14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Crossing the Line: The Autobiography of a decent man,
This review is from: Crossing the Line: The Autobiography of a Thief (Paperback)
I had never heard of Bruce Reynolds until I came across this book quite by accident and what a gem it turned out to be. This book was an astonishing read about the life of an (extra) ordinary boy from London who eventually rose to become the instigator and leader of the now famous and legendary great train robbery of 1963.
The book read so well, it was so absorbing that I was near fearful I would get my collar felt just for the fun of reading it! It is by no means your average mundane biography that struts and frets upon the stage and then is heard no more, no, this is a 'warts and all' magnum opus worthy of taking the time to read thoroughly.
Reynolds acknowledgement and honesty with his keenness to embrace villainy as a dedicated thief are admirable and many such candid remarks throughout make very excellent reading. Despite acknowledging a brief passing acquaintance with the Krays, Reynolds is not at all the stereotype violent gangster, on the contrary. I think the judiciary particularly Edmund Davies attempted to portray him and the other train robbers as just brutal and violent, but to Reynolds credit he clearly explains what really happened on the night of the train robbery with regards to the assault of the train driver, Mr. Jack Mills.
The book is filled with passages giving insight into the planning of a robbery, feeling the tension of uncertainty and the excitement of untold promise from the 'buzz' of stealing and being a 'crim'. Then when a robbery is underway he gives clear descriptions of feeling the inevitable fear of being caught as one successful robbery after another with some very close calls are recounted and brought to life just as though we are there to witness each event for ourselves.
Although the train robbery becomes the crescendo of the Reynolds biography, the details of his boyhood, wartime evacuation as a child, love of his family and loyalty to his friends are the very stuff of a man with true character ...and integrity.
I thought Reynolds observations about his philosophy towards life, his time spent in prison, his attempts to make amends with his notoriety as 'the Bruce, the train robber' is the very stuff of honesty, love, and passion for life.