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Billy Hill: Godfather of London - The Unparalleled Saga of Britain's Most Powerful Post-War Crime Boss

Billy Hill: Godfather of London - The Unparalleled Saga of Britain's Most Powerful Post-War Crime Boss [Kindle Edition]

Wensley Clarkson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Gangland chronicler Wensley Clarkson expertly documents each chapter of Hill's outrageous, violent, crime-filled life using exclusive contributions from . . . many of London's most legendary criminal faces of the last 50 years, to compile the biography of King Billy, the first rich gangster to colonise the Costa Del Crime . --Euro Weekly

Product Description

There will never be another Billy Hill - Reggie Kray. Bill had a great brain. There's no two ways about it - Frankie Fraser. I made Billy Hill. Then he got over the top of me. I should have shot Billy Hill. I really should. I'd have got ten years for it but it would have made me happy and I'd be out now - laughing - Jack Spot. I have no doubt that during his career Hill had some very senior officers in his pocket - Leonard 'Nipper' Read, legendary Scotland Yard detective. Billy Hill was Britain's first celebrity gangster. Born in London's impoverished Seven Dials, by the early 1950's he had control of the city's gambling rackets and masterminded a heist that set the template for the Great Train Robbery. He ruled the roost in the bloody era when the underworld's choice of weapon was the open razor. His violent clashes with onetime ally turned enemy Jack Spot became the stuff of legend, as Hill and his henchmen left the streets of Soho running red. But Hill was astute enough to choose his moment to get out, abdicating in favour of his gun-toting young protégés, the Kray twins . . . In this fast-moving biography, Wensley Clarkson charts the life of the only post-war British villain to truly make crime pay.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 566 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Dec 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HP5FX1E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,896 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

WENSLEY CLARKSON's books have been published in more than twenty countries across the world and sold more than one million copies. He has also written movie screenplays and worked on many TV documentaries in the UK, US and Spain.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Abysmal 4 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Wensley Clarkson who has written some very good books; up `til now. Billy Hill - Godfather of London is quite simply an awful book for a variety of reasons. First, it is written in `yob-speak', aimed at the `Diamond geezer' type of reader, and I'm at a loss to why Mr. Clarkson should have done this. Next, it appears that little research has been carried out, to confirm or deny extracts which have been drawn from a variety of books, especially from Billy Hill's memoirs, some of which are not noted for their veracity. And last, Mr. Clarkson has inserted as facts, details which are simply not true. He refers to Bert Wickstead as being a Flying Squad detective (he wasn't) and that he served under Ted Greeno (he didn't) and when he refers to the legendary Fabian of the Yard, he really should have credited him with his proper name of `Robert', instead of `Jack'.

No, Mr. Clarkson is more than capable of writing far better books than this, and I hope he will; this one goes straight in the waste-paper basket.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pity it's got a lot of facts wrong 21 Nov 2008
By insight
Very largely based on Billy Hill's own 1955 autobiography, 'Boss of Britain's Underworld', which is about to be re-published. Mr Clarkson's book is largely inaccurate about Billy's later life (from the late 1950s until his death in 1984), his common-law wife Gyp and his son Justin. The true story will soon be told.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Routine stuff 8 Mar 2013
Clarkson relies heavily on previously published material when what is required for a person who has had much written about him is up-to-date research. An example is the persistent story that Billy Hill was born at Seven Dials close to the southern end of Tottenham Court Road, when he was, in fact, born at Cleveland Street close to the Warren Street end of Tottenham Court Road. Read Gangs of London for details of his and other London gangster's origins. Gangs of London
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars London Gangster 31 Dec 2009
Billy Hill: Godfather of London

Fascinating but misleading in depicting subject as a hero. The bravery and fearlessness of these people is unbelievable and yet Billy and his confederates did not direct their talents to helping out the war effort. Their cunning and inginuity would no doubt have been welcome in the armed forces. Instead they seem to have prospered and benefited from the War.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In process of reading this book 12 Jun 2014
By me
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought this book as I am researching an old Glasgow criminal, Victor Russo, some interesting pieces, I will post a further review once I have finished it, but so far its a decent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brillaint readng 2 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book the way its written you feel that you are there living the moment great reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars LONDON CRIME 20 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting reading about one of the Godfathers of London.....this was such a different era to what developed after and a London that will never be the same again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars back in the day
A trip back to the days of villainy which almost seem civilised in comparison with gangsters of today. A good read.
Published 4 months ago by Denise Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy hill godfather of london
Brilliant book could not put it down what a insite to the gangs of the under world one of many gang books I have read that I think is worth buying.
Published 5 months ago by adrian jordan
3.0 out of 5 stars OK - but not great
Initially I put it down after 20 or so pages. I found it bland and the same as a lot of the other 3rd rate gangland biogs/autobiogs (I'm really fed up reading about how they 'gave... Read more
Published 13 months ago by W. R. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
i have always been interested in londons gangland and this book realy tells the truth behind the myths almost as good as britains godfather darbi sabini
Published 20 months ago by Jr Hyams
4.0 out of 5 stars Institutionalised Violence
This book details the early punishment regimes of the British Criminal System. Similar to "Profession of Violence" these forms of institutional violence created the... Read more
Published on 22 Dec 2010 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written true life crime book
This is a well written comprehensive book about Billy Hill a violent gangster, a predecessor of the Krays. He courted notoriety and even ghosted his autobiography. Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2010 by DarkQueen
4.0 out of 5 stars billy hill
A really good read for anyone interested in the old crime lords of britain
Published on 16 Mar 2010 by A. C. Gaffney
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