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No Mean City Paperback – 29 Sep 1978

52 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

No Mean City + The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets + No Mean Glasgow: Revelations of a Gorbals Guy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (29 Sept. 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552075833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552075831
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 1.9 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The half million selling classic novel of the Glasgow slum underworld.

From the Publisher

The half million selling classic novel of the Glasgow slum underworld.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this when I was about 13 years old, and although there were some details that I was to young to fully grasp, I fell in love with this book. Since then I've read it so many times I've lost count!
This story of pre-war Glasgow 'slum' life is told with understanding and yet without masking the realities of such a cruel world. Add to this the main character, Johnnie Stark, an enigmatic and startling character who takes you on a journey you'll NEVER forget, and you've got all the ingredients for a great book!
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Glasgow history, or even just wants a good read!
And even though I'm from Glasgow myself, I'm not just biased; this is an absolutely brilliant book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Irene Babinet on 30 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago and have not yet read it for the second time. It takes a bit of time to get used to the Gorbals accent but story line is good and, obviously, based upon Glasgow at the time. Very harsh reading which needs perseverence; it is not for the faint hearted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Auld Bill on 25 May 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book almost 60 years ago (I was 13 then) but it has always stayed with me. I grew up in the Gorbals so an awful lot what McArthur wrote regarding feelings and emotions in that era I now realise I have carried many of these emotions and feelings with me,aye even to the feelings of violence so prevalent in that period. My attitude to povetry and inequality of the poor has been a burning fire in my belly,sadly this has turned to a burning ember. I am so struck these feelings I had as a child affected my life in so many ways..not all bad. So for so long I carried the names of Johnny Stark and Big Mclinchie fae Toonheed, now I begin to understand Why. Did I enjoy the Book ? By Christ I did !
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gang boy on 12 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
If you liked this book read Colin Macfarlane' brilliant account The Real Gorbals Story...he lived in the same streets during the 1960s.
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By Cassander on 12 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was recommended this book by a Scot who possibly felt that a soft English bloke in the Home Counties needed to know about "real life" in the Gorbals in the 1930s.
Nothing really shocking (actually my own ancestors had lives just as tough in the mining villages of North Staffordshire). The narrative style is quaint - a bit naive and verbally repetitive, but I nevertheless recommend this book as an unadorned bit of social reportage with a grim ending that isn't pretentious and tells it like it is..
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By tonirenjo on 12 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a Glaswegian who was brought up in that era I felt that not enough real background was given to the dreadful conditions that existed in the Gorbals. Razor gangs were rife. Religious bigotry maligned many a life.

Violence was more or less kept between gangs. There was not the depravity that exists in inner cities now. Children were safe and could play and run about without fear.
I don't think that this was portrayed in the book.
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By Mavee on 6 July 2013
Format: Paperback
A bit of a revelation this book as I couldn't quite believe that the main character was allowed to carry weapons which were on display to everyone , he was notorious just as a razor king or seemed very odd to me . The book is well known and well thought off so wanted to read for that reason . I found it compulsive reading it had me enthralled so well worth the purchase . I would advise anyone interested in Scottish history to have a read of this .
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five stars - according to Amazon - are awarded to thinks one 'loves'

you can't 'love' this - but its very good

as well as being a 'book of its time' it is a painful description of repetitive, hopeless, self-destructive behaviour - and this pattern seems to have recurred at the end of the industrial era (clockwork orange onwards via rab c nesbitt?)

pour yourself a large 'red biddy' and wince!
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