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Sir William Garrow: His Life, Times and Fight for Justice by [Braby, Richard, Hostettler, John]
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Sir William Garrow: His Life, Times and Fight for Justice Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Review

'A Law book yes, but boring no, a delight to read': Internet Law Book Reviews. 'Without the pioneering work of William Garrow, the legal system would be stuck in the Middle Ages': Radio Times 'Garrow can truely be said to have revolutionised the practice of criminal law': Geoffrey Robertson QC (from the Foreword). 'A blockbuster of a book': Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers.'[Hostettler and Braby's] definitive biography ... is informative, entertaining and a really good read, and in the process rescues Garrow from undeserved obscurity': Littlehampton Gazette

About the Author

John Hostettler was a solicitor in London for thirty-five years as well as undertaking political and civil liberties cases in Nigeria, Germany and Aden. He played a lead role in the abolition of flogging in British colonial prisons and is a former magistrate. His earlier books embrace several biographical and historical works, including about the lives of Thomas Wakley, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Thomas Erskine, Sir Edward Carson, Sir Edward Coke, Lord Halsbury and Sir Matthew Hale. His books for Waterside Press include The Criminal Jury Old and New; Fighting for Justice: The History and Origins of Adversary Trial; Hanging in the Balance: A History of the Abolition of Capital Punishment in Britain (with Dr Brian P. Block); and, most recently, A History of Criminal Justice in England and Wales. Richard Braby is a direct descendent of Sir William Garrow and as an avocation is a family story teller. He collects and preserves the stories of his family's ancestors. Now retired, his career was conducting educational research during the emergence of the personal computer. Dr. Braby is an author of over 50 technical publications, and was a long time member of the Human Factors Society. He is a graduate of Columbia University, New York City where he specialized in the design of instructional materials. Geoffrey Robertson QC defended at the Old Bailey in such notable trials as that of Oz magazine, Peter Hain, John Stonehouse, the ABC Official Secrets case, Gay News and the Matrix Churchill 'Iraqgate' trial, as well as in IRA and other terrorist cases. He developed a pro bono practice defending at the Privy Council men condemned to death in Commonwealth courts. He is the founding head of Doughty Street Chambers, a Recorder and a bencher of the Middle Temple. He served as the First President of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone and is a member of the UN Justice Council. His books include The Justice Game - a memoir of some of his notable trials - and The Tyrranicide Brief - an account of how Cromwell's lawyers brought the King to justice.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 13286 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Waterside Press (26 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AEVBG62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #507,872 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was inspired to read this from watching a TV drama series about the man. I was looking to a serious treatment of the man, his work and his life. Well this was serious alright but seriously flawed as a piece of writing. It had the feel of a hurriedly revised PhD thesis for the purposes of a wider publication and public. The problem was in the general organization of the work, too bitty, fascinated with irrelevant detail in parts, and relegating some important detail to the very end of the book. It had the feel of all the right material organized and covered in the wrong way. However, outside of academic law journals I'm not sure where else the average reader would get a synoptic view of this important legal practitioner and politician who lived and thought in pre and post Napoleonic times. So a struggle to read but interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
My greatest worry about Garrow's biography was that it might have been written by lawyers for their peers. I prefer my resources to be readable without having a legal adviser on speed-dial for emergency translations.

"I will put it now to you" that I was positively surprised when, some pages into the book, it became clear that the authors had found the right words to satisfy both groups of readers: the curious professional and the professionally curious ones.

I'm aware that the biography of a lawyer is probably not the first choice when it comes to reading for leisure, but I can promise you that you will not be bored. Be prepared for a wake-up call, though - by diving into the legal world of the 18th and 19th century, you might get to appreciate our legal system more once you realise just how much it has changed for the better in terms of humanity and the value and respect given to human life.

Some will argue (and to a point I agree) that today's society is too focused on the criminals and does not do enough for the victims. But still, who would want to return to a time when people got hanged for a theft of goods worth 30s? I mean, who but the readers of certain tabloids?

This book contains Garrow's history, his family background, his unusual relationship with Lady Sarah, some of his cases (with excerpts of his cross-examinations) and describes the changes he initiated in British law and, as a consequence, in British society. It's well-structured, easy to read and understand.

Don't let the excellent TV show "Garrow's Law" fool you, though: Sir William Garrow wasn't a knight in shining armour.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a wonderful book ; wonderfully written and very useful for improving my english vocabulary !
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting and well written, but I would have liked more on the man himself. I bought this book after having seen the dramatised series based on Garrow's early work, and wanted something to read on my half-hour commute by train. The detailed references were quite distracting, and more akin to an article in an academic journal than a book of general interest. The book is also rather repetitive, as if the reader is expected only to look up points in a chapter or two, rather than read it from cover to cover.

I would have liked more of his original addresses to the court, and less of the genealogy, which in my opinion was really only of interest to Garrow's extended family.

I think a pamphlet - or perhaps two pamphlets, one for the genealogy and one for the law - would have covered the information.
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Format: Hardcover
Most people come to biographies as a result of prior knowledge of, or exposure to, the individual whose life is explored.
It will, then, be no surprise that many readers of this book will come to it as a result of enjoying the successful TV series `Garrow's Law'.

That need not be an issue as long as such readers are not expecting the `tabloid' or `sound bite' styles preferred by many of the current spate of `celebrity' biographies or autobiographies.

The expectations created by such styles, and the passive involvement often engendered by watching TV in general, may have made some people less inclined to commit actively to the `serious read' we are offered in this book.

That said, it is not a `heavy read' given that it has much to offer to even casual non-specialist readers in that it explores areas of social, legal, political and other history that still affect today's society and still find resonance in current debates over matters such as human rights (see consideration of the Bill of Rights 1689 on, for example, page 31) and the proposed restrictions on publically funded legal aid as part of the current Coalition Government's financial review.

After the necessary introductory and background features of Chapter 1 the book gets its teeth into its subject matter.

Whereas Garrow may have been just one of a number crusading lawyers in the latter part of the 18th century, he is certainly presented as one the most active and prominent and many of the criminal court issues he championed (e.g. presumption of innocence, adversarial proceedings, right to legal representation, rules of evidence, hearsay rules etc) are well-known and valued aspects of our current criminal procedure.
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