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Dead Men's Wages (The secrets of a London conman and his family) Hardcover – 22 Feb 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition, First Impression edition (22 Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330484451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330484459
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 633,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hallaig on 10 May 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating insight into the life of a London hoodlum and his family, where the author's memories and perceptions, through a child's eyes, are interwoven with the historical narrative.
As with many of the gangsters on both sides of the Atlantic, there's a horrible attraction about him. Probably we are drawn by the idea - beyond most of us morally - of living out vicariously such a life of extreme and unscruplulous selfishness. He does get his comeuppance so there is some pleasure derived from justice being triumphant at the last.
The book is written engagingly enough but the author overuses the annoying habit of elevating subordinate clauses, or even phrases, into complete sentences on their own. Which is irritating. As you see. If done like this. Often.
One other drawback is the lack of any photographs which would help provide a context, and the absence of an index or family tree. It becomes quite confusing, as the family grows, trying to keep track of them all.
Overall, a good read and a change from the well-worn Ron'n'Reg and mad Frankie rut.
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By lozza Tay on 4 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deep insight into a tragic family. From the outset, Pizzichini captures the millieu of the 1960s, and the hardships suffered by the poor throughout the 1900s
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Weston on 10 Mar 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I am interested in London history, but I have to admit I gave up reading this book about 1/6th of the way through... I skimmed the rest of the book and it looked like more of the same so I read the last 2 pages and then gave up. What I disliked about is is precisely that it reads like a novel - it's kind of a combination. The first chapter (well, foreword) was interesting - it deals with the author's actual memories of her grandfather and I guess what inspired her to write the book. But for the rest of it, she writes it as if it were a novel, with actually bits of speech that were apparently said, people's thoughts that were apparently thought, at the time, when it's quite clear that she can have had no inkling of any of this level of detail. The author herself admits on these pages that she may have embellished somewhat.

Compare this to the last biography I read, "Lilla's Feast" where the veracity of the personal story was supported by many detailed written accounts, photos and letters, and this really pales into comparison. I'm sure the general historic context is correct and that the author has done plenty of research into that, but it's really stretching it to think that she knew what her 4-year old grandfather actually said to a copper, word for word. I found it quite irritating, and tedious just hearing a blow-by-blow account of a sociopathic family. I think it would be more interesting if you had a really great interest in the subject matter, knew the context of surrounding gangsters etc, but for the general reader it might be a bit much.

Hope this helps
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