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The Great Train Robbery: Crime of the Century: The Definitive Account Paperback – 25 Jul 2013
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our fascination with the Great Train Robbery shows no sign of fading. It's Britain's real-life Wizard of Oz - no matter how familiar the tale, we can never resist savouring it just one more time... This well-written book also tackles the question of why the crime still holds our attention (THE SPECTATOR)
This racing read reveals a strangely seductive lost world (THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
For the robbers who lost their liberty, all they had left was the myth of a brilliant crime. But that myth is comprehensively blown away by this thorough and often gripping book (THE SUNDAY TIMES)
With hindsight, the irony is that the Great Train Robbery was not a harbinger of the Swinging Sixties, but rather, with its cast of cops and criminals in matching trilbies, a reminder of the old Britain - class-bound and violent yet still strangely innocent - that was about to be swept away (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
a cool analysis of a violent and daring raid that still frustrates investigators and fascinates aficionados of big-time crime (SAGA MAGAZINE)
The idea that the great train robbery was a masterpiece of planning and execution by the cream of Britain's villains has been strangely persistent. In fact, as Nick Russell-Pavier and Stewart Richards' fascinating, if mildly obsessive, new book proves, this was always a myth that handily suited everybody involved: police, media and the criminals themselves (DAILY MAIL)
compelling...reveals failings in the initial investigation, but also in the execution of the robbery (CHOICE)
This well researched book sets out the real story in great detail. If you want to know everything there is to know about this crime I can definitely recommend this book. (Sue Lord MYSTERY PEOPLE, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 7)
Definitive account of the famous 1963 Great Train Robbery - and its aftermath. Updated for the paperback edition with new text and pictures.See all Product description
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Where the book succeeds strongly is in the demystifying the crime, and the criminals themselves. This was no perfectly choreographed heist run by criminal masterminds. Two criminals were presented with an opportunity, they put a team together and took that opportunity, end of story. The book isn't able to reveal who the unnamed and never caught other train robbers were, although it does offer some decent educated guesses.
Overall, this is a fair enough read. The prose is clunky, the proof reading leaves a lot to be desired, but if you're interested in the crime, it's worth checking out.
My father inlaw's comments on the book:
It was an infectious read which I found hard to put down. The facts were pretty well put together from statements and interviews with the people involved and were in best part correct, however the author should have paid particular attention to names as he has referenced several incorrectly.
I downloaded the book to Kindle as well and found it a riverting read. I particually like the inventory at the back of the book. Amoungst this inventory is what was found at the farm and i sat there fascinated hanging off every word of my father inlaws recollection of supplies and how they traced them back to local suppliers.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the great train robbery Thames Valley Constabulary held a special dinner inviting the Police officers and CID involved with the arrests and investigation where cerificates were presented in commendation to their commitment and service during the investigation, Peter Cannons hangs proudly in the hallway of his farm in Devon awaiting inspection of all who enters the property.
The book is clumsily arranged and in places not terribly well written. I had hoped for more insights into the main characters.
Despite this it is worth the read as it chronicles a Britain long vanished that was highlighted by the events of the train robbery; The almost cosy relationship between cops and robbers, the "It's a fair cop Guv" attitude of some of the villains, the absence of firearms, the class differences and attitudes of the public and the tragic figure of Jack Mills, the coshed train driver, who received an award of £26.25 and a certificate!!
The initial police ineptitude especially regarding, what we would today consider, basic forensics was massive and had it not been for the driven Supt Butler would have lead to a far less spectacular result than was actually achieved by the cops.
All in all quite informative but I came away disappointed that it wasn't a more satisfyingly gripping read
This read is fascinating and, although the subject has been aired many times, this book details the facts that aren't always revealed. It shows that whilst the raid was daring and detail in to the robbery was planned it was very much the ingredients of an Ealing comedy. Obtaining the money was reasonably easy given the lack of security but 'getting away with it' was never really considered.
Getting as far as they did was more a matter of luck rather than planning and from the outset it was doomed to failure.
I would recommend his book as it is very well researched making many references to other authors and the investigation team. Its not a light read and there is much turning back to earlier chapters to remind the reader of where the facts were obtained.
If you are fascinated by the audacious attempt of getting away with £2.6M then this book will provide a great read
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I would have preferred more about the robbers.Read more
A great deal has been said and written about The Great Train Robbery,
but this book adds something new, more...Read more