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4.6 out of 5 stars
From Gangland to Promised Land
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2002
This book is the autobiography of John Pridmore, a gangster turned Christian. John's life starts crumbling when his parents get divorced. Aged only 11, he soon sets out on a life of crime, starting with shoplifting and ending with drug dealing and intimidation. Aged 27 he has everything: a lot of money, women, cars, and the respect of his peers. One night, working as a doorman in a night-club, he knocks a young man unconscious. Thinking that he has killed him, he escapes to his flat where his world collapses around him: if he has everything, why is he so desperately unhappy?
That marks the turning point in his life. Soon he is involved with committed Christians but it takes him several years to make all the changes required in his life if he is going to be a Christian himself. He tells of his struggles in detail, giving hope to all those who are trying to improve their lives but finding it difficult to do so.
A book that is hard to put down (I also read it in 2 days) - I'd recommend it to anyone.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2002
When my best mate said he read the book in 2 days I thought he was joking because he hardly ever reads. I can now see why and it only took me a day. I couldn't put it down. It takes you through he childhood up to the age of 27 and all the things he got up to - not a nice person at all. The title describes the rest. I had to fight back the tears about 10 times and it certainly has a divine guidance about it. What a tremendous read - I'd recommended this to anyone of any persuasion and point in their life.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2004
One of the most compelling books I have ever read. Anyone and everyone would love this true story. Not only does it give you a real insight into the gang world but it is also an incredibly touching story of struggle, pain, determination and accomplishment. Trust me, once you start it, you wont be able to put it down...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2004
It was a fantastic read from cover to cover. I will certainly will be buying some more and passing them on to friends, an ideal book to give to someone. A truly inspiring read and as michelle collins says "this book will blow your mind" An Incredible insight into the gangland world with a fantastic twist.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2004
As the other reviewers have said this book is compulsive reading. I was lent it by a friend, and started it at 10.30pm for some bedtime reading. I was really tired and so thought I'd fall asleep easily, but at 2.30am I was still reading it and had to eventually force myself to put it down and get some sleep, but I finished it the next morning. Unusual account since it doesn't seem like a religious book and would appeal to virtually anyone.
Juxtaposition between the dark and seedy world John lives in up to 27 and the inspiring world for the next 12 years in fascinating. Extremely moving, and yet, in places, also hilariously funny. Have ordered it for my local library since I want as many as possible to read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2005
This is one of the best books I've read for ages. It's a real page turner. I've read books by Dave Courtney, Vic Dark and other hard men, but this is a gangster story with some real depth to it. It's about how John Pridmore, an East End criminal, finds a way out of his dark world of drug deals and violence. Greg Watts has a real knack at telling a story. The narrative just flows along. A first rate read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2011
John Pridmore's early life reads like the script from a Hollywood movie. This book had me gripped for the first half. It is a definite page turner.

As a cultural Catholic then Evangelical/Born Again Christian then Amish-Mennonite and now moving towards one of the Catholic/Orthodox Churches I was greatly encouraged to see that people within the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) are actually being saved and converted. This was one of the great ironies I saw in the (RCC) after I committed my life to Christ. She says She is the One True Church, but then 98% of Her members are living in mortal sin. To me this was proof positive that the RCC was dead and had been for more than 1500 years. Anyway, in depth study of the early Church has led me to believe that in spite of Her sins and weaknesses the RCC and/or the Orthodox Church (OC) have the greatest claim to actually being the Church that Christ established on earth. His body.

The 2nd part of the book deals with his life after conversion. Not as gripping as the 1st half, but still interesting and I read through this book fairly quickly. Pridmore is extremely honest about his shortcomings as well as his victories in this book. Almost to the point of making one cringe. But I have to say I appreciated it, as it was a refreshing change from the "Christ changed me and now I'm practically a living saint and if your life doesn't match up to mine then you need to start worrying about your salvation" type thing. What we see here is man growing in the grace of God daily and struggling to overcome his sins with the various victories and failures throughout. Yet there is a sense in which I see this man being changed into the image of God. the sexual temptation is slowly overcome. He begins to see his need to give up addictive habits like smoking. He sees the anger and irritation in his life and the attempts to overcome those evil attitudes and so on.

This book is very good as an outreach tool to those who are in the grip of drugs or crime or who simply want to enjoy the world and are not aware of the terrible price tag attached to sin at the end of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2005
Wow! This is a brilliant book. I only picked it up by chance when I walked into a local bookshop. I read a couple of pages and liked the style. It's about a London gangster and how he turned away from a life of violence and drug deals. At times, the story is quite brutal, but it's well handles by author Greg Watts. John Pridmore was a man full of rage. At one point, he gets a gun and goes looking for a man who upset him in a pub. And then he nearly kills another man outside a bar. But his life undergoes a massive transformation. If I tell you any more, I might spoil the story. This is a terriffic book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2005
I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading From Gangland to Promised Land. I the read it again the next day. It's an extraordianry story and one that would make a great film. It has everything: edge of your seat stuff, deeply moving moments, struggles and inspiration. A brilliant book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2004
what a wonderful inspirational read this is, its for anyone. im going to buy 20 and give them to all my friends for christmas. you can't put it down once you've picked it up. Read it in one night.
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