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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very brave book
The unfair criticism thrown at this book - mostly by men - has come because the author is a son revealing the sins of the father: wife-beating, drinking, gambling and mental cruelty. But the portrait painted in No Ordinary Man is compassionate, even generous to George Carman in its fulsome praise of his professional skills. It is a remarkable effort, an inspiring book and...
Published on 25 April 2002

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity
A fasinating and provocative subject but unfortunately a missed opportunity. Although Dominic Carman clearly tries to write a critical and objective account of his father he leaves the reader frustrated. Passages on the personal side of George Carman's life leave too much between the lines, while his coverage of his father's courtroom exeriences lack depth and are...
Published on 10 April 2002


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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very brave book, 25 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
The unfair criticism thrown at this book - mostly by men - has come because the author is a son revealing the sins of the father: wife-beating, drinking, gambling and mental cruelty. But the portrait painted in No Ordinary Man is compassionate, even generous to George Carman in its fulsome praise of his professional skills. It is a remarkable effort, an inspiring book and a really great read. In a word, superb.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing biography, 12 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
George Carman was a legend. His use of words and language to destroy witnesses and persuade juries was without parallel. Here we have a biography that does much to explain his tremendous gifts and equally outstanding weaknesses.
The fact that his son, Dominic, has managed to do this so objectively (given some of the terrible things which he saw his father do at
home)is in itself extraordinary. Yet he has managed to tell us all about George for good and for bad, without any hint of bitterness. I was hooked from first to last. An amazing book that reveals much about the good and great in the courtroom - and about the man who was so often their lawyer or opponent. The honesty is sometimes uncomfortable, but never less than compelling.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Ordinary Book, 2 April 2002
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
The end of this account of George Carman's life came all too quickly. It left me wanting more - the sign some would say of a good book. Without doubt this is a very interesting story - sad, funny, poignant, annoying, destructive, frustrating, painful, maddening, terrible, dramatic, at times unbelievable - and always entertaining. Like the great barrister himself it is a mass of contradictions - all of which lead to the unanswerable question - what made him tick? The son gives us some explanation yet stops short of passing judgement. Instead he leaves it 'for each reader to decide.' A cop out? Maybe not. Whatever made George Carman succeed his billing as No Ordinary Man is fully justified. This unusual, uncomfortable journey through the life of a legal legend makes you pause for thought about what separates a good lawyer from a great one. Carman himself certainly knew the difference.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real life stranger than fiction, 7 July 2006
By 
A. BUTTERWORTH (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
When I heard George Carman on Desert Island Discs in 1990 I was disappointed how little he revealed about himself. So, apparently was Sue Lawley. Carman was like a witness determined to give nothing away under cross examination. The reason is revealed in this fascinating biography; Carman's private life was too desperately awful to be made public. So bad that it is astonishing that his high-profile career didn't implode under the weight of the sort of revelations that he was so expert at extracting from witnesses in court. It seems likely that Carman was a repressed homosexual. His only sexual contact with any of his wives appears to have been the minimum needed to produce a son. And yet he was anxious to be seen as a ladies' man and also to have a permanent female partner in life. A drunkard, serial wife-beater, intellectual and physical bully, and compulsive gambler, he earned more than a million a year at his peak and threw most of it away, staving off bankruptcy more than once by selling the family home. So disdainful of his own father that he had to be persuaded to attend his funeral yet making his son his principal confidant and almost a partner-in-crime.

For anyone who followed Carman's legal career in the media this book is a must-read to learn about the man behind the headlines. The facts portrayed are stranger than fiction and the description of Carman as "no ordinary man" is revealed to be a considerable understatement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I for one couldn't put it down!, 8 Oct 2010
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This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
I have to say that I found this one of those books that I found hard to put down. Whether that was because I come from a Police background and knew some of the QCs and Judges names or not I don't know but I found the whole story of George Carmans life fascinating and at times it was ALMOST as if he was suffering from a split-personality disorder? He was a wife-beater, gambler,drunkard - almost to the point of being an alcoholic I would think - and womaniser but he was seemingly unable to perform the sexual act with any of his 3 wives on a regular basis? He was probably bi-sexual and he was the most-feared Defence Barrister and Cross Examiner in the land. Apart from including detailed accounts of some of Carmans more notable trials - Al Fayed, Branson, The Hamiltons, Taylforth to name a few, in my opinion Dominic Carman has written a "warts and all" account of his father clearly showing that he was incapable of being an "ordinary" loving family man and father figure like most children have to look up to. "George" couldn't give of himself that love that is required to nurture normal family life. And without doubt that "holiday" to Rome in 1938 when he was 8 years old was an event which contained a series of events that sealed how he was to behave towards his fellow human beings for the remainder of his life? I have NO hesitation in giving this review 5 stars. I really didn't want the book to end!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating account of a courtroom star, 15 Mar 2002
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
Like many people, my perception of trial lawyers is shaped by the small screen characters: Perry Mason, Rumpole and of course, Kavanagh QC.
But this remarkable biography of the real-life star of the bar, George Carman, is much more extraordinary than these fictional characters.
With good narrative style, Dominic Carman explains how his father carefully destroyed Aitken, Hamilton & Co while succesfully defending Fayed, Thorpe, Branson, Maxwell and Dodd. Some client list! As evident from the account of each trial, Carman lived for his victories. But beyond the well told and often racy accounts of these famous cases, we have a painfully and brutally honest story of Carman the man. The contrast of brilliant barrister with the lonely, desperate, confused and at times frightening person outside his work reminded me of some of the great Hollywood stars.
And perhaps Carmnna really was a performer in that mould rather than just a very clever lawyer. Certainly he comes across as a maverick on-off who wrote his own rule book of life in and out of court. My only regret at the end of this book is that I never had a chance to watch him in full flow, arguing his case with such style.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what's an ordinary man?, 17 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
Reviewers of No Ordinary Man seem to make this biog a real love it or hate it effort. Whatever your view, Carman jnr's well crafted story of his father's life definitey makes you think hard about what drives people like George Carman. Few of us have such intensity of ambition. Even fewer can be so reckless in their personal lives and still succeed like he did. Perhaps his great understanding of human frailty (based on extensive personal experience) enabled him to identify well with juries. It's clear that Carman the advocate seemed to know instinctively how to push all the right buttons in court. What's still unclear is why Carman the man was such a tormented soul outside. Couldn't he face life as an ordinary man?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand !, 6 Dec 2008
By 
D. W. Miller "dmiller945" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
For some time I had heard that this was a biography that should be read but I couldn't understand why. After all lawyers are boring aren't they?
Well now having read this extraordinary book I realise how complex a man Carman was. He was a genius in court (most of the time) but an utter failure in family relationships and a most unlikeable man. This biography cleverly leaves the final verdict to the reader but my instincts suggest that few well balanced people would regard this fellow's life as a success where it matters.
Carman's most significant cases are explored in reasonable detail as are the key episodes in his family and personal life. Those who admired his intelligence and legal skills are many. Equally there must be many who knew of his gross behaviour outside the courts but most seem not to have commented much upon it. I suspect he was a man who enjoyed being feared in all areas of his life.
Well worth a read if only to make the point that intellect and ability alone never guarantee the development of a decent human being.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and eminently readable, 27 Aug 2013
By 
Hilarion (Preston, Lancs, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
This book is fascinating throughout, and I have read and enjoyed it a number of times. Dominic's ambivalence about his father shines through, and who better than him to give you the story. I just wish it was twice as long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and compulsive reading, 19 Oct 2012
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This review is from: No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman (Hardcover)
This was a fascinating account of a complex, interesting man. As well as enjoying reliving all Carmen's legal case highlights, and the personal background to them, I was particularly interested in the way in which is son Dominic tackled the tricky challenge of being objective in writing about one's own father. Especially a father, we discover in the final chapter, who had some most unexpected, peculiar and cruel traits which must have coloured Dominic's opinion of his father enormously... I won't spoil it for those about to read the book, but it makes his son's even-handedness all the more remarkable. And I wondered, if his allegations are true, why the author in that case devoted so much of his adult time, presumably at the expense of his own family, pandering to his father's whims and spending weeks on end with him, flattering him, going out with him and obeying his egotistical requests. I suppose that is what control is. An unforgettable tale, by any standards.
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No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman
No Ordinary Man: A Life of George Carman by Dominic Carman (Hardcover - 24 Jan 2002)
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