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Hard Bastards Paperback – 14 Aug 2002

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Blake Publishing; New edition edition (14 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857825306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857825305
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

When Ronnie Kray was sent to Broadmoor, his wife Kate kept a copy of his little black address book full with telephone numbers of con men, murderers and tough guys from all over the country. A useful thing to do as it turned out, because occasionally she had to telephone them for various "bits of work". She befriended many and through them was introduced to more. The more she got to know them, the more they intrigued her. She wanted to know what made a hard man. Ronnie's little black book came through with a right result: Hard Bastards--a Who's Who of the toughest men in Britain.

All the two dozen faces in this select club share three criteria, the so-called three Rs: Respect, Reputation and they can have a "Row". These are men who eat, sleep and breathe violence. Roy Shaw discovered God had given him a gift--the power of punch; Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, the Unionist terrorist released from the Maze in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement has survived 10 assassination attempts; Charlie Bronson, the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement was kept naked in a cage and fed through a cat flap. SAS, murderers, gangsters, strongmen, terrorists and street fighters--the most chilling fact is how without exception they insist they're nice blokes at heart. Kray draws out the humanity from even the toughest nuts, although sometimes the lack of detail renders even the most potentially interesting characters a little thin. Her method of asking them the same questions allows readers to judge them against each other to decide who really is the hardest of them all, while their views on hanging, the effectiveness of prison as a deterrent, what might have deterred them from a life of crime and what makes a tough guy are refreshing and pointed.

Kray says that the purpose of writing the book was to help people understand these men and thus fear them less. But the set up and execution of this subject can't help but celebrate these men and their sense of honour to a certain extent.--Christine Buttery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'No one knows Hard Bastards like Kate Kray' Sunday People

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I flicked through this in Zavvi yesterday for a laugh. They are murderers, they maim people, they blight peoples lives. I have to assume that these were all bullies at school, which is where life and any form of legitimate authority ended for them when everyone else they terrorized evolved into the society they are too stupid to participate in.
What I thought was pretty chilling was the inclusion, for all of them, of their views on capital punishment?!? Lads, its very simple, if you are locked in a building with nonces and rapists for long stretches, its because you're equally unwelcome in society. That's the point of prison. And no amount of hollow incitements to capital punishment or hypocritical professions of love for your poor mums and wives is going to alter that. Let's be honest here, all capital punishment will do is make you feel a bit less embarressed about who you share a prison with for years at a time, but that doesnt sound like such a convincing argument for the death penalty does it? Utterly shameful.

These guys are hired muscle for gangsters. These gangsters exist to form criminal networks that hook people on heroin, organise protection rackets, enslave migrants, and beat and rape and break teenage girls into the sex trade. How anyone has the neck to write something this uncritical of these people is one thing; Kate Kray is part of the life and can be expected to try and sell the world on how the roof over her head was paid for. But there are dozens of these books, and there must be a lot of people out there reading them, and this review goes for all of them. Anyone who pays into this Heat Magazine celebration of something this atavistic should be deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a collection of "mini-biographies" of some of the nation's "hard bastards". In actual fact most the people in it are nasty hardcore criminals, although there are a couple of biographies about respectable people who are not thieves, armed robbers, or murderers. I can only assume that this is to lend it some credibility and avoid accusations that the book is an attempt at giving a slap on the back a bunch of bullies and thugs.

As you read through each biography a very simple pattern emerges that rapidly becomes predictable and tedious:

1. They started their lives "on the pavement", which is a quaint phrase used several times in the book that basically means that they started off thieving from the hard working honest people in their community because they were too lazy to work themselves.
2. They then proceed to blame some or all of the following for the path they chose: (a) the war; (b) society; (c) lack of money/hard life as a child; (d) poor education. Funny that, because so far as I can tell there were 100's of 1000's of people who all suffered the same but who didn't choose a life of crime. The only people to blame for what they did is themselves.
3. Finally they try to pass themselves off as "respectable". The most common way they do this is the usual way criminals try to make themselves look respectable: they make comments about paedophiles and rapists and go to great lengths to say that such people deserve the death penalty and should never be let out etc. Well, yes, a laudable sentiment, but the existence of such people does not make these murderers, armed robbers, bullies, and thieves in anyway respectable. One of them even has the audacity to put his occupation as "Gentlemen"! These people are just one rung above the rapists etc.
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By A Customer on 7 April 2001
Format: Hardcover
the book sets out with good intentions to chronicle some well known hardmen, where it falls down is the very sketchy and bare portraits that the author gives on would have been better to cut half the people out and give more space to the remainder and then do a follow up book on the ones omitted.
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By A Customer on 13 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is not about gangsters or villians. It is not a story book and doesn't pull any punches. Without doubt you can find the information contained within if you looked around.
Many of us are intrigued by the unknown be it unexplained or the villian side of life. We like to read about villians and their lifestlyes and stories and this is what this book is about.
It tells things the way they are. I personally know some of the people in this book and must say that the way Kate has written this book is as if you are sitting there in the same room listening to what each man has to say. None have had anything to gain. Their reputations speak for themselves and they certainly don't need upholding or enforcing in any way.
The people within this book are from different backgrounds, upbringings and lives but the one thing that links them all is that society, in the past, now and beyond will always need the "HARD BASTARDS" to protect the weak vunerable and innocent.
Take the book for what it is an insight into the type of people who are regarded as "Hard Bastards".
You may know of men better but they did'nt make it into this book but who knows perhaps they will in Hard Bastards 2.
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