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The Best We Can Do: An Account of the Trial of John Bodkin Adams

ISBN13: 005032
ISBN: 005032
Published: February 1961
Publisher: Penguin Books
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback (Hardback in 1958)
Price: Out of print
Hardback edition out of print, ISBN13 005030

Out of Print

This is the story of the trial of one man, John Bodkin Adams. It is a meticulously exact account, by Sybille Bedford author of A Legacy, yet so subtly presented that it becomes, as all trials become for those who have the eye to see, the mind to know and the heart to feel, a drama.

It has its beginning, its middle and its end; it changes pace and tone; different voices are heard stating and contradicting. The actors in this drama are real people, their stage was the Old Bailey, the most famous criminal court in the world. This trial for murder lasted longer than any before heard at the Old Bailey.

It seemed an impossible case; no one could prove anything, no one could disprove anything. But what emerges in Sybille Bedford's brilliant and skilful writing is the care of the Law, the patience and the unexcited, iron determination that if man can do justice, it will be done here.

In fact, reading this book, we see the Law in a grain of sand; through one beautifully told, tense trial we understand the great boon which English Common Law has given us; that a man is innocent until he is proved guilty. This single concept is the rock on which our human freedom stands.