Crossing the Bar: The memoir of Bob Alexander QC
- Publication Date:
- 12th Jan 2023
- Marble Hill Publishers
Our price £25.00
Crossing the Bar
To rise from humble beginnings in the Potteries to become a hugely successful barrister involved in many high profile cases would be enough to satisfy the ambitions of many.
But Bob Alexander’s life took him from the law to be chairman of the Takeover Panel and the NatWest Bank at a critical time when the impact of ‘Big Bang’ demanded huge changes from many staid financial institutions. Add to that his passion for cricket, his appointment as chairman and then president of the MCC, his chairmanship of the Royal Shakespeare Company, together with his elevation to the peerage, and you have the extraordinarily full life of a man who rose to the very top of the British establishment.
- A candid self-portrait of a distinguished lawyer and banker.
- Brilliant accounts of the great legal cases in the 70s and 80s - GCHQ, Ken Livingstone, “Spycatcher,” the Summerland Fire, Kerry Packer, Jeffrey Archer.
- An insider’s account of reinventing a major bank in the 90s.
- A no holds barred narrative of what it is like to be chairman of great institutions like the MCC and RSC.
The Story Behind...
Crossing the Bar
One of the great pleasures of being a publisher is that you never know what you will be offered next. If you had asked me before the email arrived in my inbox, with a lengthy manuscript attached, who Bob Alexander was, I might have been able to mutter, “Wasn’t he a lawyer? Oh, and chairman of NatWest.” But that was all.
The email was from Bob Alexander’s daughter, Mary. She had seen the memoirs I had published by Simon Brown, a former Supreme Court Justice (Playing off the Roof and Second Helpings). Would I consider her father’s memoir?
Memoirs are usually published during the subject’s lifetime. Bob Alexander had died in 2005. Why had the manuscript not been published already? I enjoyed the manuscript enormously - this was a very distinguished snd interesting life. But would it sell? Would the public remember him?
I mentioned to a few lawyer friends that I was reading Bob Alexander’s memoir - and immediately there was a response. A brilliant barrister. Involved in a series of land-mark cases. Left the bar to run a bank…. Stories abounded - and every anecdote told with great affection and respect, ending always with the sad statement, “he died far too young.”
I widened my trawl to a cricket fanatic friend, and an actor. I was immediately regaled with stories of about Bob Alexander’s role in the MCC and at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
It is rare in my experience to find that a figure who took a prominent role in public life and was not afraid of controversy should be regarded, years after his death, with such a deep and lasting affection. Bob Alexander was a man who was genuinely loved by those with whom he came into contact. Reading the manuscript, I understood that he was that rare character, a man of huge ability who was genuinely modest.
I met Mary Alexander. Why publish the memoir now, nearly twenty years since her father’s death?, The family had been so devastated by his sudden death that the manuscript’s existence had been forgotten. It had come to light only recently, Mary and Marie, Bob Alexander’s widow, had both read it and wanted it published.
I agreed. This is an extraordinary story of a man who took a central role in many important legal cases in the seventies, eighties and nineties and was involved in remaking a major bank. His influence on our lives remains to this day.