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The Guv'nor

The Guv'nor [Kindle Edition]

Lenny McLean
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Lenny McLean: the Guv'nor, Dirty Len, a human timebomb waiting to go off, one of the old school--however he was known, Len McLean was--until his high-profile death through cancer in 1998-a living legend and the truth behind a dozen urban myths (all of them extremely violent no doubt); as well as a byword for toughness and street smarts. You didn't mess with Len. Stories of his exploits abound, his name being known far beyond his native manor of Hoxton, with a fearsome reputation built on the back of being a gentleman and one of the best fighters I have ever seen, according to the late Ron Kray. The turn out of minor celebrities and gangland notables at his funeral is a testimony to the (for him) all-important respect this larger- than-life character earned in his chequered life. But who was the great pugilist-turned-actor (see his impressive performance playing, not surprisingly, an East End enforcer in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), and what does it take to be the so-called Guv'nor?

In The Guv'nor, Len takes us, in what largely seems to be his own words (those offended by coarse language beware, he is no honey-tongued rhetorician), through his reminiscences. He evokes a compelling picture of times past, of a tough childhood growing up in the impoverished East End under the auspices of a brutally violent and unforgiving stepfather. He lived his early life in violence, and from that point, through a career of petty crime, minding, bouncing and unlicensed prize fighting (in fact anything that required muscle--his weapons were his fists, and he never used a shooter) it never ended. Because violence came so naturally to Len, his blasé attitude to hospitalising several slags ("no good bastards", so the helpful glossary of colourful terms informs us) can be bluntly shocking. But although violence was a feature of his life, this is not what the man (nor the book) was about. Len was essentially a man of simple values, but with a temper and the tools to make those who crossed or challenged him regret it--badly. A man of strong principles, (by his own account but also by the account of many others), a loving husband and father, not to mention brother, uncle, friend and, perhaps most poignantly, son of a cherished mother. Like many other hard men, he had a particular soft spot for his mother, who herself lived a cruelly tough life of sacrifice and subjugation.

When I met Len, he was courteous and charming, but the air of menace was unmistakable when he had to straighten a fellow bouncer for disrespecting a lady (I cannot remember what the guy actually did, but he definitely wouldn't do it again in Len's presence). Once the message was received, he happily returned to chatting, enlightening me with his words of wisdom. And what wisdom, you may ask, did I take from him? Son, treat kindness with kindness, he pronounced in that gravelly, stentorian tone--an admirable sentiment I thought--and violence with EXTREME violence! he trumpeted. Thankfully, few, if any, can do it quite like Lenny.--Alisdair Bowles


'He was a man amongst men. His life was extraordinary.' Vinnie Jones

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B008ALQGZY
  • Publisher: John Blake (15 Jan 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XGXVM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,097 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Violent, Moving, a Rollercoaster Ride 31 Dec 2008
"The Guv'nor" opens with the protagonist Lenny McLean relating fond memories of his parents, despite the materially tough times they lived in back then. Unfortunately for him, however, they would become much tougher with the sad death of his beloved father, and the arrival of a violent step-father who regularly beat Len, his brothers and even the widow.

Len tells of the petty crime he engaged in as a young lad and of some of the time he was put away for it. But it's the brutal beatings he suffered at home that would become the catalyst for Len to lead a violent and difficult adult life, in which he became the world's meanest bare-knuckle fighter, worked the doors, collected debts, mixed with characters from the underworld, was stabbed, and was shot at twice.

The violence is horrific, as Len recounts some of the opponents he came up against as a prize fighter, some of them cold-blooded men who would have thought nothing about beating him to the point of paralysis. He recalls as well how drunks who tried to assault him on the doors, and people who shot at him or stabbed him, ended up on the receiving end of some brutal punishment, as did anyone else who tried to take a pot shot or pull a fast one on him.

The great thing about "The Guv'nor", though, is that it's not all savage beatings and violence. It's the story of a man who would have walked to the ends of the earth for his parents, wife and kids; and of a big-hearted man and loyal friend who others could always depend on when it counted. There are genuinely touching moments in the book, such as the death of his mum, and the meeting with his future wife for the first time ("The door opened and in walked this little angel, and Lenny took a knockout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing rollercoaster of a story! 5 April 2001
By A Customer
Only if I'd have had the time, I would have read this book from begining to end without rest. You do NOT want to put it down. There is so much to learn about this man's life. And all of it is sooooo interesting. You come to love the man after following him through his life and it's ordeals. The incredible bond Lenny had with his family and friends, including Peter G'his 'Book man' as Lenny refered to him, was touching. I was left wanting more. More storys and more pictures. I now have it, the tribute of Lenny. I haven't yet found the video of Bareknuckle which Lenny presents. What a man. If you haven't got it, get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great follow up to The Guv'nor 17 July 2000
By A Customer
This book is exactly what it says - a truly moving tribute to the one and only Lenny McLean. It shows another side to this awesome character as seen by his friend and book man. I defy anyone not to shed a tear as Mr Gerrard describes how Lenny faced the end of his life with his own brand of courage. A funny and moving 'must buy' for everyone who enjoyed The Guv'nor. God bless you Lenny
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Lenny tells a no-holds barred story of a no-holds barred life. His fight against cancer becoming the only battle he lost, but one which he met with amazing fortitude and steely determination. When one learns of Len's traumatic Hoxton upbringing one can understand why he never let anyone take liberties with him again, and why he became so fiercely proud of Val, his wife and Jamie and Kelly, his children. This is a book you cannot put down...rather like the Guv'nor himself. His descritions of bare-knuckle fighting are truly gripping and provide a real insight into the way that survival on the street is one of the hardest ways of life there is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard nut Lenny was the Business 2 Jan 2000
By A Customer
After seeing lock stock and two smoking barrels i had to go out there and buy the book and from day one i was not able to put the book down till i finished it, it is such a brilliant account of The Guvs life and at times sad but credit where its due The Guv did us Londoners proud by showing us that with a bit of determination and being able to inflict some GBH on few people i.e the mafia monkey u can get to the very top!!!! This book is a must read for youngsters so they can realise that being a wanna be gangster or a hard man has many drawbacks. Ive read dave courtneys book which is also well written but i found The Guvs book a top dog!!!!!! Lenny was a gentlemen amongst thugs he treated women with respect and if someone disrespected women they wouldnt do it again especially after hearing one of lenny's fearsome roars and if threy did im sure they spent a nice paid nhs holiday in a london hospital somewhere,Guv was a one off fighting machine who didnt lose many fights and looking at the size of him i can see y he didnt lose many fights, not many people in there right mind would surely go and pick a fight with a guy who looks like a british bull terrier wiv a roar of a lion i know i wouldnt!!! Thanx for the memory Guv'nor
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Hail The Guv'nor' 20 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Lenny McLean a sheer monster in the fighting circles who can bring down many a fighter with his bare knuckles and at the same time a true gentleman.
McLean was a fighter that very few could match too. Getting paid a few quid a fight to earning a few thousand.
This book goes into detail of how a perfectly normal young lad grew hatred within him for his stepfather so badly that he was able to use this hatred to his advantage when boxing or street fighting.
Hailed as the Guv'nor for his undefeated championships as a fighter Mr.McLean's book is exciting, dangerous and emotional of this man's life.
From the back of travelling circus tents to starring in front of Film cammaras. This book is a must read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldnt put the damn thing down!
Absolute brilliant book! Had me hooked from start to finish! The man was an absolute legend, a hard bastard, but aslo a man of principles. Highly recommend this book!
Published 9 days ago by cj reefer
5.0 out of 5 stars a true legend
I first read this book 16 years ago when i was a teenager. Now ive just read it again and once again couldn't put this book down!!! What a incredible man. R.i.p Lenny McLean.
Published 14 days ago by mick
5.0 out of 5 stars the man behind the beast
a very open and honest account of a man who made the best of his born gifts in a world many would be scared to death in.
Published 14 days ago by irish brewer
3.0 out of 5 stars Big Lenny - good guy
Thought it would have been better. Bit of a money spinner really. Lovable gangster (if there is such a thing). As you can see from "Lock Stock..." he was a formidable man. Read more
Published 14 days ago by GnG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Glad Ive marked this off my ''to read'' list
Really interesting read
Published 18 days ago by Book Worm
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 21 days ago by fred garwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
this really comes across from a bloke that would've been great to meet as long as you didn't puss him off. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Ry P
5.0 out of 5 stars one hard man respect
great read what a hard man he was the govnor top marks to him highly recommend this book very interesting.
Published 1 month ago by john.paul
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
wow what a book, this book opens your eyes to a different world. you cant stop yourself from reading this book the insight to such a hard man is thought provoking. Read more
Published 1 month ago by mr machin
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
great book couldn't stop reading it read half in the evening and half in the morning. God bless lenny McLean RIP
Published 1 month ago by don lloyd
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