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Publisher's Summary

A behind-the-scenes look at the desperate, scandalous private life of a British MP and champion manipulator, and the history-making trial that exposed his dirty secrets.

As a member of Parliament and leader of the Liberal Party in the 1960s and 70s, Jeremy Thorpe's bad behavior went under the radar for years. Police and politicians alike colluded to protect one of their own. In 1970, Thorpe was the most popular and charismatic politician in the country, poised to hold the balance of power in a coalition government.

But Jeremy Thorpe was a man with a secret. His homosexual affairs and harassment of past partners, along with his propensity for lying and embezzlement, only escalated as he evaded punishment. That is, until a dark night on the moor with an ex-lover, a dog, and a hired gun led to consequences that even his charm and power couldn't help him escape. Dubbed the "Trial of the Century", Thorpe's climactic case at the Old Bailey in London was the first time that a leading British politician had stood trial on a murder charge, and the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. And it was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering gay man in an era when homosexuality had only just become legal. With the pace and drama of a thriller, A Very English Scandal is an extraordinary story of hypocrisy, deceit, and betrayal at the heart of the British establishment.

©2016 John Preston (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about A Very English Scandal

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Who knew?

I bet not many people know about the rank corruption that existed in the British Govt's Labor party back in the 1960's and 70's. I was a clueless college student in 1979, but reading this during our own USA national nightmare of an election (2016) I am so sickened by the people we choose to rule us, I have to shake my head in dismay. This book is very, very good and it reads like a novel. The narration was fine, although it might have been even better with some other narrators I prefer. But, Matthew Brenher was good. I chose this book because I loved The Dig and I look forward to other books by this very competent author!

7 people found this helpful

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How Sex Brought Down a Political Party

Brilliant book! Filled with surprises. I was brought up in the UK and always thought that our government was just so 'proper'. The only scandal that I was ever aware of was the Profumo affair and John Profumo was eventually forgiven for his dalliance.

However this book is filled from start to finish with some real shockers! I always thought that the Liberal Party was the dullest of all. Could not have been more wrong. It does have a more poignant side though. Jeremy Thorpe was a homosexual (who knew?) at a time when it was a crime in the UK (thank goodness things have changed). Because of that he had to live a lie. Of course one lie leads to another then another. It all ends up with a murder plot, a High Court case and the downfall of the Liberal party. These are only the highlights!

Most enjoyable performance by Matthew Brenher.

Not to be missed.

5 people found this helpful

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Compelling Read

Having grown up in the US and being a child at the time, I was not aware of this scandal when it occurred. I discovered this book when I saw Hugh Grant on a late night talk show publicizing this scandal as the basis for his latest movie. As the story has been summarized many times in other commentary, I will not do so here. The author does a great job with "novelizing" the story and making it a compelling read. What I found interesting were the character studies of the participants -- especially Thorpe. On his persona alone, he was able to so thoroughly enthrall and captivate high level politicians, colleagues, and businessman to do his bidding and cover up his malfeasance. And not only would they willingly do his bidding but when things began to go wrong, they wanted to sacrifice themselves in order to save Thorpe. As mentioned by others, it is clear that Thorpe was protected to the end by his colleagues. However, given Thorpe's nature, I agree with the author's argument that the greatest punishment to Thorpe was his ostracization after the acquittal. Norman Scott, the victim, is equally compelling in how he was able to survive by getting people to care for him and how he eventually thwarted the plot to kill him. He has led a very interesting life -- from being a farmhand to male model to dressage trainer. There are some very comical moments in this story, especially in the plotting and the carrying out of the attempted murder. (less)

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superb!

as an American, I'm so happy we're not the only ones doing shameful cruel things.

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Awesome book!

Like just about everyone else, I found this to read more like a well-plotted thriller than a non-fiction book. It was so elegantly written, just enough detail, perfectly paced narrative and the author takes just the right moral tone when discussing all of the players. If you watched the TV mini-series starring Hugh Grant, you will particularly enjoy this book because it fills in so many of the details that were left out of the movie version.

1 person found this helpful

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A Romp! And It's True!

If you could sum up A Very English Scandal in three words, what would they be?

Barrel of monkeys?

What about Matthew Brenher’s performance did you like?

Absolutely excellent. Like eavesdropping.

Any additional comments?

You'll never look at Parliament, and those who serve in it, the same way...

1 person found this helpful

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Do not bother

Free audible books are not free. This audible cost me hours of my time. Absolutely one of the worst books and stories ever written. Too many characters introduced, a tiring storyline, hidden political agenda and the main story is just weak.

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How Is This Still Going?

I’ve listened to loooong histories and loved them, but this drags out like a dinner party seated next to that weird cousin who places too much importance on the most trivial details of his pet subject. At nine hours, I don’t understand how this book is STILL HAPPENING. The narrative, which should be fascinating—it certainly started that way!—has lapsed into this excruciating slog (and I can confidently say that as someone who has listened to her fair share of Crusades histories) and I don’t understand how the author has not made more effort to move the story forward. The rhythm and pacing are all off, and it’s become dreadfully boring as a result.

The narration is quite good, however, and (this is not a ding at all) it’s relaxing to listen to before bed.

All in all, I can recommend the performance, but not the content.

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More a curiosity than relevant.

The story would have been fascinating had I known any of the characters or background; in other words, if I were British and familiar with British politics. Or if the story had been about American politicians with whom I am familiar. As it is, for me it’s a sad story on several levels but not the expose’ that familiarity would have brought.

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Excellent

This was a very captivating listen. It took a few skip backs to get all the characters sorted out. The narrator does a descent job. I recommend listening without googling the outcome.