This book is a stunning indictment of a corrupt and vindictive legal system, which is not set in a failed State, or in a corrupt totalitarian regime, or in some particularly troublesome period of history, it is set in the `legal' system of the State of California and its judicially semi-autonomous counties. I am not Californian, or even American, so feel free to read my supporting criticism with that in mind. Graham Cook isn't a `native' of that area either, which undoubtedly coloured some of the judgements against him.
The facts in this book are just that, facts. Critics may assume that some things are left out in order to so weigh the book's balance in the author's favour. This thought naturally crossed my mind, but the book covers such blatant miscarriages of justice that any sane person would struggle to do anything but side fully with Graham Cook.
This autobiographical account is stunning. That he persisted in fighting through the courts for so long, despite a deep well of corruption hidden in the system, even whilst struggling against many of those, then or previously, close to him, is nothing short of flabbergasting. This was all to achieve what exactly? To find out you will have to read the book.
Graham Cook clearly states that neither he nor his supporters did everything right every time, but gads, if he wasn't royally screwed by the system then who has ever been. Courts are rightly inclined towards prejudice in favour of the mother in cases of disputed custody. As a general rule, I think this is no bad thing. As a husband and a father I feel I'm more than within my rights to say so. However, courts need to be fair and open to ruling in a father's favour whenever there is any doubt as to the mother's capability or behaviour. We all hear thousands of stories reflecting this sort of issue. However, this book is far more than just one more example in that unfortunate flood. This isn't about simple biases that exist in any legal system; this is about corruption within, and the illegal manipulation of, the judiciary. This is about corruption, prejudice and outright theft by individuals that society needed, or still needs, to trust.
This is a very well written account of a family `train-crash' caused by systemic failures and a lack of impartial oversight. Every adult that cares a fig about family issues, about natural justice or about the dangers inherent in poorly regulated legal entities, should read this. But above all, this book needs to be read by those that hold public office in the, in so many ways great, State of California.
The author is known to me.