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Ludo and the Power of the Book: Ludovic Kennedy's Campaigns for Justice

Richard Ingrams

8 Reviews

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

An in-depth and fascinating biography of Ludovic Kennedy, British journalist and humanist, best known for his tireless pursuit of social justice.

'Stirring' Roger Lewis, Daily Mail, BOOK OF THE WEEK

'A warm and worthy tribute' The Times

'Elegantly written, thought-provoking' The Lady

'A lucid and affectionate portrait of one of the great journalists of his day' Observer

Sir Ludovic Kennedy was a British journalist, television personality, humanist and author. Following a brief naval career, Ludo devoted his life to what he referred to as his 'lifelong obsession with miscarriages of justice' and he fought this cause tirelessly, until he died in 2009.

He is best known for re-examining cases such as the kidnapping of American toddler Charles Lindbergh, about which he wrote his most ambitious book on injustice, The Airman and the Carpenter. Ludo's writings and work on other cases such as the murder convictions of Timothy Evans and Derek Bentley were unique in that they often dispelled the breeding ground for conspiracy theories and regularly heralded dramatic changes of public opinion. Ludo is considered to be hugely influential in the abolition of the death penalty in the UK as well as other legal reforms, most notably the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984) which obligated police to tape-record the questioning of suspects. His life story is one that deserves to be remembered and celebrated.

Richard Ingrams first met Ludovic Kennedy in 1963 and the pair quickly bonded over their shared goal of exposing the fallible nature of the British justice system. Ingrams interweaves this biography with detailed analysis of the cases to which Ludo dedicated his life, vividly recapturing the spirit of his friend and colleague.

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Praise for Ludo and the Power of the Book: Ludovic Kennedy's Campaigns for Justice

  • Stirring - Daily Mail

  • A warm and worthy tribute - The Times

  • Elegantly written, thought-provoking - The Lady

  • A lucid and affectionate portrait of one of the great journalists of his day - Observer

  • It has a dogged sense of justice, and is an astounding tale of judicial bigotry, arrogant stupidity and complacence - The Oldie

  • A worthy memorial to a man whose campaigning against injustices was, probably more than any other single influence, responsible for the abolition of the death penalty in Britain - Literary Review

  • An important book - Catholic Herald

  • Ingrams' book is an indictment of the legal establishment as it was and a powerful justification for investigative writing - Times Higher Education Supplement

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Richard Ingrams

Richard Ingrams was born in 1937. His father was the head of Black Propaganda in the Second World War; his maternal grandfather was Queen Victoria's doctor. Educated at Shrewsbury and Oxford, Ingrams was one of the founders of Private Eye in 1961, becoming editor the following year, a post which he held for over twenty years. In 1992 he helped to launch The Oldie magazine which he edited until 2014. He has written regular weekly columns for the Observer and later the Independent and was a panellist on the BBC's News Quiz for many years. His books include biographies of William Cobbett and Malcolm Muggeridge, a memoir of John Stewart Collis and a number of anthologies including England, The Best of Beachcomber and Jesus: Authors Take Sides.

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