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on 24 September 2013
Hated this book and didn't bother reading it more than halfway. Richard Davenport-Hines started in a witty manner and then descended into far too much detail about everything he mentioned. B O R I N G.
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on 23 February 2013
I was 21 when Stephen Ward came to court & committed "suicide" while in custody. I was working for Odhams Press in the Book Production Dept for two editors. One of whom was a patient/friend of Stephen Ward. I think this book gives a good background to the politics & social restrictions of the time. The editors bought pictures from Reuters, IPC & other picture agencies On a daily basis, We heard the gossip of Fleet St, so knew there was something afoot as the press could not contain their excitement! We were told that there others were involved but never names. My editor said that Stephen Ward had been coerced into suicide. I was the same age as Christine Keeler & felt the hypocrisy of the time damaged everything about her. I have enjoyed reading this book, the facts haven't changed as a previous reviewer pointed out but the background information helps you to understand why it was such a scandal. I don't suppose today it would be front page. Read it, it's a good yarn!
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on 2 January 2014
It is pretentious, self indulgent and rambling over written prose It adds little to what we already know about the Profumo scandle and only that the writer wants us to know that he is an upper class 'gentleman' who is knowledgeable about many of these people..
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on 24 December 2012
I'm reading the Kindle version. I remember what happened, at least I remember what we were told about it, the "official version". And what we were told was lies, dissimulation, fabrication, blatant racism and sexism; political jockying, opportunism, hypocrisy, cover-ups...you name it.

How could I have been quite so naïve? Well, in those days you believed "authority", the establishment, the politicians and the police; and the judiciary. And I couldn't read between the lines of journalism and official pronouncements. And if you think that phone hacking is a modern thing, just read what journalists used to do: fabrication comes to mind.

But no more. The scales have fallen off; is there any reason to believe that today's politicians, police etc are any more upstanding? I doubt it.

A must read if you remember the times; and a must read if you don't, to see just how corrupt much of Britain's life was.
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on 29 August 2013
To my generation, the summer of 1963 is vivid, but I'm shocked at how little I really knew about it. Biggest shock was that Stephen Ward didn't actually do anything wrong at all. He was neither a pimp, drug dealer, procurer nor spy. He wasn't even gay. Keeler and Rice Davies were not prostitutes, just good time girls. And Rachman, while no saint, wasn't as evil as the press said. Nobody comes out of the thing well, except perhaps poor Bill Astor and his wife - but the press, the police and Lord Denning come out particularly badly. Anyway, it's well written, well researched gossip, and I couldn't put it down. A salutory reminder of just how far women and racial minorities have come in the last 50 years. Things are by no means perfect now, but worth looking back now and again to see how far we've come.
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on 10 September 2013
Having lived through the period as a teenager, and remembering the lurid press stories of the time and seeing it play out on the television news, I found this book fascinating. Where it excels, in my views, is in its exploration in detail of each of the characters who were the main players on the Profumo affair stage; for me, it clarified a lot of details, and its exposure of the quite corrupt political scene at the time is illuminating. In an age today where we have experienced recent press abuses, the press behaviour of the early 1960s is still quite shocking; shocking in its obtrusiveness, its ready manipulation of both vulnerable and undeserving victims - especially the Sunday press - as described in this book makes sobering reading. I found it well written, well structured, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who wants to get into the feel of the times as well as any book can, 50 years after the event.
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on 18 July 2013
I thought at first that giving each character a separate chapter was not to my liking, but I think this was the best way to do it and it gave a very clear picture of each individual.

Even though I thought I knew all about it, it was, in fact, a complete eye opener and I found it easy to read and,to my
mind, very well written. There is no doubt, the whole affair comes of as a tragedy.
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on 23 March 2013
No more than an apology for the 'toffs'.
A tedious account - I struggled to get to the end!
Offers nothing new.
Very poor.
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on 29 August 2013
This took me back to the sixties when I was a young teacher, and Britain was experiencing a sea change in outlook especially in matters to do with sex. I found the opening chapter on 'Supermac' revealing and entertaining. After that the book ran into a slow decline with only the odd snippet, revelation or insight.Somehow, the drama of the crisis didn't come through because of the structure of the book.
A linear narrative of the events of the crisis might have worked better. I found the author's distaste for everyone involved a bit wearing towards the end. And I don't think things were that bad in the fifties either. The unremitting sour tone spoiled the book for me.
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on 11 August 2013
A fascinating and valuable account of this pivotal affair, not least because of the implications for our own times and the old-school networks of Cameron and Osbourne. At times, though, I found the authorial voice somewhat intrusive, and rather at pains to shore up the Conservative cause and vilify the subsequent Labour government even though Conservative mores at the time were clearly to blame for the travesty of Stephen Ward's conviction, and Labour had little to do with it except as opposition commentators. As "history", therefore, the book is flawed, but it is a very well-written and clearly constructed narrative nonetheless.
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