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The best history of the life and trial of Stephen Ward
on 10 December 2013
This is an updated version of the original book, published in the 50th anniversary year of Stephen Ward's trial.
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.)