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on 31 July 2007
I read this book about 30 years after the event. I was unfortunate enough to be in between the two bombs when they went off. I discovered (through reading this book), that one of the bombers was sitting right behind me in the Odeon Cinema, on the night of the event! It sent shivers up my spine! As the child of two Irish parents, I (surprisingly) felt somewhat unbiased whilst reading it. I thought how brave Chris Mullin was to attempt to track down the men responsible via the IRA. If you know anything about the people or the event, this is a must read!
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The event in this book occurred just down the street from where I was studying in Central Birmingham on the fateful night in November 1974 for my exams. I recall very well the height of anti-Irish feelings after the event and euphoria when the arrests so shortly after the bombings were announced as well as the fear that pervaded in Birmingham for many months after the event whether you were Irish or non-Irish - in many ways a very small but chilling precedent for how I suspect much of NYC felt after 9/11 in 2001. Indirectly in his chronological depiction of events, Mullins book brought many of those memories back for me nearly 40 years later.

Mullins book is meticulous and honest on where it all went wrong (especially at the trial) for the six accused. His subsequent involvement in tracking down the real perpetrators as well as challenging the forensic evidence is the stuff of which the late Ludovic Kennedy would have been envious in righting a wrong trial decision. As is known the final successful end was the concerns over the forensic evidence (versus how confessions were obtained) finally achieved the release of the falsely accused six many years later.

What hit me most on re-reading the book in 2010 was first that it was the West Midland police force who were later the subject of endless subsequent enquiries over other questionable investigations they had been involved in, who were the key persons driven by the faulty forensic evidence that started the whole error of judgement rolling. In turn a judiciary whose application of objectivity in various judgements versus pragmatic decisions as to what was right for UK society sadly reflects more recent concerns over the role of the Courts in cases of personal liberty.

What Mullins book ducks however (and my reason for 4 not 5 stars) is the abysmal role and culpability of the IRA with its complete lack of accountability for its actions when it knew it was at fault. Many decades on this case of UK injustice is much more a damning indictment of the IRA bombing campaign of the 1970s which as with many comparable misguided terrorist campaigns ultimately achieved only a long list of innocent victims.
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on 4 April 2010
My (1987) copy was published & printed four years before 'the six' were finally freed so it doesn't end on the high note that later editions were able to.

Mullins drew a lot of flack at the time for 'sympathising with the bombers'. Well, it turned out that he was right. The confessions were forcibly obtained and the crucial Griess tests were flawed.

We were all outraged at these dreadful acts but, unfortunately the police allowed their outrage to cloud their objectivity and sense of justice. There really were no winners in this.

There can be little doubt that this book contributed greatly to the final appeal outcome. Books rarely manage to get results as dramatic as this. Perhaps only Ludovic Kennedy's '10 Rillington Place' can match this one for accomplishment.

A riveting read but not a bundle of laughs.

Barry
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on 22 November 2013
Very interesting. Need to do more research now to find out what happened later. Also worth reading Chris Mullin's diaries.
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on 16 October 2010
A still barely believable uncovering of the extent to which the establishment closes ranks to defend the status quo.
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on 30 June 2016
excellent expose of the injustice of the Birmingham Bombings. English justice and police shown up fpr what they are. Took years to pardon
the innocent men.
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on 17 July 2004
This is a very good boook and shows how the justice system can let us down. These men lost the best years of their life because evidence was withheld. This problem has happened before, lets hope it doesn`t happen too often. It appears a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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on 21 August 2013
Complete fabrication from the first page to the end. 'Evidence' manipulated to fit with the story Mullen wanted. Very poorly written by a mediocre writer. He has clearly selected elements from his interviews of the witnesses; the parts that would sell. I still have the first edition of this book at home after having the misfortune of sitting in on one of his 'interviews'. Absolute drivel.
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