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4.2 out of 5 stars26
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 June 2013
I was born in Camberwell in 1930 and remember the " Richardson Gang"
I read the book and it evoked a lot of memories of war torn London.
My Aunt Annie lived in Sears Street the site of the scrap metal yard.
A good book and a good read. Recommended.
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The autobiography of Charlie Richardson, ghost written by Bob Long, sets out his life story against the background of his trial in 1966 in which he received a 25 year sentence for grievous bodily harm and fraud. Richardson describes his dysfunctional upbringing in Camberwell in which he misbehaved at school and quickly became involved in thieving. His National Service was served in the glasshouse at Shepton Mallet and then his scrapyard in Peckham became the centre for illegal scrap dealing and regular `long firm' fraud. He describes how he caused the death of his youngest brother Alan in a power boat accident on the Thames. Richardson clearly thought the Krays were very dangerous and was careful to keep out of their way. He also made money by placing his fruit machines in many clubs all over London. A continuing theme of the book is how he regularly paid off the Metropolitan Police and how much of the evidence of torture used at his last major trial was fabricated by the police. A great deal is clearly omitted as Richardson had copious sums to invest in South African mines and was able to live a lavish life style. Much bad language and many offensive references to sex occur throughout the book.
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on 18 March 2014
Fantastic book very funny great if you've got a scene of humour like me. Had me laughing out loud. Real page turner right to the end. Great story of a man who lived a very interesting live.
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2002
Charlie Richardson is an immensely intelligent if somewhat cynical person. That is EXACTLY what hits you between the eyes when you read this book.
In many respects, Charlie needed to write this account of his life, as it plugs that empty slot in the jigsaw of Sixties crime. The Richardsons were undoubtedly a major force, but Charlie does not dwell overly on the seedier side of his activities. Instead a previously unreported version of events unfolds here of a man who could have been the Branson of the 1960s. Entrepreneurial, workaholic, a driven man who would have been in the billionaire league by now had his 'honest' businesses progressed in the manner they had until his arrest.
For someone who took the punishment he received a lack of humour can be excused in this book. A must read for Sixties crime students, but don't expect a Freddie Foreman type story. Charlie shoots from the hip.
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on 14 October 2012
I really rather enjoyed this book.It gave an insight into the rise of a rogue from the 'nicking'of scrap metal in Camberwell to the 'nicking' of mineral resources that would eventually become scrap metal in South Africa, and this whole story is interspersed with the trial of Charlie Richarson for GBH in 1966 for which he received 25 years in prison. Tere was some amusing incidents in the book,most notably the hapless arsonists, who must have played a further part in The Italian Job.
I is always difficult to know what part Bob Long wrote and edited, and what part Charlie Richardson did, but you get the feeling that Charlie would have included the parts that he wanted ncluded or else.
Good read, and insight into the old fashion world of gangs in London,even if in the end Ronnie Kray did go to far.
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on 12 November 2012
After reading about The Krays, ebay recommended this book as other readers had purchased it. Out of curiosity as to who The Richardsons were I purchased this book. Frankly I couldn't put it down, and to think all this was going on in one part of London whilst The Krays controlled the other part of London when I was just a young boy. Whilst it seemed far fetched with a dash of poetic licence, I'm happy to believe life really was like that. Brilliant book, and really cheap on ebay. The postage was more than the book.
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on 27 August 2012
Many books on 1950s and 1960s crime merely repeat what has been written in other books. Charlie Richardson was at the centre of London gangland and his story needed telling. He obviously believes he was harshly dealt with and there is some justification in this. For more on early London gangs read the excellent Gangs of London.Gangs of London
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on 29 May 2013
Very good insight into the London underworld.
Charlie was obviously an intelligent criminal but seemed to be constantly phased about the lack of fairness in the justice system - seems that he thought he could get up to anything and just get a big slap on the wrists. Like the Krays - people were by then totally fed up with them all.
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on 12 July 2005
Absolutely appalling even for a genre not known for a high level of writing this one really takes the biscuit. Reading the first couple of lines i immediately suspected Richardson had done without the services of a ghost writer, the cliches, puns, bile and sentiment coming at a quite dizzying pace.
It gives no insight into his activities, a likeable rogue brought down by the nobs and the toffs seems to be his theme.
Other memoirs of villains from this period are better written and also prove some real insight into the subjects activities ( Freddie Foremans bio. for example).
My advice don't waste your money you'll learn little of Richardson real life and save yourself a lot of cringing at the appalling writing.
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on 11 December 2015
Book as expected , simple reading , book was very grubby on cover , had to wipe it over before reading , if that had been done before dispatched, would have earned a 5 star ...... Take note
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