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King of the Gypsies [Paperback]

Bartley Gorman , Peter Walsh
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

8 Jan 2003
Bartley Gorman was the greatest bareknuckle fighter of modern times. He reigned as King of the Gypsies for twenty years, beating all comers in illegal contests at fairs and racetracks, down mineshafts and in quarries, on campsites and in car parks.

In this hard-hitting autobiography he lays bare the secret world of illicit prize-fighting and recalls his violent clashes with pro-boxers, martial artists, streetfighters and the lawless `Suicide Fighters' who seek out the top champions of the day. He describes great fighters of the past like the infamous Uriah `Big Just' Burton, the challenges he threw out to London hardmen Lennie McLean and Roy Shaw, and the brutal mob attack that almost cost him his life.

His extraordinary memoir also contains many rare photographs and unveils the formidable new breed of fighting travellers.

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King of the Gypsies + Pretty Boy + The Guv'nor
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Product details

  • Paperback: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Milo Books; New edition edition (8 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903854164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903854167
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A rare glimpse into a secret world.' (The Independent on Sunday) -- THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

'Every page shines - a tremendous book.' (Traveller Magazine)

'Well-written and interesting.' (Boxing News) -- BOXING NEWS


'Well-written and interesting.' (Boxing News)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read - A++++ 15 Aug 2003
Having read the likes of Lenny Mclean - The Guv'nor, Roy 'Pretty Boy' Shaw, Dave Courteney - Stop the Ride, Hard Bstrds, Geoff Thompson (excellent read) & Jimmy Stockin's 'On the Cobbles' etc etc I would have to say that this book is very comfortably the best of them all. Bartley Gorman, to me, was a legend. I had never heard of the fella before I laid eyes on this book, and was very reluctant to buy and read it to be honest. After I had read the first chapter, I really couldn't put the damn thing down! It is a brilliant, brilliant story of a man with extremely high morals and a fascinating past. I take my hat off to the 'King of the Gypsies' whom I would suggest is a real old skool mans man - and a bloody hard so and so!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars this book is a decent read 15 July 2008
i enjoyed reading this book. some of the things mentioned in the book are romantisised and some are exagerrated. i am sure that bartley gorman was a very good fighter and i am sure (having never met him) that he was no saint. a lot of the book recounts battles after drinking alcohol and i doubt that he would really have had the necessary discipline to have become a championship boxer. he seems a fair size and would have had size advantages over most of the men he fought. i have come across gypsy fighters before and they are mainly bullies, (fair play means they've got more to back them up). i spoke to bob gaskin and he told me that the doncaster races episode was very exagerated (bartley says a metal bar was forced down his throat and his voice box was damaged). also i cannot see any man missing a man with a punch and knocking down a wall. i am sure that he was well regarded in his community (and hero worshipped) and am sure that his skill at fighting and his reputation made him plenty of money and got him out of many unpleasant duties. all in all it is a good book but don't believe it all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars king bartley 6 July 2007
having read numerous books of this type i have to say this is amongst my favs well written it keeps you fixed and is hard to put down you almost feel sorry for bartley after the racecourse incident worth every penny highly recommended
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ? 13 Aug 2005
By A Customer
all in all a good book, initially after reading the foreword i thought this guy was a bit arrogant, but as the book goes on its difficult not to gain respect for the man. you dont get much insight into the man apart from the fighter until the end of the book. i find it interesting that once he is older he turns his back on the fighting game, this seems to be the norm as fighters get older and wiser, billy cribb, tarmac warrior did the same. a good book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars king of the gypsies 14 Dec 2004
By A Customer
As a mate of Bartlys i find it amusing that some people who have reviewed this book find him a coward, one in particular saying an anti climax and that Bartly thinks he could have been someone. Anyone who knew this man would say opposite to this, he was a man of character and morals and never turned away from any challange, the bravest man i ever had the honour to meet and is sorely missed. The only cowards in this world are the ones who say things when there can be no responce.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King of gypsies 11 Jun 2009
Fantastic book. Very well reserched and written. Very interesting. Very honourable man whose values are all too lacking today. Great read for the fighting fan as well as just a fun read. Some good life lessons as well hidden among the general text.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood has been shed. History has been made... 12 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Bartley Gorman; a ledgend, a pioneer, my cousin. This book was highly anticipated by everyone who loved him and loathed him. In my family we grew up hearing stories of the exploits of our cousins Bartley and Sam Gorman. The stories were so elaborate and exciting, they filled us with nothing but admiration for these men. The book gives the reader an amazing in-depth look into one side of the lives of these legendary men, brutal as it may seem, bare-knuckle and illegal boxing was (and still is) a huge part of the gypsy life. To the outsider this book may seem far-fetched, over-exaggerated and even glamourous. To those belonging to our fraternity the book is an historical landmark. Not only does the book teach us about the great men of the past but clarifies misunderstandings about certain events of Bartley's life. I would have no trouble recommending this book to anyone. It is the first book ever written by a thoroughbred gypsy and is definitely an essential acquistion in anybody's library.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 13 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This is an excellent book about a very brave and honourable man. Bartley Gorman comes across as being a fair, honest and deeply religious man as well as a formidable fighter. It is correct to say that he was not an ALI but in my opinion he was better. He fought more people than Ali and did not wear gloves or have the protection of medical people standing by. However that aside this book stands out for its deep look into the gypsy way of life and what made bartley the man he was. This book also mentions other famous fighters previously unknown to the general public. For example Uriah Burton probably the most dangerous "all in fighter" of the last one hundred years. There are pictures in this book of famous gypsy fighters that have never been seen before. This is an addictive and very interesting read. I highly recommend this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars king of the gypsies
A fascinating look at the gypsy lifestyle from the point of view of a bare knuckle fighter,comes across as a hard but a fair man.
Published 7 days ago by david jones
5.0 out of 5 stars 10/10
Excellent read. An enlightening but terrifying look into the world of gypsey bare knuckle fighting! Couldnt put it down. 10/10
Published 1 month ago by Laura Stringer
4.0 out of 5 stars What can i say?
Can't give you a straight review of this book, as i bought it for my partner. But he's enjoying reading it, so that's good enough for me!
Published 2 months ago by Amanda Faulkner
5.0 out of 5 stars King of the Gypsies
This book was a great read. well written and researched. Enjoyed every page. RIP Bartley Gorman, King of the Gypsies
Published 2 months ago by Phil
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
great book about bare knuckle boxing and the life of Bartley Gorman Defo worth a read for sure enjoyed it
Published 2 months ago by ben cook
3.0 out of 5 stars King of the gypsies
Good read but at the end of the day he wasted his life and gave nothing to society. Stupid people breed stupid people
Published 3 months ago by Lesley Cato
5.0 out of 5 stars What a man
What a book could not put it down. I don't know if this man is mad or brave. It is a way of life the gypsies live vary proud people there word is their bond but don't cross them. Read more
Published 3 months ago by n goodchild
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Honest and much respect to a great man
Bartley Gorman fighter traveller and historian he gives a great insight into the past fighters fom the turn of the century upto the modern day ,which now in print will not be... Read more
Published 3 months ago by sean mcinally
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Went on a bit wasn't,t a book that I couldn't put down in fact still haven,t finished it keep going back when I have a spare moment
Published 4 months ago by Paul fisk
5.0 out of 5 stars King of the Gypsies
A fantastic read for the second time ,a great insight into the travelling people and the understanding of the Difference between fighting Gypsies ! Read more
Published 5 months ago by richard johnson
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