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Of Anglo-Irish ancestry, he had a talented engineer father who succumbed to alcoholism, and a crooked land agent in Ireland who shot himself leaving the Babington family penniless. Anthony Babington did not exactly enter the world sucking a silver spoon but, from an early age was determined to become a barrister. The engrossing part of the book starts at the outbreak of war. In the campaign after D-Day, he was desperately wounded - losing the use of all his limbs and even the power of speech - which seemed to spell the end of his career prospects at the Bar or anywhere else.
Thanks to a speech therapist, however, he was gradually taught to speak again and, with the exception of his right arm, his limbs became semi-functional; but then he contracted tuberculosis. Most people would have thought that, with his 100% disability, he was unfit to carry out any real work at all - let alone the arduous and exacting work of a barrister.
Despite all difficulties, with an amanuensis from the Bar Council sitting at his bedside in hospital taking his answers to questions, he took his Bar examinations and was ultimately able to contemplate working in the law.
Not only did he work as a barrister, with all that that entailed, but he became a stipendiary magistrate, then a Circuit Judge, was made a Bencher of his Inn in London, and was then given the extraordinary honour of being made an Honorary Bencher of King's Inns, Dublin.