Thursday, 6 February 2014

New Book: 'Double Life of Cyril Smith'

by Matthew Baker & Simon Danczuk
This title has not yet been published. You can buy it today and we'll
dispatch it to you as soon as it is released (due 15th Apr 2014).
Publisher:Biteback Publishing
What follows is the publisher's preamble:

NO politician pandered to the media’s appetite for personality more than Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith during the 1970s and 1980s.  With his remarkable girth and regular appearances on the chat show circuit, blurring the lines between politics and show business, Smith was a larger-than-life character in a landscape of dull, grey men.  Yet ‘Big Cyril’ was anything but the gentle giant he sought to portray.

In November 2012, Rochdale’s current MP Simon Danczuk outed Smith in the House of Commons as a serial child abuser. In Smile for the Camera, Danczuk tells how Cyril Smith rose from poor beginnings to become a dominating political figure in the Northwest and nationally, and used his extraordinary profile to conceal a spectacular abuse of power: systematically grooming and sexually abusing young boys, often in care homes he helped to establish. Smith’s story begins as an illegitimate child in the grinding poverty of post-war Rochdale. This background kindled a ruthlessness that drove him on to eventually take over his home town, running it as his own personal fiefdom in which he could do as he pleased.

This is a story deeply rooted in time and place. Smith’s dark side was obscured by his overbearing personality and went unnoticed by the public at large. His victims, often troubled boys from broken homes, had no voice against the famous politician. And yet there were always rumours. Rochdale parents would threaten misbehaved children with a visit from ‘Uncle Cyril’. However, a charmer and a bully with an iron grip on his town, his misdemeanours were never prosecuted. Those who tried found their operations mysteriously shut down by higher authorities. Consequently, Smith retired from politics in 1992 and died in his sleep in 2010. Many of his victims later committed suicide or drifted into a life of drug abuse or prison.

Smile for the Camera is a deeply troubling story of a truly shocking abuse of power, and asks urgent questions of those who allowed Smith to get away with it.

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