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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars


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on 6 October 2012
I have read this book immediately following my reading of Part 1 of Jonathan's autobiography Pride and Perjury, Pride and Perjury. I have enjoyed reading this book just as much. He continues to lay out for us his progress on his spiritual journey, which results in a complete transformation from Jonathan Aitken, the puffed up politician and cabinet minister. This sharing of his spiritual growth has an intimate and humbling feel to it borne from his honesty.

The bulk of Part 2 covers his seven month custodial sentence spent in three prisons, starting with the high security HMP Belmarsh. However, he spent the majority of his sentence at HMP Stanford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey. Apart from the spiritual journey Aitken's account of his month's in prison is an eye-opener as to the life of prisoners in this country and how the prison system works. His cry and suggestions for prison reform to reduce the high rate of reoffending that he gives in the final chapter seem obviously necessary. I had a growing frustration as to why more is not being done about this, particularly when Aitken reveals that most prison officers turn a blind eye to the influx of drugs into prisons.

The latter part of Part 2 recounts the new life that he created for himself following his release. This new life has established himself as a successful author and an evangelical outreach speaker. It is an illustration of the mystical and magical process of life and the `ask and it will be given' belief system.

I found this book inspiring, comforting and very thought provoking. I heartily recommend this book to all those, who like me, are on a quest to find a deeper meaning to life.
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on 14 April 2007
It is very rare that one comes across non-fiction that is as hard to put down as a good thriller. This is a case where truth is much more gripping than fiction.

After I read Aitken's first autobiographical volume I heard him tell in a local church the story of his imprisonment in the first part of this book. He is a very gifted speaker and writer. You can see why he was a cabinet minister. His life was ruined by one mistake but his is a story of God's grace in adversity. His experience of prison is shocking and spellbinding.Hhe had no extra privelidges due to his former status only extra visitors and extra problems. Was any prisoner ever so mercilessly hounded by the press? No open prison wanted him because of the media interest. At best the press come across as intrusive, at worst downright corrupt in bribing prisoners to set Aitken up. No-one else has had an ex-con break into prison to photograph and interview him.

Throughout all these problems Aitken testifies to God's strengthening grace and a growing faith and knowledge of Christ. Aitken's Christian circles may not be everyone's cup of tea as they include the charismatic and the Catholic but there is no doubt about his own faith and the reality of God at work in and through him.

This is a fascinating portrayal of what it is like to be imprisoned in both a high security and an open prison. By and large, with a few jobsworth officious exceptions, prison officers come out well. Their union does not.

Aitken's battles with his creditors are recorded, his family's support, the help of many friends, his theological studies and subsequent remarriage and budding literary career as well as his shunning by Conservative central office. Here you will find an education in rhyming slang and an encouragement to read more from this most gifted author.
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on 14 June 2006
Although I had a good opinion of Jonathan Aitken as an MP, after his fall I wrote him off as another high flier who had tripped over his own ego. Recently I heard an interview with him and was intrigued by his clear sincerity. Now, having the book, I feel here is a man who paid a huge price for an error, admittedly brought about by pride.

The book is a highly readable account of how Aitken came to terms with his fall from grace. A fall it certainly was. He lost everything; his job as a cabinet minister in with a chance of the top job, a Privy Councellor, he also lost his wealth and influence. Eventually he had to exchange life in his ten bedroom house in Lord North Street, and an illustrious career for a cell at HMP Belmarsh.

His account of prison life is detailed, moving and at times very funny. He is critical of prison management, but appreciative of the work of most prison officers. Clearly he was touched by the plight of many men who appear to be trapped in a cycle of recidivism. He was inspired by those who worked to improve themselves and who could see a hope for the future. Aitken also found strength in his religion, not only for support to see him through the ordeal of prison, but as a foundation for a new life.

I found this book to be informative, entertaining and inspiring
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on 11 February 2009
This is an excellent book which follows on very directly from where the Pride and Perjury book left off. It is a great record of the time spent in prison and gives an insight into the unbelievably crass stories written in the news media during that period.

British Newspapers editors should read this and be ashamed, Aitken is a giant of a man who has been willing to accept his mistakes and seek God's forgiveness which is after all the only thing that really matters. The book is well written and has led me to go on to get his other books on Charles Colson and Richard Nixon.
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on 7 September 2005
an excellent read, I took 2 days - I couldn't stop. Jonathan Aitken writes as he speaks which makes for a very easy reading of his account of events in prison and afterwards. No point repeating the synopsis but several stories made me laugh out loud, he manages to see the funny side of some situations. Others make you reach for the hankie, describing the plight of some of our young people unable to read, with no sense of being loved and with a bleak future in front of them. The story is up to date including some events earlier this year (2005) and I intend to buy some of his other books anticipating more good writing.
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on 11 March 2010
From the first page I had to force myself to put this book down to do things more important. Jonathan Aitkin's description from the moment of sentence to life in prison is graphic, I almost felt that I was with him. He describes how he generates relationships with the hardest of criminals and uses the prison rhyming slang which he learnt, to great effect. Some of the inmates who could neither read nor write found him useful as he provided an invaluable service reading their letters for them and writing replies. He also described the punishment metered out to one inmate as an additional punishment which the others regarded as appropriate for his crime. He writes with feeling and often with humour.

If you enjoy autobiographies then this is a must it is really very well written.
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on 23 September 2005
Only prejudice would stop a reader interested in political autobiography from giving this one a try. Aitken gives a humorous account of his time in prison and of his subsequent theological training. He isn't afraid to name-drop, but the names range from inmates of HMPs to top politicians. A moving and inspiring read.
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2014
I've read quite a few books about prison experiences but this stands above them all due to the intelligence of the author. Jonathan Aitken admitted perjury and resigned himself to facing the penalty. He started to explore his faith during the period of his trial and this became an important part of his life as he prepared for prison (and then coped while inside). I hadn't read the first part of his story "Pride and Perjury" and that is important as the author does not assume that you have read and gives a short background in his preface (I may go back and read it now though).
Personally, I'm not religious and had a concern that I might find the spiritual aspects of the book overpowering. In fact, it was anything but. It is almost beautiful how JA manages to find calm in his chaotic surroundings through his faith (repentance and forgiveness being a large part of this). More importantly to me, this account backs up my view that religion can be hugely important in prison, as "finding God" can be a trigger to stop the continual reoffending cycle for some prisoners by giving self confidence and self respect. I did however find the idea that a prayer meeting can cure a physical injury a step too far.
The author has had a privileged life and genuinely seems to be thankful for it. It was a joy to read about his humility and positive message.
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on 4 August 2010
Book received in brilliant condition and fast delivery. Informative book - very useful for those working in the prison environment providing greater understanding of conditions, rules and empathy at times. Piety not forced at you but both christian and political themes made for life enriching reading in my case. Worthy of a re-read in a year or two!!
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on 31 August 2012
I bought this after reading Jonathan Aitkens 'Pride and Perjury' which I really enjoyed. It is very interesting to hear first hand of prison life, and it has some very amusing stories, along with sad ones.

It shows his spiritual growth whilst a prisoner, and all the things the Lord led his through whilst in prison.

If you have read the first book, this is definitely worth a read.
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