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Hit 'Em Hard: Jack Spot, King of the Underworld Hardcover – 5 Jun 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Entertainment; 1st edition (5 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007124406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007124404
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

' A lurid tale...but a fascinating one.' -- The Independent on Sunday

'compelling...the story of the battle for control of London's organised crime is gripping.' -- Evening Standard

From the Back Cover

Once the undisputed king of the underworld, Jack Spot was the most powerful criminal in Britain. His thirty-year career began in the 1930s and saw him living on a knife-edge in a thrilling and dangerous world. Over the years, he had run-ins with the Krays, the Richardsons and that other guv'nor of guv'nors, Billy Hill, as well as keeping crooked coppers in his pocket

Spot maintained an extravagant lifestyle for decades, indulging his weakness for beautiful women and all the trappings of wealth. He funded his lifestyle with a series of ingenious crimes, yet managed to escape years with impunity, earning himself national notoriety. Spot had the respect of his own fraternity who regarded him as the true boss of the underworld. Many of those villains even modelled themselves on him.

Wensley Clarkson tells the fascinating story of Spot's life, based on interviews with contemporary criminals and with Jack Spot himself. The result is a thrilling, enthralling account of one man's criminal genius, set against the darkly glamorous world in which he moved.

"This was more than a mob fight. It was victory over the Nazis. I didn't want to swank, but that night I was the hero of the west end."
JACK SPOT, '1938'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A disappointingly poorly written book that often resorts to producing a lists as an unimaginative way of padding out thin, unsubstantiated unanalysed material.
The writing is very disjointed and often follows unconventional rules that are sometimes fairly meaningless:

"Few villains needed ration books because they tended to eat in caffs. Poles, Czechs and French-Canadians joined up with villains on the run, and many used guns." (Page 54) or

'Soldiers from Canada, France, Holland, Poland and Norway turned London into the wildest, most cosmopolitan capital in the world.' (Page 48) or

"The Buttolph was also frequented by villains from areas across the river such as Walworth Road, Old Kent Road, Kennington, Lambeth, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Peckham, Camberwell and the Borough" (page 64) or

"Most of the members weren't actually from Elephant and Castle, but from Walworth Road, Old Kent Road, Kennington, Lambeth, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Peckham, Camberwell and the Borough" (Page 121).

"Sending out Wolselys, Bentleys, Morrises, Rileys, Railtons and secret squad cars to hundres of locations across the capital brought no results" (Page 108)

It makes one wonder why we were not given a more comprehensive lists of areas of London or nations of the world or the marques used as police cars but I imagine that it was just random lists like so many others thrown in at random - not definitive, not researched just random lists.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is interesting but does lack style, but perhaps he wants it to read like a cheap thriller. It is hard to write a book about someone it is so difficult to like. Jack Spot seems to have had no endearing qualities. His fall from power shows how this his empire was. It all seems to have fallen apart when he married and lost his concentration on the business while others moved into his territory plus changes in betting law made his rackets superfluous.

It is worth reading for anyone who likes that era. His role in the Battle of Cable St is disputed. Did he really have a jail sentence for his part? Certainly a hard character. Most of us would not want to have met him.
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Format: Paperback
The author relies much on material from other books and puts them together in a disjointed way. There are better books on Jack Spot - Gangland Bosses: The Lives of Jack Spot and Billy Hill and Gangs of London are properly researched histories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are lots of characters in this 'King's' underworld and never boring.....If you like crime you will certainly enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
like it or not its part of londons history They were the old time gangsters When the east end had the docks
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