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As Far as I Remember

By: Michael Kerr
Media of As Far as I Remember
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Published: 31-01-2006
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 388
ISBN: 9781841135656
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP : £31.99
 

: 14 -21 days

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Loren Epson

About As Far as I Remember

This candidly written autobiography of Sir Michael Kerr chronicles the life of one of Britains most prominent judges of the 70s and 80s from his Continental childhood up to his career in the Court of Appeal and beyond.
In the first part of his memoir,the author traces his family history and Germanic roots. His father, Alfred Kerr, was a well-known dramatic critic and essayist, whose writings were widely known throughout Germany from the turn of the century and have recently seen a resurrection, 50 years after his death, as related in the last chapter of the book. But because of the fame of his anti-Nazi writings and broadcasts, the Kerrs were forced to flee from Berlin as early as 3 March 1933, when Hitler came to power. The author and his sister Judith, later to become a famous author of childrens books, had a relatively happy cosmopolitan childhood in Zurich, Paris, Nice and ultimately England. But their parents lives remained on the edge of poverty and sometimes despair and there was never again a family home.
The memoirs then tell of his years at Aldenham School and the beginnings of Cambridge, and of his assimilation into the English way of life. They relate the story of his internment as an enemy alien in 1940 and of his subsequent release and service as a pilot in the Royal Air Force until the end of World War II. The author then returned to Cambridge to finish his law degree and was urged to go the Bar.
The later chapters of this autobiography are mainly devoted to the law. They recount the authors career as a leading commercial Junior and then a Silk, his initial hesitations about the Bench, but ultimately culminating in his appointment as a Lord Justice of Appeal. He describes the Bar of the post-war decades and is frank about the frustrations and disappointments of his career. He also provides insights into the oddities of the English legal system, but maintaining throughout his firm belief in the importance of an independent Bar.

Table Of Contents

1 The beginning
2 My father and his family
3 My grandparents
4 My mother
5 My father's work
6 My parents together
7 My sister
8 The early years
9 The twenties
10 Clouds
11 Flight
12 Switzerland
13 An interlude – “fast forward”
14 To France
15 Paris – the beginning
16 Lycee Michelet
17 The Fizaines (and others)
18 Paris – the second year
19 To Nice
20 Our parents in London
21 The end of the Lycee de Nice
22 The promised land
23 Aldenham
24 The first year
25 1937
26 1938–1939
27 The final end of Nice
28 The phoney war – Cambridge
29 The real war starts
30 Internment
31 Reactions
32 The Isle of Man
33 Release
34 Another interlude – “fast forward”
35 The Blitz – back to Aldenham – the RAF
36 Air Crew Cadet

37 Wings
38 Learning to teach flying
39 Flying instructor back in Cambridge
40 Twin engines
41 Joining a Wellington crew
42 612 Squadron
43 The war in Europe ends
44 Demobilisation
45 Post-war Cambridge
46 1946
47 1947
48 Michèle
49 Going to the Bar
50 My mother leaves
51 My father's death
52 A postscript
53 Beginnings at the Bar
54 Marriage, etc
55 My mother in Germany
56 A painful family reunion
57 My mother's death
58 End of a generation
59 The second half
60 The Junior Bar
61 Silk
62 Some highlights
63 Towards the end of the Bar
64 The Bench?
65 Life as a Judge
66 Separation
67 The Law Commission
68 Diana
69 The Court of Appeal
70 Disappointments
71 A new profession
72 A resurrection

Reviews

“...a thoughtful description of an unusual life
an important account of what is was like to be a refugee from persecution who found sanctuary in this country.
contain qualities often missing from judicial autobiographies: experience and judgment.

” –  David Pannick QC, Blackstone Chambers, The Times Law Section

“...he recounts his unusual life story with candour and thoughtfulness” –  Michael Beloff, Times Literary Supplement

“The reader discovers in the pages of this volume a sensitive, yet tough, courageous and determined man. There is frankness in greater measure than many would have wished.
I do not think it is too much to describe this book as an inspiration.
” –  His Honour Judge Dr Peter Jackson, The Times Law Section

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