In off the Red: An Autobiography

Ken Marks

In off the Red: An Autobiography
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In off the Red: An Autobiography

Ken Marks

This is the remarkable story of a boy with a finely honed sense of justice who became a Lancaster bomber pilot in the Second World War, then a card-carrying Communist and eventually a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

In recalling his youth, Marks looks critically at Melbourne Grammar, which he attended between 1931 and 1940. Marks character is displayed in the vivid and humble way he writes of his experiences as a bomber pilot. He also evokes the volatile political atmosphere of post-war Melbourne University. Moved by his experience of war, the apparent threat of a Third World War and his Marxist reading, he joined the University Labour Club in 1948 and embraced the ideals of communism. At the end of 1948, he returned to Europe to judge for himself the Eastern Europe regimes. There he was shocked to discover that communism was as fraught with corruption, cruelty and dissent as any other political ideology.

In recounting his rise from fledgling barrister to Judge of the Supreme Court, Marks reveals many fascinating aspects of the Victorian Bar. Marks suggests that our civil and criminal justice systems are failing to meet the needs of a modern society and puts forward ideas for reform.

In Off the Red is an endearingly honest account of a life lived by principle, with passion and without fear.

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