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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Violent, Moving, a Rollercoaster Ride
"The Guv'nor" opens with the protagonist Lenny McLean relating fond memories of his parents, despite the materially tough times they lived in back then. Unfortunately for him, however, they would become much tougher with the sad death of his beloved father, and the arrival of a violent step-father who regularly beat Len, his brothers and even the widow.

Len...
Published on 31 Dec. 2008 by THE Music Enthusiast

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Whilst there is no doubt that Lenny McLean led a life that would fill ten books, there wasn't really room for this one. There are some interesting interviwews with those who had long-standing associations and friendships with Lenny McLean but there are rather too many which pretty much amount to "Lenny McLean let me into a nightclub one night and err... that's it really...
Published on 21 April 2008 by Paul Myland


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Violent, Moving, a Rollercoaster Ride, 31 Dec. 2008
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Paperback)
"The Guv'nor" opens with the protagonist Lenny McLean relating fond memories of his parents, despite the materially tough times they lived in back then. Unfortunately for him, however, they would become much tougher with the sad death of his beloved father, and the arrival of a violent step-father who regularly beat Len, his brothers and even the widow.

Len tells of the petty crime he engaged in as a young lad and of some of the time he was put away for it. But it's the brutal beatings he suffered at home that would become the catalyst for Len to lead a violent and difficult adult life, in which he became the world's meanest bare-knuckle fighter, worked the doors, collected debts, mixed with characters from the underworld, was stabbed, and was shot at twice.

The violence is horrific, as Len recounts some of the opponents he came up against as a prize fighter, some of them cold-blooded men who would have thought nothing about beating him to the point of paralysis. He recalls as well how drunks who tried to assault him on the doors, and people who shot at him or stabbed him, ended up on the receiving end of some brutal punishment, as did anyone else who tried to take a pot shot or pull a fast one on him.

The great thing about "The Guv'nor", though, is that it's not all savage beatings and violence. It's the story of a man who would have walked to the ends of the earth for his parents, wife and kids; and of a big-hearted man and loyal friend who others could always depend on when it counted. There are genuinely touching moments in the book, such as the death of his mum, and the meeting with his future wife for the first time ("The door opened and in walked this little angel, and Lenny took a knockout."), not to mention the ending, with Lenny expressing his feelings about events and people with an honesty and openness that gives a refreshing edge to the book.

Some of the events in the book are also accompanied with a dose of humour, really allowing Len's voice to shine through as if he's actually telling the story right in front of you. It all makes for a book which makes you wince one moment, laugh the next and maybe even cry the following. "The Guv'nor" is well worth a read and once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great man whom I believe I owe my life, 17 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Hardcover)
I must say this is not a book review at all. I was a bare knuckle fighter in the Gypsy world and then moved on to Ultimate and Cult fighting in the States. I found myself engulfed in a strange world and the cocaine zombie of an organised ring. Lenny McClean got me through that time and helped me get out of the fight world. I did a documentary with Lenny on bare fist that, while still banned will eventually be released. Lenny leaned on me one day and made me promise to pack the game in ... He said "son you've got a lot to offer those kids who need you ( I now counsell drug abuse and young offenders) don't let em down" I replied "OK" .. he said " OK is no good to me, I can't spend that - promise me"..so I made the promise. He said"Good Boy", like I was a kid,then he took hold of me and squeezed me like little doll under his huge arm, I am only 5'4 to his massive frame. Without Lenny I would still be fighting and may even be dead. I wont leave my name or contact because I have a book coming out myself and so this message would loose its value as a thank you and seem an attempt of publicity. Believe me Lenny was a man with a big heart. dont let the roaring fool you. Like me what else can you do without a good education, you have to go for the gold. Lenny .. Thanks from my four girls for giving them their dad back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing rollercoaster of a story!, 5 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Hardcover)
Only if I'd have had the time, I would have read this book from begining to end without rest. You do NOT want to put it down. There is so much to learn about this man's life. And all of it is sooooo interesting. You come to love the man after following him through his life and it's ordeals. The incredible bond Lenny had with his family and friends, including Peter G'his 'Book man' as Lenny refered to him, was touching. I was left wanting more. More storys and more pictures. I now have it, the tribute of Lenny. I haven't yet found the video of Bareknuckle which Lenny presents. What a man. If you haven't got it, get it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's the Guv'nor?, 3 Jun. 2007
By 
R. Mullaney (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Paperback)
After reading Roy Shaws biography 'Pretty Boy' I was very keen to read more about the violent underworld these characters lived in. Lenny McLean was Shaws arch rival and the two men hated each other. The Guv'nor tells a very similar tale of a boy raised in London who would become a villain and feared hardman.

McLean obviously had a tough upbringing, mostly at the hands of his mothers violent boyfriend Jim Irwin. Lennys grew into a tough teenage crook and after a spell in borstal took up boxing. McLean was a ferocious fighter and a mountain of a man. He travelled the country fighting in gyspy fairs and made a small fortune whilst at the same time building a terrifying reputation.

Whereas Shaws book appears to be brutally honest, McLeans appears exaggerated and self indulgent. McLean tells of how he 'looked after' pubs and clubs for their owners as if he was doing them a great favour when in actual fact he was running a protection racket. If anything McLean attracted trouble as he was often a target for people looking to make a name for themselves and was shot and stabbed working as a doorman. McLean boasts of his successes in the ring but glosses over the first fight with Roy Shaw in which Shaw beat him hands down. He also claims to have beaten Shaw twice whereas Shaw claims McLean refused a second return fight after defeating him in the first return. McLean sees himself as a gentleman but actually sounds to be nothing more than a thug (especially when he describes smashing a mates jaw into pieces). That said, this is still a fascinating book and McLean has led quite a remarkable life. His ego aside, there are more than enough thrilling tales to fill a book here such as the time he was flown by the mafia to New York to fight their champion (McLean decked him) and the time he acted as security on a deal with the IRA.

Like this? Try: Pretty Boy by Roy Shaw
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you like Lenny Mclean, you'll love this book...., 12 Dec. 2001
By 
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Paperback)
Well like i said in the one-liner... if you like lenny, then you'll love this book. I only knew of Mr. Mclean after his appearance in "Lock Stock"(what a film) so when a conversation at my work was brought up about how good it was... i decided to buy it at the first opertunity. I must admiti found that the story starts a little slow and "action-less" if there is such a word?!! I was waiting for this big man to explode into actoin from the word go... but not the case. This is the only downside to it i thought. However when it did start... you know .. getting lively, boy did it start... the journeys and adventures, experiences and thrills that this man had ... wow. He was involed in allsorts and ill let you read it yourself to find out.. things you'd never belive. The many trails and story within this book wont let you put it down... you just think..oh i'll just finish this chapter ...and three chapters later...
I found Lenny Mclean to be a strange character, a likeable person overall, but on the other side does have a side that ill have to read more about to understand. Im sure you'll find the same...
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a knockout !!, 31 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Hardcover)
I received this book for Christmas and although I'm not normally a "reader" I found myself absolutely riveted. I wouldn't say this is the work of a literary genius but it soon becomes obvious that the content is as hard hitting as the man himself. The co-author ("my book man") appears to have little or no input and the style of the book is very much as if you were sitting there alongside this cockney giant as he relates one story after another about his life and the people he knew. The book conveys a fascinating insight into life on just the wrong side of the law and whilst it is often difficult to applaud many of the things Lenny McLean did, I was still left believing that underneath, he was a likeable, moralistic and highly principled man. I too, was dismayed to learn that Lenny McLean has since died. Reading the book in the first person and realizing that he was only 49 years old made me want go out and meet him - if only to shake his hand. Now all I can say is that I very much look forward to someone paying him the ultimate tribute and making that film which he so obviously wanted to be made.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Give Lenny his due, A billion out of ten", 31 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Hardcover)
Wow, what can I say, Lenny McLean inspiars me. His book is appsolutly brilliant. I got it for Cristmas from my lovely Girlfriend Jennifer; now its News Years Eve and Ive finished it. Thats how good it is! I couldnt put the book down, I'd read it more than often; before I go to bed, in the morning when I get up, all the time. I'd be reading the book, then I'd say to my self; "Right after this page Im going to put the book down and go to bed", This book is like a movie, once I got to the end of the page something good happens and Ive got to read it, anyway this carried on and on and I just couldnt put it down. When I buy newspapers and magazines I never get round to finishing reading anything because I just get bored, but this book is out of the ordinary. Ive never met Lenny but I feel I know him, hes got a heart of gold. After what hes been through he more than derserves to hold the title 'The Guv'nor'. I wish I could have been friends with him. "God bless you, Lenny 'The Guv'nor' McLean". Give 'The Guv'nor' his due, a billion of billion out of ten Mate!, sorry for my hand writing Lenny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great follow up to The Guv'nor, 17 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Guv'nor: A Tribute (Hardcover)
This book is exactly what it says - a truly moving tribute to the one and only Lenny McLean. It shows another side to this awesome character as seen by his friend and book man. I defy anyone not to shed a tear as Mr Gerrard describes how Lenny faced the end of his life with his own brand of courage. A funny and moving 'must buy' for everyone who enjoyed The Guv'nor. God bless you Lenny
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5.0 out of 5 stars Up to page 175 and great so far........., 22 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Hardcover)
I have read all the Kray books, the Richardsons, the Lambrianous, etc.etc and can honestly say that this is by far the best and most accurate book I have read. Like many people, a pals dad knew Lenny and has praised him on many occasions. Once, in a pub in Brentwood there were these seven guys causing aggro with the bar staff, my pals dad was drinking with Lenny at the time and suddenly he nutted three of them and knocked out the other four. How many people can you think of who could do that without the blink of an eyelid ??? He must have been an amazing man and reading his book really makes you want to meet him and tell him what pleasure he has given everyone who has read his book. It seems so honestly written and certainly not had much help from any authors, unlike other books I have read. My dad knew Roy Shaw in the early seventies and also a guy called Lenny Wilsher who was in the same game as them and Roy according to my dad was a real psychopath but could not touch Lenny Mclean in the ring.
Anyone going out to buy this then don't hesitate. Rest in peace, Len
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4.0 out of 5 stars From someone who reads Bronte..., 13 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Paperback)
For someone who reads Bronte, this was a book bought on pure curiosity. I met someone who was closely related to The Guv'nor, I hadn't previously heard of him and thought I should find out more. I was initially quite scared to read this book, thinking that it would be a testosterone fuelled rant about fighting and mafiosa. I was however, pleasantly surprised. I found that Lenny was a family man with normal fears and anxieties growing up. It was his fierce loyalty and kindness that lead him down some dark paths, and sadly caused a lot of fights and pain. It was interesting to read such a deep insight to the soul of someone involved in such vicious fighting and frightening situations. After all of the brutal fights and injuries caused, I felt myself understanding him and his reasoning. He comes across as a strong, tough-guy family man with morals and a hint of modesty (although sometimes this is lost through his descriptions of his fights!). Thoroughly enjoyable.
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The Guv'nor
The Guv'nor by Peter Gerrard (Paperback - 15 Jan. 2003)
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