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How The English Establishment Framed STEPHEN WARD Paperback – 15 Nov 2013
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Andrew Lloyd Webber has assembled a formidable team for his musical "Stephen Ward", with a book by Christopher Hampton, lyrics by Don Black and direction by Richard Eyre, former artistic director of the Royal National Theatre. Hampton and Black were able to consult Caroline Kennedy and Phillip Knightley’s recently reissued book, How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward, arguably the most authoritative account of these events to date.
Paul Hoggart, Newsweek Magazine
About the Author
Caroline Kennedy is a researcher, journalist, humanitarian aid worker and theatre director. She currently lives between Costa Rica, Los Angeles and Newfoundland. She has spent five years of her life researching Stephen Ward's story and fighting to have his wrongful conviction overturned. Phillip Knightley has been a leading investigative journalist in Britain for over 40 years. He is the author of several books, including "The First Casualty", "The Second Oldest Profession" and "The Philby Conspiracy"
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It's more than just a history of the trial, it's a biography of Stephen Ward, who he was, how he came to be who he was. And this set against the general tenor of the times.
There is a of of new research in the book, which is all the more improved for it.
Some Establishment spin is discredited; Stephen Ward did indeed, as he claimed, work for MI5, and does seem to have played a part in the Cuban Missile Crisis; the book gives the clearest exposition of this that I've read.
It's now quite clear that the Establishment needed a scapegoat, someone to divert attention from Profumo and Macmillan's failing government, and Stephen Ward was the man; it's also quite clear that he was 'set up'. There was no real evidence against him, but he wasn't so much tried for the criminal offences with which he was charged, he was tried because, in the view of the Establishment and some of the judiciary, he led an immoral lifestyle; they were criminalising a morality which they didn't approve of.
The book is clearly written, and it's easy to follow the rather tortuous turns in the period up to the trial.
It includes a brief summary of what happened to the main players afterwards; some were so sickened that they left England for good.
If you want a comprehensive account of what happened to Stephen Ward, one written without sensationalism, this is the one to go for.
If you want more detail, the authors refer to Geoffrey Robertson, who is preparing a legal appeal against Stephen Ward's conviction. Robertson's book is "Stephen Ward was innocent, OK"; it sets out the aberrations in the legal process, and makes a fine complement.
(On a more personal note, I can sort of remember the original trial; but I was too young to really understand what was going on. I was also far too naive, for I believed that the police and the judiciary were incorruptible, and that fairness would always shine through. Stephen Ward believed in this fairness, until he realised he had been deceived. I've had to wait 50 years to discover just how manipulative the Establishment could be.)
The publication of this new book could not be more timely, with the recent 50th anniversary of Ward's trial and death and the West End opening in December of the musical Stephen Ward by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Kennedy creates a vivid picture of the whole wretched early 1960s climate of social hypocrisy, and especially the malice and corruption among police, politicians and the judiciary which led to the cold-blooded framing of an innocent man.
Eye opening! Compelling! An absolute Must Read!
I became interested in the story of Stephen Ward as I knew it was to be the subject of a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and I wanted some background information on both the man and the "Profumo Affair" in general as it was just a vague historical event that I had never really understood.
I have since become fascinated with his story, thanks both to the musical, and in large part to this book. It is almost too extraordinary to believe, and indeed would be wholly unbelievable if created as a work of fiction.
Although I believe the musical gives a very entertaining "potted" version of the facts, if you really want to understand the many complex twists and turns of this ultimately devastatingly sad and outrageously unfair series of events, I highly recommend you read this book. A musical, or indeed film (the movie "Scandal" for example) can never begin to explain just how events unfolded and one thing lead to another until reaching their terrible conclusion.
This book is very well researched, and so obviously a work of much dedication. It is also extremely highly readable and so compelling that I had to read it solidly without putting it down. What could potentially be a very academic read is actually a gripping and eye-opening story of one of the most interesting periods of modern history, and one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the British legal system.
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