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Sir Patrick Hasting's long and varied life was in many ways as exciting as the innumerable sensational court cases he won and lost. His solicitor father's Bohemian life, coupled with his strong tendency towards bankruptcy, made Sir Patrick's childhood a ramshackle, but stimulating one; and if his schooling was continually being interrupted, Ellen Terry and Henry Irving frequented their house and for many months he lived in Corsica and the Ardennes.
When Hastings was called to the Bar in 1904 he had exactly fifteen shillings in his pocket; he had earned his keep during his training by writing drama notes. Nevertheless his rise to fame as an advocate was meteoric after he first came into prominence with the 'Case of the Hooded Man'.
Montgomery Hyde deals exhaustively with Hastings's more interesting and important cases, including the Douglas-Pennant, Dr Marie Stopes, 'Bob' Sievier, Harold Laski and Mosley libels; the trials of Cienski, the 'Polish Officer', and Mrs Barney, accused of murdering her lover in a Mayfair mews: the sensational case of fraud brought against Lord Kylsant, Chairman of the Royal Mail Company; and many other famous and less well known cases.
This fine biography covers all the important aspects of Sir Patrick's life, including his career as a playwright and his term of office as Attorney-General in the 1st Labour Government in 1923. Montgomery Hyde has availed himself of all possible sources to make this a comprehensive and definitive biography of one of the most famous of the great school of advocates which included such names as Edward Carson ( of whom Professor Hyde has written a highly praised biography), Norman Birkett and Edward Marshall Hall.