Bent Twigs by Wally Harbert

Wally Harbert recently came to my attention with his excellent whistleblowing post about  Avon County Council [1]

I was therefore keen to read his novel Bent Twigs [2] . The title comes from Alexander Pope quote – ‘Tis education forms the common mind, just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.

The back cover describes it as “local government with the lid off – you will be relieved it is a novel”. However that is misleading, as Wallys experience as Director of Social Services in Hackney and then Avon, has been put into this novel, and a novel is often the best way of getting the truth across.

betn twigs

It is the only book I have read that gives you the background scenarios and process, by which for instance the whistleblower is sacked and the perpetrator of abuse is not brought to justice, and the abuse continues. Unwieldy council structures, relationships between Councillors and Officers and Unions, political dogma. The book focusses on a girl in care called Paula and has a double twist towards the end, which I will not spoil.

Politicos will recognise the machinations, whilst many will begin to understand how the cover ups continue.

“We see noble motives and intentions brought low by hidden agendas, greed and power games, coupled with buck-passing of a refined order. We get to see how our elected politicians can blithely wipe out government from one committee to another each making amendments until sensible proposals are made unworkable.”

Wally has also written other books, which are worth searching for as well, and check out other books on child abuse [3] [4]


[1] 2014 Nov 9 Cathy Fox. Wally Harbert Child Protection in a Hostile Environment by Wally Harbert

[2] Bent Twigs 2005 by Wally Harbert ISBN 1-904986-15-3

[3] Cathy Fox Books on Child Abuse

[4] Cathy Fox Category “Books on Child Abuse 2”


About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in Avon, Books about Child Abuse, cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Childrens home, Hackney and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bent Twigs by Wally Harbert

  1. artmanjosephgrech says:

    An essential read whether the fiction or the facts and essential read for those wanting to know how local government worked and I suspect still does

  2. Pingback: Historic Abuse in Children’s Homes – The Management Context by Wally Harbert | cathyfox

  3. Pingback: Ace News Room | CATHY FOX REPORT: ‘ Historic Abuse in Care Homes – The Management Context by Wally Harbert ‘

  4. Pingback: Wally Harbert’s submission to IICSA | cathy fox blog

  5. Pingback: How a Local Authority Failed Children in its Care – Sexual Activity in Community Homes | cathy fox blog on child abuse

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