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Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories: From Lady Chatterley's Lover to Howard Marks

Thomas Grant

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction, Law & society, Criminal justice law

A compelling portrait of the time when freedom of speech and the need to throw off censorship came to the fore, told through its great trials, from Lady Chatterley's Lover to Howard Marks.

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA NON-FICTION DAGGER

'Thomas Grant has brought together Hutchinson's greatest legal hits, producing a fascinating episodic cultural history of post-war Britain that chronicles the end of deference and secrecy, and the advent of a more permissive society . . . Grant brings out the essence of each case, and Hutchinson's role, with clarity and wit' Ben Macintyre, The Times

'An excellent book . . . Grant recounts these trials in limpid prose which clarifies obscurities. A delicious flavouring of cool irony, which is so much more effective than hot indignation, covers his treatment of the small mindedness and cheapness behind some prosecutions' Richard Davenport-Hines, Guardian
Born in 1915 into the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group, Jeremy Hutchinson went on to become the greatest criminal barrister of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The cases of that period changed society for ever and Hutchinson's role in them was second to none. In Case Histories, Jeremy Hutchinson's most remarkable trials are examined, each one providing a fascinating look into Britain's post-war social, political and cultural history.

Accessibly and entertainingly written, Case Histories provides a definitive account of Jeremy Hutchinson's life and work. From the sex and spying scandals which contributed to Harold Macmillan's resignation in 1963 and the subsequent fall of the Conservative government, to the fight against literary censorship through his defence of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Fanny Hill, Hutchinson was involved in many of the great trials of the period. He defended George Blake, Christine Keeler, Great Train robber Charlie Wilson, Kempton Bunton (the only man successfully to 'steal' a picture from the National Gallery), art 'faker' Tom Keating, and Howard Marks who, in a sensational defence, was acquitted of charges relating to the largest importation of cannabis in British history. He also prevented the suppression of Bernardo Bertolucci's notorious film Last Tango in Paris and did battle with Mary Whitehouse when she prosecuted the director of the play Romans in Britain.

Above all else, Jeremy Hutchinson's career, both at the bar and later as a member of the House of Lords, has been one devoted to the preservation of individual liberty and to resisting the incursions of an overbearing state. Case Histories provides entertaining, vivid and revealing insights into what was really going on in those celebrated courtroom dramas that defined an age, as well as painting a picture of a remarkable life.

To listen to Jeremy Hutchinson being interviewed by Helena Kennedy on BBC Radio

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Praise for Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories: From Lady Chatterley's Lover to Howard Marks

  • Throughout a long career, [Jeremy Hutchinson's] brilliant and stylish advocacy achieved success in cases that looked unwinnable

  • Jeremy was not just a good lawyer; he was fearless in standing up to judges. He was the most formidable advocate of the 1960s and '70s and he had a marvellous sense of mischief - Geoffrey Robertson

  • Hutchinson provides the memories and Grant puts pen to paper. The result is a multifaceted object: a celebration of a brilliant career, an explanation of the legal process and a social and cultural history of the second half of the 20th century . . . Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories is, above all, a romance - Daily Telegraph

  • A fine reminder of the great democratic values enshrined in our legal system . . . Grant has cleverly produced what amounts to a cultural history of Britain in the rapidly changing post-war years . . . a greatly entertaining read which celebrates a barrister who stood up and argued with clarity and passion for various freedoms that we now take for granted - Daily Express

  • A fascinating look at Britain's post-war social, political and cultural history - Bookseller

  • [Jeremy Hutchinson] is my hero because of what he stands for today, as he continues to speak out against what he fears to be the loss of independent representation of those not merely down on their luck but down in the gutter. He is

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Thomas Grant

Thomas Grant QC is a practising barrister and author. He lives in Sussex and London. His first book, Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories was a Sunday Times bestseller.

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