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on 14 September 1999
Deadbeat account of the rise and fall of the Krays, most famous of the post-war London gangsters. A must for anyone curious as to the underside of 1960's London, the East End, and the source for the white hot poker incident, killing of Jack the Hat and other incidents recounted in the Long Firm.
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on 19 June 2015
No doubt when this first came out in the early 1970's it was the be-all and end-all of crime biographies. However with the passing of time, even accounting for the updated version with details of the Lord Boothby affair (so it was all true, then) much of it appears rather twee now; example one, Esmeralda's Barn, described in the book as in an upmarket part of Mayfair. I've seen photos of The Barn and it looks rather like some shabby backstreet operation. Same as with the alleged links to the Mafia, links which didn't quite come off - one wonders if the people conspiring (if that's the right word) with the author were rather over-egging the scale and scope of the Twins' operation. Well, anyway, different times, different way of thinking and all that and no doubt they did have large swathes of the capital in their hands. Much of it reads now as a nostalgic look back at "the good old days"; indeed with the passing of time the book becomes ever more so. Still, an enjoyable read nonetheless.
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on 7 May 2000
Very good account of the Kray twins rise to power, and thier fall. Very insightful. It does fall down a bit at the end by belaboring the obvious and trying to explain them in broad sociological terms. And earlier on in the book, one gets the feeling the author has identified a little too strongly with the Krays and glories a little in their successes.
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on 22 January 2014
The Kray twins were 'the original East End villains', ruling London's East End of the 1950's and 60's . Born in 1933 in Hoxton, East London, from an early age, they were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including torture and finally, murders. The book outlines their early life including information on their parents and grandparents and their rise through the ranks of the criminals of London's East End. There were many things I didn't know - not having read a lot about them before - e.g. that Ronnie suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, Ronnie being gay which he was apparently quite open about and despite general hostility in society towards gays at the time, he was accepted within the criminal world as such.

The book very much keeps to the facts without being judgemental, which I prefer in 'real-life' crime books, thus completely overcoming the devide opinion about the Kray twins - vicious villans or glamourous gangsters.
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on 3 October 2001
Fantastic - I was given this as a present and its one of my favourite books ever. It toes the line between admiration and revulsion for the twins and their lifestyle. Well-researched and brilliantly written by a journalist initially approached by the Krays (just prior to their arrest) to write their life story. Little did he know what he had stumbled on! It records the lives of the twins in extraordinary detail, minus all those sensational headlines. It tries to explain how they became what they were, and gives a real sense of the bizarre double standards of the old East End. I was hooked.
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on 25 May 2000
if your interested in the the krays than this book is a must, the book tells the shocking truth about gangland london in the 60`s and how the kray twins ruled london by fear and violence are they realy loverable rouges or volent killers?,
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on 3 June 2013
There were many mistakes such as the twins date of birth! 1933 not 1934! but it was very informative, How far can you believe someone elses view though?
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on 3 March 2015
Well written by someone who knew the twins. Factual reports of their exploits without any sensationalism or partiality. Surprising to see that villains of this magnitude were immune from the law for so long and eventually posed a real threat to the rule of law in this country. Having said that there are genuinely humourous moments albeit in a dark sort of way.
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on 11 August 2014
A brilliant book. John Pearson's direct access to the twins has enabled him to truly capture the bravado straight from the horses mouth. His ability to set the scene is second to none and you really get a feel of what life was like in the east end of London during the period.
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on 19 September 2013
Both my wife and I read this book and we found it interesting and informative. It's well written and gives you a very good insight into the lives of Ronnie and Reggie.
We'd both recommend this to people interested in true crime books.
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