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5.0 out of 5 stars brillaint readng
I absolutely love this book the way its written you feel that you are there living the moment great reading
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Abysmal
I've been a fan of Wensley Clarkson who has written some very good books; up `til now. Billy Hill - Godfather of London is quite simply an awful book for a variety of reasons. First, it is written in `yob-speak', aimed at the `Diamond geezer' type of reader, and I'm at a loss to why Mr. Clarkson should have done this. Next, it appears that little research has been...
Published on 4 July 2010 by Mr. R. D. M. Kirby


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Abysmal, 4 July 2010
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This review is from: Billy Hill: Godfather of London (Paperback)
I've been a fan of Wensley Clarkson who has written some very good books; up `til now. Billy Hill - Godfather of London is quite simply an awful book for a variety of reasons. First, it is written in `yob-speak', aimed at the `Diamond geezer' type of reader, and I'm at a loss to why Mr. Clarkson should have done this. Next, it appears that little research has been carried out, to confirm or deny extracts which have been drawn from a variety of books, especially from Billy Hill's memoirs, some of which are not noted for their veracity. And last, Mr. Clarkson has inserted as facts, details which are simply not true. He refers to Bert Wickstead as being a Flying Squad detective (he wasn't) and that he served under Ted Greeno (he didn't) and when he refers to the legendary Fabian of the Yard, he really should have credited him with his proper name of `Robert', instead of `Jack'.

No, Mr. Clarkson is more than capable of writing far better books than this, and I hope he will; this one goes straight in the waste-paper basket.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pity it's got a lot of facts wrong, 21 Nov 2008
Very largely based on Billy Hill's own 1955 autobiography, 'Boss of Britain's Underworld', which is about to be re-published. Mr Clarkson's book is largely inaccurate about Billy's later life (from the late 1950s until his death in 1984), his common-law wife Gyp and his son Justin. The true story will soon be told.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Routine stuff, 8 Mar 2013
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B. McDonald (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Billy Hill: Godfather of London (Paperback)
Clarkson relies heavily on previously published material when what is required for a person who has had much written about him is up-to-date research. An example is the persistent story that Billy Hill was born at Seven Dials close to the southern end of Tottenham Court Road, when he was, in fact, born at Cleveland Street close to the Warren Street end of Tottenham Court Road. Read Gangs of London for details of his and other London gangster's origins. Gangs of London
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars London Gangster, 31 Dec 2009
Billy Hill: Godfather of London

Fascinating but misleading in depicting subject as a hero. The bravery and fearlessness of these people is unbelievable and yet Billy and his confederates did not direct their talents to helping out the war effort. Their cunning and inginuity would no doubt have been welcome in the armed forces. Instead they seem to have prospered and benefited from the War.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In process of reading this book, 12 Jun 2014
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I bought this book as I am researching an old Glasgow criminal, Victor Russo, some interesting pieces, I will post a further review once I have finished it, but so far its a decent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brillaint readng, 2 Jun 2014
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I absolutely love this book the way its written you feel that you are there living the moment great reading
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4.0 out of 5 stars LONDON CRIME, 20 Feb 2014
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D. Cleavely - See all my reviews
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Interesting reading about one of the Godfathers of London.....this was such a different era to what developed after and a London that will never be the same again.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK - but not great, 8 Nov 2013
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Initially I put it down after 20 or so pages. I found it bland and the same as a lot of the other 3rd rate gangland biogs/autobiogs (I'm really fed up reading about how they 'gave him a slap' or 'I had to give him a right hander' meaning of course they beat someone half to death with hammers and knives. However, I found myself with nothing to read (I was awaiting another book from Amazon) and I picked it up again and found it to be OK. If you are interested in the gangland genre then it adds to the pre Kray era quite well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Institutionalised Violence, 22 Dec 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Billy Hill: Godfather of London (Paperback)
This book details the early punishment regimes of the British Criminal System. Similar to "Profession of Violence" these forms of institutional violence created the "monsters" they were set to tame and break. The book reflects on these form and its impact on people such as William Hill. Instead of breaking him psychologically with various humiliations and infractions, it killed his empathy he and other boys had formed. It turned them into people capable of revenge through any means possible. The source of the violence is located in class, environment, family and the impact of institutions. This is detailed here in the making of hard man.

Billy was originally forged in poverty; around the Tottenham Court Rd along to the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden - now an up market shopping area. The world evoked by Wensley Clarkson of inner city grime and poverty of the 1920's chimes with Ferdinand Celine's Guiginols Band. A world a million miles away from the corner cafe, boutiques and department stores strewn across Oxford St. Soho, Leicester Square, Charing Cross and Covent Garden. His family later moved to Camden where he was one of 21 kids.

Billy was from Irish descent, a minority castigated by the older settled groups in London. He was trapped in racism. He fought his way through poverty.

Levels of emotional care limited, his mother must mother nursing, lactating, coping with pregnancy and surrounded with toddlers his father trapped in unstable work, the prognosis was not good. The only way out was to fight your way out and this is what Billy did.

Crime despite what criminilogists state becomes a natural outlet. Punishment an occupational hazard. Based on various forms of humiliation intended to break the spirit Billy had no option but to harden himself. He succeeded in becoming a hard man in tough world. Young offender institutions in this era used shocking tactics to tame and control. The young offenders were broken or were made. This also marked the difference in social class. The book explores how Billy originally shy became trapped within the role.

I strongly suspect certain elements have been left out, in particular the more unsavoury aspects of home life. Although it details the man it evokes a wider social picture.

Hero to many, the poor dispossessed projected their revenge dreams onto this figure. He was a man who took on authority and carved his own niche. A working class man who rose above his station through violence and wealth. Similarities abound with the modern era, especially the modern gangsters.

This book needs to be read in conjunction with the hidden social histories of the inter war periods. It provides a fascinating insight of class, violence and crime, how it all interweaves.

I enjoyed the picture of the inter war years and the description of the rivalry with Jack Spot but then it meandered. It evoked an era of violence and docility, a time that has seemingly disappeared but just exists in another form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Billy hill godfather of london, 16 July 2014
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Brilliant book could not put it down what a insite to the gangs of the under world one of many gang books I have read that I think is worth buying.
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Billy Hill: Godfather of London
Billy Hill: Godfather of London by Wensley Clarkson (Paperback - 1 Dec 2009)
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