In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial. In his book The Holocaust - born of the terrible revelation that the Jadwiga Concentration camp was the site of his family's extermination - Cady shook the consciousness of the human race. He also named eminent surgeon Sir Adam Kelno as one of Jadwiga's most sadistic inmate/doctors. Kelno has denied this and brought furious charges. Now unfolds Leon Uris' riveting courtroom drama - one of the great fictional trials of the century.
©1970 Leon Uris (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
Having read this novel three decades ago, I recalled that I was enthralled with how the story unwound. Now, hearing it read by John Lee, I can tell my fellow listeners that this novel/audiobook is in my top 25 out of 1350.
First, don't be put off by the period sexism (circa 1970). You'll find the same stuff in Exodus (also by Uris). It's just the way he wrote. Keep focused on the motivations of the characters. Their extremes are tell-tale foreshadowing to a totally unexpected ending.
QB VII (or Queen's Bench 7) is the British courtroom where a trial takes place. The listener must serve as jury to answer the question: Is Abraham Cady (a reporter) guilty of libeling Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish physician, whom Cady accused of war crimes? The backdrop for this story is the Holocaust, but the drama plays out in British Courtroom two decades after WWII ended.
When you finish this book you will be a different person. Oh…one more thing…it is based on a true story!
I am an avid eclectic reader.
According to my records I read “QB VII” in 1979 with a comment about how good it was. I have read all of Uris’s books except “Battle Cry”. My favorite Leon Uris books are “Exodus,” “Mila 18” and “QB VII.” It was after I had read QB VII I discovered the book was a fictionalization of a libel suit which grew out of the publication of the book “Exodus”. On page 155 Uris named a Polish physician Wladislaw Dering M.D. whom he asserted performed experimental surgery on human guinea pigs for the Nazi’s in Auschwitz. In “Exodus” Uris states Dering performed castration and removed ovaries that had been subjected to radiation treatment. Uris claimed he did experiments in surgery without anesthetics on 17,000 inmates primarily Jews. The libel trial, Dering v Uris & others, was held in London in 1964. The verdict by the jury was for Dering but only awarded him a half penny the smallest coin in the realm. Uris proved his information was correct with only a slight discrepancy in the number of cases.
Queen’s Bench Courtroom Number Seven (QB VII) is a master fictionalization of the Dering v Uris libel suit. Uris divides the book into four gripping sections. One is the story of Polish physician Adam Kelno, a brief review of his childhood and the anti-Semitism of Poland at the time. Then goes into his capture and life in the Jadwiga concentration camp. The book then goes into his life after the war in England and Borneo and after 20 years his return to England. The next part of the book tells the story of author Abe Cady, his childhood, life as a British pilot during WWII his injuries, marriage and writing career ending with the publication of his big book called “Holocaust”. The next part tells about Cady’s hunt for key people that were in Jadwiga concentration camp. The last and most exciting part tells the blow by blow action of the court trial. Uris explains about the pomp and circumstance of the British Court system and British common law. I found this education about the British legal system not only informative but entertaining. As in the real trial the verdict was for the plaintiff but only a half penny was awarded. I believe I enjoyed the book more in this second reading than in the first, maybe because I now know it was based on a true story. I enjoyed the melodious voice of one of my favorite narrators John Lee, who did his usual great job narrating the book.
Nazi Court Drama
When the Queen parachuted down to the Olympics.
As soon as I started listening to this audio book I had a bad flashback. You see, I've tried to listen to an audible recording of "The Guns of August" four times, but have never been able to get into it - and I've blamed it on the narrator. I didn't know it at the time, but QBVII as the same narrator, John Lee. I don't care for him at all.
Many of the characters in QBVII are British, as is Lee. So for those characters he was good, and even the Poles - he did a fine job on both men and women. However, one of the main characters, Abe is from North Carolina. John Lee butchers the southern accent. At times, it seems like he's lost and trying to find the accent again. It was distracting. And, I'll probably make it a point to avoid any books he narrates in the future.
Some shadows can't be lived down.
I can’t believe that I listened to half this book before giving up on it. The story is disjointed and especially confusing if you don’t know that it’s written in four parts. The narrator (author) doesn’t make it clear that a new part is starting so when it does you are left wondering what happened to all the other people.
Worse, though, was that even after six hours I still didn’t care whether or not the doctor actually did it. If I don’t care, why listen further?
I found John Lee's narration acceptable, although not really good. I am willing to overlook the fake accents and other nuances of his narration because that helps me differentiate among the characters. Even so, he didn’t do a great job of making it clear who was speaking.
I’m not going to return this book, mostly because I have returned two or three recently and don’t want to develop a history, but I will probably never start it again.
This is a GREAT story, marred by horribly dated characterization in one of the main characters, an old school macho American author whose self-indulgent I'm-a-lone-wolf-giving-my-love-to-art whingings become tedious in the extreme when he announces his intentions to get drunk and find a prostitute. The only thing worse is John Lee's horrible attempts at American and Polish accents. The former sounds like a Matthew McConaughy parody; the latter, an imitation of Bela Lugosi. That said, the story transcends both of these limitations to raise important and compelling moral questions.
Limited. English. Limited.
QB VII is the fictionalized account of the real libel trial that took place in the High Courts of London after the publication of Exodus by Leon Uris. Following the annals of a history we now are all too familiar with, this is a fascinating, heartbreaking, and completely gripping tale. Although the main character, Abraham Cady, gets unbearably preachy at the end of the story, this is Uris' best book.
The narrator, John Lee, is clearly an actor, rather than just a reader. I would say that he is a good actor. He reads with appropriate emphasis and emotion and uses a range of national accents to portray European characters. Normally I give kudos to voice actors who try to infuse real personality into their characterizations, but Lee's accents are uneven and one in particular (Abe Cady's Virginia accent) was so terrible that it distracted from the story. People from the state of Virginia have soft, understated "Southern" accent but Lee made everyone in the Cady family sound like hillbillies. It would have been far less distracting if he had not attempted that bizarre accent. Most of the characters spoke with a Polish accent and this usually worked--EXCEPT when he forgot to switch gears and a British barrister came out sounding like he was from Krakow.
This hefty book really works as an audio book. It provided me with hours of involved listening.
A poignant and moving account of man's inhumanity to man leavened by touches of humor and romance and generous dollops of Jewish-American family history.
Long ago I read a bunch of the early Uris and liked them very much and this was a favorite. While it is still good, and apparently based upon an actual libel suit against Uris concerning Exodus, it could do with some polishing.
It is well researched, as all Uris were supposed to be, and detailed and sets up the opposing sides well with perhaps too lengthy biographical stories. But I'm not a fan of the Cady character, partially due to his being a rather overblown masculine chest thumper type, but also and unfairly because the voice for him by Lee reminds me too much of Matthew McConaughey and his slow southern drawl which I do not care for. Do not misunderstand me, I think Lee is an excellent narrator 99% of the time, it's just that this voice got on my nerves.
Aside from that I don't have a problem with characters who are flawed or are unlikeable, but too many times i felt like Uris needed some more subtlety and less of Cady's speechifying which really went overboard. (Perhaps this was Uris way of spilling his feelings over his trial and while it is understandable, it is unfortunate that it gets in the way so often.) His blatant womanizing and near mysogyny was a bit much also.
The story has enough power in it's own right without beating us over the head with moralizing. & with a couple of trims a little more suspense could have been easily obtained, but there were some predictable elements.
I would be curious to revisit some other Uris for the historical drama and to see if they hold up. I kept thinking of Frederick Forsyth for some reason and how he might have done this, for there is an element to the style or content that's somehow similar, but early Forsyth was rather stripped down prose and I think this would have benefitted from that tightening up.
Still very good and the courtroom stuff is excellent, but there is a little too much at the end, a tacked on feeling to the last chapter, and it dilutes what could have been a powerful ending.
I remember Presumed Innocent and Anatomy of a Murder being exceptional courtroom dramas and at one time I thought QBVII was of their caliber, but perhaps not. Then again, it is hard to revisit any mystery or courtroom drama when you already know the surprise witness or testimony and the verdict and not feel a little let down. So I guess I'd say give it a try for the story despite some flaws.
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