During the recent debate about whether British Muslims who seek to attack the realm could be charged with treason, it was mentioned that no such charges (under an act of Parliament passed in 1351) had been brought since the end of the Second World War. Almost the last Briton to be convicted of, and executed for, this offence was John Amery, a 33-year-old Old Harrovian whose father, Leo, happened to be the Secretary of State for India in Churchill’s wartime coalition government at the time of his offence. In this book David Faber, whose aunt Catherine married Leo’s younger son Julian Amery, sets out to describe the lives of the three Amerys and, in particular (according to his publicity), how the fate of John affected the other two. It is a good story and, though it has been told before, it has not been aired sufficiently recently to be too familiar to most of us.
The good idea that this book undeniably was founders on two rocks. The first is that Faber, a Tory MP until he gave up his seat at the 2001 election, is an at times unsure writer. His prose style is unleavened by changes of tone or any real attempts at