A Very English Scandal Book Summary - A Very English Scandal Book explained in key points
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A Very English Scandal summary

John Preston

Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment

3.9 (49 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

A Very English Scandal by John Preston is a true story of a British political scandal in which Jeremy Thorpe, former leader of the Liberal Party, was accused of conspiracy to murder his ex-lover. It's a gripping and witty account of a sordid affair that rocked the political establishment.

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    A Very English Scandal
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    Jeremy Thorpe was a powerful yet arrogant politician with a secret: he was a closeted homosexual.

    British politician Jeremy Thorpe was a man whose charm and cunning helped him climb the ranks of the elite. Leader of the Liberal Party from 1967 to 1976, he had a spotless public image.

    But he also had a secret.

    Thorpe was homosexual, a fact he kept hidden for fear of damaging his political career.

    Yet Thorpe was also reckless when it came to his affairs. Many felt Thorpe was an arrogant man; Thorpe certainly knew that with his charm and the help of influential friends, he could escape any sticky situation.

    One particular relationship, however, changed this.

    In the early 1960s, Thorpe met a young and emotionally unstable man named Norman Scott. The two made their acquaintance through one of Thorpe’s friends who was Scott’s employer at the time.

    Thorpe took a shine to the young dressage rider and suggested that Scott get in touch with him should he ever need a “favor.”

    Scott was unaware of the politician’s real intentions. Shortly after their meeting, Thorpe initiated a sexual relationship that Scott claims at first wasn’t consensual, saying that Thorpe raped him during their first sexual encounter.

    Scott later moved to Ireland but kept in touch with Thorpe. He was determined to have Thorpe help him in securing a National Insurance card, which he needed to get a job.

    Gradually Scott’s obsession turned into behavior that threatened to expose Thorpe. As Scott traveled, he would share stories of his affair with the prominent politician. Homosexuality was still illegal at the time, and, desperate and depressed, Scott went so far as to show the police letters Thorpe had sent him. At one point, Scott even contacted Thorpe’s mother, asking her for money.

    Feeling threatened, Thorpe realized he needed outside help to keep Scott’s mouth shut about their relationship.

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    What is A Very English Scandal about?

    A Very English Scandal (2016) tells the story of former British politician Jeremy Thorpe’s affair with Norman Scott. From a botched assassination to a biased murder trial, the story of this scandal shines a harsh light on the petty yet powerful relationships within the British Establishment and how those ties work to silence justice and protect reputations.

    A Very English Scandal Review

    A Very English Scandal (2016) is a fascinating account of a political scandal that gripped Britain in the 1970s. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It unveils the extraordinary true story of a prominent politician's downfall due to a secret affair and a conspiracy to silence him.
    • With its detailed research and interviews, the book offers an in-depth exploration of the scandal's political and social implications.
    • The author's engaging narrative style and knack for capturing the essence of the era makes this book both informative and entertaining.

    Who should read A Very English Scandal?

    • Readers fascinated by political scandals
    • Students curious about British insider politics
    • Those fascinated by major media events

    About the Author

    John Preston is the former arts editor for newspapers the Evening Standard and the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years he was the Sunday Telegraph’s television critic. He published a novel, The Dig, in 2007.

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    A Very English Scandal FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Very English Scandal?

    The main message of A Very English Scandal is a shocking true story of political scandal and conspiracy.

    How long does it take to read A Very English Scandal?

    The reading time for A Very English Scandal varies, but it can typically take a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Very English Scandal a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Very English Scandal is worth reading as it uncovers a scandal that will leave you astonished.

    Who is the author of A Very English Scandal?

    John Preston is the author of A Very English Scandal.

    What to read after A Very English Scandal?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A Very English Scandal, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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