Customer Reviews


67 Reviews
5 star:
 (33)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Connection
Back in the 1970's, I was driving along the A40 West of Carmarthen, when I noticed the traffic ahead was slowing, and steering round something. When I got there, I saw a man chasing a boy, kicking out at him viciously. I pulled up, and yelled at the man to stop. He took no notice, so I grabbed him, kicked him hard enough to shake him up a bit, and manhandled him to the...
Published 13 months ago by Alsirat

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a factual novel?
If you're looking for a straightforward, orderly account of the West case, don't get this. Get Howard Sounes's 'Fred And Rose' instead.

This really is a bloated, overly descriptive, telling of the story. The author employs the writing techniques of a novel, which makes the reader question what is real and what is embellishment.

If Howard Sounes...
Published on 18 Jan. 2012 by Zeddy12


‹ Previous | 1 2 37 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, gripping, desperately sad., 19 Jun. 2001
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
A well researched and highly detailed account of the lives of Fred and Rosemary West and of the desperate lives of their children. I couldn't put it down. The detail of Fred and Rosemary's own childhood experiences was surprising and insightful. If you want a book that goes towards trying to understand why and how they could do what they did then read this, there are also some valuable perspectives from their surviving children. Brace yourself though, it can be difficult reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental Achievement, 24 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
This is by far the most detailed account of the life and crimes of Fred and Rose West. It is truly a monumental achievement - brilliantly detailed and full of incidental facts.

Burn has outdone himself with this powerful book which lays out the whole terrible story in a unique way. Excellently written in vivid shades. You are carried along on a terrifying roller coaster which does not let you off.

This is a comprehensive book which will be invaluable to anyone interested in the horrific West story and those interested in true crime.

The most horrifying aspect to this relentlessly macabre story is that it is real. All too real - this really happened. Young woman were raped, tortured and murdered in the dark cellar of an ordinary terraced house. The extreme abuse of the West children will surely mortify the reader. Its unimaginable that anyone could ever behave the way the West's did. Rose and Fred West were two primitive people divorced from reality and the normal boundaries of human life. 25 Cromwell Street was their little kingdom - a living hell for their children and victims.

Gorden Burn should be commended for writing such an excellent book.

Its important that we remember the poor victims who suffered at the hands of the West's - not least Heather West whose story will make even the hardest heart cry.

Read this book then spare a a quiet thought for those West children and the victims who survived - if this book inspires you to a good deed then something worthy will have come out from this frightening story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars A grim look at the potential cruelty of humans, 27 Oct. 2014
By 
As part of the 2014 Eclectic Reader Challenge I was required to read something from the true crime genre and the book I picked was “Happy Like Murderers” by Gordon Burn. This book details the abuse and murders carried out by Rose and Fred West to numerous children and young people across several decades at 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester and various other locations around Gloucestershire.

I vividly remember the ghastly discoveries at Cromwell Street when they occurred and whilst I knew a fair bit about the murders this book has highlighted other elements of the complete story. In particular I was really shocked and horrified to discover what the Wests’ children went through and as a parent myself I really struggled to understand how someone could do the things that they did to their children.

It really is a hard book to read due to the vast amount of unsettling events that are recorded and detailed. It highlights in grim detail how vile humans can be and I found myself having to put the book down at multiple occasions. These self-imposed pauses and the vast amount of information that is packed into the pages meant that this wasn’t a quick read that I could pick up and finish in just a couple of days.

Whilst the book does a good job in detailing a lot of what actually happened, I do feel that the writing itself was rather disappointing. The whole thing feels very disorganised as the narrative constantly jumps backwards and forwards in time. I have read some commentary that this was Burns’ attempt at trying to capture Fred West's circular thought and speech patterns but for personally I just found it irritating. Then there was Burns’ tendency to repeat the same facts multiple times which just increased the irritation factor.

Overall this is without doubt one of the most disturbing books I have ever read and the knowledge that what I was reading about actually happened really enhances the horror of it all. The writing itself did let the book down due to the non-linear narrative and constant repetition of facts but either way Burns has managed to capture the grim truth in a rather vivid way. I really can’t recommend this book for casual readers, if you have an interest in true crime novels then you may want to give it a go but be prepared for some quite sickening moments.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So how do you explain the mind of a murderer ??, 20 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Hardcover)
Sorry, but I must disagree with the last reviewer. I believe that Gordon Burn has done as much as any sane person can do to explain the mindset of the West's and their family life. This isn't a doctorial thesis but is an examination of a couple and their way of life. The awful and mindblowing thing about this is the number of people (both family and friends) who could see nothing wrong with the way the West's were living. Readers are presented with the fact's which are made more horrible because of the lack of explanation. How can Gordon Burn explain why Fred & Rose West did the things they did, things which to the majority of us are incomprehensible? Mr. Burn doesn't give reasons - he also doesn't give excuses. In this way the horror becomes all the more apparent to us 'normal' people.
An excellent book, which although explicit manages not to go 'over the top' - surely a difficult achievement when the West's crimes are considered. Not an easy read and not one for those who just want a quick fix of 'shock, horror' exploitation. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I don't consider it as good a book as his other study of a contemporary murderer - the now sadly out of print (so I believe) 'Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son' about Peter Sutcliffe. Go hunt that one down.
Boothers
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read!, 12 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
As a student about to study Criminology at University, i really enjoy reading real crime books. This gave a a real insight it to what it was like to be a part of the West family. Although some other reviewers have picked up on some of the repetitiveness of the author, i do agree, it did get a little annoying, hence why it's received 4*. Still a great read and i couldn't put it down, I managed to read the whole of it in about 11/12 days. I've recommended it to friends.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cromwell St. i, 22 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
This book is direct and gives the reader an insight into the minds of Fred & Rosemary West.The truth is there to help one to understand just how to people can be so evil.At times some of the facts are grisly.Fred protects Rosemary to the end.The couple never show any remorse for their crimes but when Rosemary snubs Fred this pushed him over the top and he takes his own life.A well writted book and very graphic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, 24 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
Recieved this on time and in great nick. I have this already but in it'original cover. I bought this for a friend. It isnt an easy read but is compelling in the simplicity of the style of writing-given the nature of the crimes committed. If you are interested in human behaviour then this book gives an insight into what is thankfully, a rare behaviour in the couple Fred and Rose West.

There are many more offenders in this book and I would imagine they were never brought to trial for their rape of young children.I can only hope that somewhere deep within they feel some level of shame that stays with them for what they did. Fred took the cowards way out, Rose lives a life of security and warmth that she never allowed her children to have- an unbalanced world or what?

Well written, drives home the horror but manages to do this in a balanced, non hysterical style.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinatingly morbid., 22 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Unbelievably interesting account of the West's murderous reign. The writing style doesn't flow, but then this isn't a novel and at times it probably helps the reader understand the chaotic and disorganised nature of Fred West. Definitely a recommended read, genuinely fascinating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars harrowing but compelling, 25 Oct. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
This book gave a fascinating insight into the lives of the poor victims of the Wests. I found it a compelling read and even cried as i was reading about the abuse they had subjected their own children to. This book as obviously been written after some extensive research and i would recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy like murders, 25 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Happy Like Murderers (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It was factual without being sensational - bearing in mind the subject matter was grim.
I liked Gordon Burn's style of writing - my interest in the subject had been re-awakened by the recent programme about the 'responsible adult.'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 37 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Happy Like Murderers: The True Story of Fred and Rosemary West
Happy Like Murderers: The True Story of Fred and Rosemary West by Gordon Burn (Paperback - 20 Sept. 1999)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews