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Gorbals Diehards: A Wild Sixties Childhood [Paperback]

Colin MacFarlane
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Sep 2010

Enid Blyton wrote about the Famous Five - wholesome kids who were always up to some adventure or other - but during the 1960s Glasgow boy Colin MacFarlane had his own gang: the Incredible Gorbals Diehards. These were young boys trying to survive in one of the world's toughest areas, the infamous slums of Glasgow.

During the gang's daily adventures, they came across a plethora of undesirable characters, including foul-mouthed drunks, thieves, razor-flicking gang members, con men, fly men and street brawlers. Through it all, MacFarlane and his band of brothers retained their sense of humour while roaming the filthy, stench-ridden Gorbals backstreets.

In the third volume of his acclaimed memoirs, bestselling author Colin MacFarlane reveals what it was like to grow up on the streets of the Gorbals during this period. Be prepared to be shocked and entertained at the adventures of the gang that called themselves the Incredible Gorbals Diehards.

Frequently Bought Together

Gorbals Diehards: A Wild Sixties Childhood + The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets + No Mean Glasgow: Revelations of a Gorbals Guy
Price For All Three: 25.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845965655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845965655
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Captures both the harsh and hilarious realities of a childhood on the streets" (Daily Record)

"[An] entertaining read" (Scottish Field)

Book Description

Further recollections of the Gorbals from the bestselling author of The Real Gorbals Story

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Patter Merchant Supreme 19 Sep 2010
By Tomvox
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Colin Macfarlane is undoubtedly what is known in Glasgow as a "patter merchant". He has the knack of telling tales in such a way as to encourage the reader to nod his head knowingly while reading and thinking "that's just how I remember it". This is his third volume of reminicences of growing up in the proud but impoverished background of Glasgow's most infamous slum. Incongruously he manages almost to glamorise the violence and the poverty in such a way as not to degrade those caught up in it. The true Gorbals characters always manage to shine through. Macfarlane never lets the reader forget that the population of the Gorbals were just one generation removed from the infamous razor gangs who terrorised the city in the 1930's. Indeed the razor was still the weapon of choice for the hooligan element of the 1960's Gorbals.

The book is written as a series of vignettes, each chapter representing a single episode in the lives of Macfarlane's gang, the Gorbals Diehards of the title. They weren't out and out thugs but were not afraid to use the violence which was basically the language of the streets on which they lived. Like his other books The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets and No Mean Glasgow: Revelations of a Gorbals Guy this volume stands up as social history while never losing the idea that the reader wants to be entertained.

Only one thing stops this being a five star review - the criminal error of calling the fat policeman in "Oor Wullie" PC Bob and not PC Murdoch - no self respecting Scot would get this wrong!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorbals Diehards 11 Oct 2010
By Robbie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent read which I found I could not put down. Author made the Gorbals come to life
and the people, I felt as if I were living with them. Funny ,sad and felt compassion with
the families and their hardships.
Recommend the author Colin MacFarlane and have also finished reading The Real Gorbals Story
by him and have just started his No Mean Glasgow.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! 7 Oct 2010
Read this book within a week or so. Great read, a good follow up to the other two.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book for the way it portrays the Gorbals in such a way that I almost felt like I was there. I could see myself in a back-court complete with skipping rope, scabby knees and a jam piece tossed down from a tenement window. Colin MacFarlane tells his story of growing up along with his 4 best pals in the dirty, poverty-stricken streets where violence, crime and filth were every day life however, far from dwelling on any misery, he tells of a youth filled with adventure, 'cheek' and a great deal of humour. The book is a series of vignettes recounting their escapades and encounters, several of which made me laugh out loud. This was back in the days when you could be cheeky to a policeman yet not go crying to your mummy if you got a clip round the ear for it! His descriptions and memories of Glasgow worthies and acquaintances colour his tales with a richness and vibrancy. For all that, there is a degree of pervading sadness as this is a true picture of hard times not so long ago. I had to remind myself that he's talking about the 60's here, not the Depression and whilst the rest of the world was watching man walk on the moon, Gorbals dwellers were still using outside loos, chasing rats and living in crumling, damp-ridden Vicotrian slums...
There's another point to note about the book - we don't learn the fate of the Incredible Gorbals Diehards. There's no apology for their tough start in life, no "look how far we've come", no "didn't we do well" (or otherwise)and the tale is all the better for it although I'm dying to know!
Whether you're from Glasgow or not (London, Liverpool, Leeds etc all had similar areas), I'd thoroughly recommend this book. Sit back in your comfy chair, turn the central heating up, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy - the Incredible Gorbals Diehards could only have dreamed of such luxury...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Buy A ++++ 26 Jun 2014
By jackie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, full of glasgow patter. Its spot on with good humour, would recomend this book for a great read. Thankyou :-)
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By John
This book is in one word....BRILLIANT! We follow the little gang as they navigate their way through the dangerous streets of The Gorbals. It would make a GREAT movie and there is never a dull moment from these wonderful wee guys. Loved every minute of it!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book 5 Sep 2013
By caza
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
bought this for my dad as he knows all about them. We are Scottish so dad was so happy to get this book and had read it in a day!!
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