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The Laughter of Triumph: William Hone and the Fight for the Free Press [Paperback]

Ben Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

20 April 2006
Satirist William Hone is the forgotten hero of the British press. In 1817 he was forced to defend himself against a censorious government, in what amounted to a show trial pitting a self-educated Fleet Street journalist against the Lord Chief Justice and a hand-picked jury. Hone's crime was to ridicule the powers that be. Through Hone's life, Ben Wilson looks at the history of the struggle for free expression against repressive law.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (20 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571224717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571224715
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Wonderfully stirring. The tale Wilson has to tell is so exciting, and the bravura with which he recounts it so infectious, that his case becomes irresistible.' Guardian 'Ben Wilson may be only 25, but he is already an exceptional talent.' Observer 'This excellent biography is a timely reminder of the astonishing power of the press in the hands of a single free, fearless, and long-since forgotten practitioner.' Daily Telegraph"

About the Author

Ben Wilson was born in 1980, and studied history at Pembroke College, Cambridge as an undergraduate and graduate. He has worked as a researcher for Professor David Starkey's TV series The Monarchy. He lives in East London

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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 1 Jun 2014
By Dev B
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book.

Quite why William Hone is not better known today I cannot fathom. His victories over the Establishment, in the form of the ruthless Lord Ellenborough who presided over what were intended to be 3 show trials in the Guildhall, are a seminal juncture in the development of a free press in the UK. He was a popular hero of the highest order for a little while; now he seems to be almost entirely forgotten.

The book is well researched, well written and carefully referenced. There is plenty of scene setting to put the trials in context as well as a follow up of Hone's life afterward. Unfortunately Hone's later life follows a, perhaps, predictably depressing course but there you go.

Anyone with an interest in freedom of speech, political liberty or even just Georgian London should have a look at this.
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