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Gangland Bosses: The Lives of Jack Spot and Billy Hill Paperback – 1 Dec 2005

2.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (1 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751533203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751533200
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Meticulously researched (Tangled Web)

Book Description

* The story of two of the kings of the London gangland underworld in the 1940s and 50s.

* It is a story of murder and robbery, of love, loyalty and betrayal, of courage and cowardice, of knife fights for the control of London.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have an interest in this era of London crime then there are some very informative parts of this book. The description of Spot's early days is good, as is the story of his fall. You also get a good picture of the street betting and racecourse action of the pre- and post-war eras, before betting shops were legalised.

But some of the introductory 'background' stuff (particularly the chapter about the Sabinis) wasn't easy to follow - and I say that against my knowing a fair bit about the subject from previous reading on the subject.

I would have hoped to learn a lot more about some of the 'supporting cast', the likes of Johnny Carter, Billy Blythe, George Walker, etc. and how they interacted ith Hill. But I guess Morton was working mainly with what was available from newpapers and similar, plus inputs from Gerry Parker many of which add interesting details. To be fair, there were other 'cast members' I hadn't come across before, so maybe I'm being a bit picky on that point.

There is reference made to an incident involving Spot at a boxing bill featuring 'Randy Turpin vs Marcel Cerdan' which the author states probably never took place as Randolph never fought Cerdan. Correct, but Randolph's brother Dick fought Cerdan at the venue in question, so the story likely has some foundation. A quick lookup on a boxing site would also have shown that Cerdan didn't die in the year the author states! When you consider the amount of research he clearly did to produce this book and similar it's odd that he'd let that slip. But leaving that aside, the research notes are interesting in themselves, with a lot of extra detail.

Overall, I actually enjoyed reading the book, as I have a huge interest in the London of that era, and the places where the incidents took place. It's worth a read, but it's an easier read if you know some of the story already.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to reading this book.However within the first 50 pages,I found myself skipping paragraphs and then pages.There seems to be no chronological order to this book.One minute you're in the '50s then you're back to the '20s telling you about some neighbours' distant 2nd cousins cat!I was hoping to read about Billy Hill and Jack Spot but there are so many other names mentioned,together with their past(who are irrelevant to the story)that it detracts from the bigger picture.The book has obviously been well researched but it seems all the information was put in a barrel and drawn out lucky dip style!I wanted an orderly history of the events in their lives but this is anything but.I finally gave up after 100 pages or so.To be avoided!I cant think of anything to recommend this book.
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By A Customer on 27 Oct. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Just take a look at the working life span of these guys criminal careers, These guys didnt do things like walk in to the pub (themselves and openly thinking they were so tough no one could report them) and shoot someone.
No wonder these guys careers lasted longer than a decade.
The next generation in the sixties didnt learn enough from their predecesors rights and wrongs(who made big money).
The Krays seem a little thick really when you think about things.
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