by Ania Grzesik & Gregory Dix
Published in 2021, FREDDIE is the sequel to the highly regarded biography of Sir Freddie Laker: LAKER. It completes the story of his remarkable life and picks up the story from 5th February 1982 when his eponymous airline went into receivership. The book opens with the protest marches on London by Laker staff and last ditch efforts to save the stricken airline by the general public. Never before or since has the loss of a business enterprise resulted in such an exhibition of mass outpouring of public grief.
Written with the blessing of the Laker Airways liquidator, Christopher Morris, who provided unprecedented access to both his papers and legal advisers both in the UK and the US. FREDDIE gives an insider’s account of the world famous ‘billion-dollar’ Laker Antitrust suit from the key participants who brought the case. It also details the second, separate US Department of Justice investigation into illegal fare fixing, and the evidence against a number of some of the world’s largest airlines. For the first time the extent of the lengths that both the UK and US governments went to in order to sabotage the case are revealed. Featuring a cast of colourful characters, the book explores Sir Freddie Laker’s symbiotic and at times bizarre relationship with his Washington attorney Robert M. Beckman.
The final part of the book delves into Sir Freddie’s financial recovery and final business endeavours and lessons learned or not? As he himself once said in the wake of the original Laker Airways collapse, “every businessman should have one day in his life to see what it’s like coming down.” His fate in later life was interwoven with that of his benefactor Tiny Rowland, when Sir Freddie along with the books’ co-author Gregory Dix was first called upon to resurrect Lonrho’s failing Bahamas casino business with his airline and tour operator expertise.
Sir Freddie’s dreams of having his own airline again finally come true almost ten years after the failure of the original Laker Airways. Laker Airways (Bahamas) Ltd is formed with backing from Texan oil tycoon Oscar Wyatt Jr. From points in the USA the airline serves a single destination - Lonrho’s Princess Hotel on Grand Bahama. With his confidence restored he once again attempted to conquer the North Atlantic with right hand man John Jones and Laker Airways Inc. His final years in The Bahamas and the steady decline of Laker Bahamas compounded by a strained relationship with Princess Hotel’s President, John Price and more law suits. Sir Freddie’s 60 years in civil aviation are finally tainted by ill-health then shattered by two hurricanes.His two subsequent airlines including an ill-fated attempt to conquer the North Atlantic, where he went head to head with the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Additionally over a period of five years both volumes have been painstakingly researched from Sir Freddie Laker’s own archive of papers and only completed after the death of co-author Greg Dix. FREDDIE brings new insight into the character of a man who was known for being a national treasure, larger than life, straight talking, always committed to low fares, often vulgar, but nevertheless one of Britain’s most famous and successful entrepreneurs.
ISBN 978 0 0056486 09 £20 (Hardback UK)
ISBN 978 0 9992934 09 $28 (Hardback USA) Publication TBC
608 pages and three 16-page galleries (330 total images)
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