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The Gangs of Birmingham From the Sloggers to the Peaky Blinders Paperback – 29 Jun 2010
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'A fascinating new book that shines a light on the murky world of Victorian youth crime in Birmingham.' --Sunday Mercury, Birmingham
About the Author
Philip Gooderson, M.A., Ph.D., is a retired schoolmaster and local historian with a special interest in the history of Victorian street gangs. He is the author of two previous non-fiction books.
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Top Customer Reviews
The violent problems in the city would be looked at by the rest of the country in the same way as football violence used to be seen as the 'English disease' by the rest of the world...almost a 'Birmingham disease', Birmingham was a place that was to be avoided becuase of the social problems.
It highlights the slogging gangs of Birmingham that would battle with enemy gangs resulting in injury or even death, it highlights the difficulty of the police force, a force plagued with alocoholism due to the fact the men were under constant physical attack from unappreciative and suspicious Brummies who detested anyone 'who turned copper' or 'grass' as it would be known now.
The book tracks gangs of thieves, well known hard men of the time and details the main men or leaders of the gangs. It highlights in detail the problems between the English and Irish communities in the cheapside and digbeth areas, an area to this day that is locally known as 'the Irish' part of the city. It highlights major violent flashpoints in the city's history.
But the book at the same time describes a vastly changing landscape, of local districts becoming a city, and at a time when young men were working in the thousands of trades that would see Birmingham flourish.
It is a must for anyone that is mistaken into thinking that youth culture, and the violence that goes with it, is a modern day phenomenom.Read more ›
I know there are limitations with regard to quoting historical records, and as to how much more information might be available, but without a little background or imagination the events are described for precisely what they are: a chronological list of happenings.
For me this type of book works far better with far fewer individual stories containing much more detail on each one.
Sorry, I hate to give such flat reviews but I hope the author can, or has, come up with more spice for subsequent books. Mac Fletcher
The Kindle version has no illustrations and I assume the printed version has some photographs and maps as there are references to these in the text. So it is all text, and not very well formatted at that; it seems the Kindle version may have been a little rushed and nobody bothered to check the text.
The book consists of a series of short descriptions, stories, transcripts, snippets, court and police records of all kinds of actual events, criminality, most associated with gang crime in Birmingham, and a few snippets from other regions, that mainly took place during the latter thirty years of the 19th century. They are linked in loose but interesting ways by Mr Gooderson’s additional descriptions, notes and comments.
Much of the basics I already knew, common history, but there were a few twists and surprises, such as the antagonism towards David Lloyd George on the city streets, which, surprisingly, I hadn’t known about.
All in all, this is an easy read and if your interest is factual, historical crime – not fiction – much of it violent, pathetic and petty, in and around Britain’s second city then this is worth a couple of pound. If not, then don’t bother – it’s not a Peaky Blinder of a book.
On a personal note, another book continuing on from the finish of this one, would bring the historical line into the period of my Grandfather who lived off Summer Lane, Birmingham.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brought this book not such an interesting read as eaky blinders but still a good read .Published 6 months ago by Colin H.
Not much about gangs as groups of kids much like the nutters we get today, no organised gangs just groups of thugs and vandals age 12 to 20 throwing stones and beating up other... Read morePublished 8 months ago by C. R. Grosvenor
Excellent build up to Peeky Blinders. Well worth reading before you watch the series.Published 13 months ago by Kenneth Gray