Davies has written a brilliantly compelling study. It has two parallel narratives. One is the biography of Savile's life made up of descriptive sections and accounts of his interviews with Savile himself. The other is the gradually accumulating firestorm as the BBC Newsnight investigation was begun, abandoned and then picked up by ITV. Davies switches from each narrative to the other throughout the book.

The truly overwhelming issue of this book is the fixation so many people have with fame. Savile was a malicious, psychopathic arch-manipulator but it takes two to tango and the other criminals in this remarkable story are the, literally, hundreds of people who facilitated his access to patients, children and teenagers, or by whose negligence allowed him to access them. Some even actively encouraged his victims into his arms, and amazingly this includes the parents of some of the girls involved, as well as police, town councillors, and medical staff. Some were unspeakably naïve, others were cowards or did so wilfully in the hope that his 'friendship' would make them seem more important or accrue them some personal advantage. Whatever has happened since with Operation Yewtree there must still be many people around alive who know that they helped Savile commit his crimes, and helped him get away with them. They must be cringing. Either that, or they must be riven with denial.

The next overwhelming issue is the process of saving face.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you’re afraid to read this book because you think it will contain a lot of graphic details of the sexual abuse of minors then rest assured – it doesn’t. The details of offences are kept to a minimum and there is no salaciousness in the reporting of them. In fact the book is all the more powerful because it doesn’t dwell on the details. It is a harrowing book to read because it paints an all too vivid picture of how celebrity rules and how too many of us are unwilling to challenge anyone in the public eye.

Reading this book made me realise how many signs were there that something untoward was happening and yet none of the allegations made to the police and others in a position to act on them were ever properly investigated. Nurses told patients to ‘pretend to be asleep’ and to forget about it and not make a fuss because ‘no one will believe you.’ Many knew of the rumours throughout Jimmy Savile’s long career and yet they were just accepted as something which happened and because it was JS nothing could ever be done about it because he had friends in high places and did so much for charity.

I thought the book well written and researched and it has clearly been the author’s life’s work to collect up all the information from such diverse sources. He freely admits that even as a child he didn’t like JS though found himself falling under the man’s charismatic spell during their many conversations. There are plenty of sources quoted to back up the author’s text as well as bibliography.

What came over to me most strongly from reading this book was that JS was a hugely manipulative individual – cultivating the parents of young teenage girls so that they thought nothing of it when he went off on his own with their daughters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Polly on 9 Nov. 2014
Format: Hardcover
If you ever wondered how an individual, who’s abused prolifically, in all manners of situations, could not only evade any kind of serious legal prosecution, but actually maintain an almost saint-like public image, this is the book which goes some way to explain it. It is extensively researched and well written. The author spent an extended amount of time with Savile so is well placed to unpick the story.

There have been individuals throughout history who have done what Jimmy Savile is now known to have done. Gilles de Rais, for example (though obviously he was a murderer to boot). And it has to be said prolific abusers do tend to have very similar personality profiles. Ostentatious/unconventional ways of dressing, carefully constructed eccentric personality traits, contrived way of talking, an entourage which is paid off, money, power and some kind of philosophical/spiritual justification feature. Savile felt he had some kind of special connection with the Divine. Most specifically he hoped that doing lots of good works on earth would earn him credit and somehow counteract for all the sin. Exactly the same for Gilles de Rais with regards to Joan of Arc.

Savile carefully built a wall of protection around himself. This is why, despite constantly self-referencing his own abusive behaviour publically, there was never a significant challenge on him whilst he was alive. He was a rich, powerful, violent and ruthless man.

There is also a question of whether he used hypnotism as an agent of influence. Which is interesting to me, because I am wondering why those who witnessed the abuse at first hand - friends and colleagues, the nurses in the hospitals - just stood by and took no notice.
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