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4.5 out of 5 stars
56
The Autobiography of a Thief: The Man Behind The Great Train Robbery
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on 23 September 2012
I really enjoyed this book.Most people-me included- know that Bruce Reynolds was involved in The Great Train Robbery,but know little more about him,this book rectifies the problem. Bruce writes with candour and honesty.The majority of the book covers his life before the Train,and it very interesting and very readable,there i also a fair amount of humour in some of the characters he comes across,especially Nobby Clarke who served a customer whils robbing a shop. Bruce Reynolds manages to cover the gulf between a long diatribe on crime/jobs/criminals and page turning enjoyment.This was a very good and enjoyable read and put to bed many misconceptions thaty have grown up over the years concerning The Great Train Robber, and the criminal fraternity of the 1950's and 60's.
13 people found this helpful
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 October 2015
The late Bruce Reynolds revealing his life as a career criminal from being a Raffles type crook to his 'Eldorado', the great train robbery of August 1963 when he smoked a Monte Cristo No. 2 cigar while waiting for the high value mail coach to rumble up to Bridego Bridge between Leighton Buzzard and Cheddington. He is often described as the mastermind behind that robbery but for all the bravado and the money that was stolen, he appears to have led a happier and more exciting life before the robbery and a more interesting media role after it. I would like to have known more about the two nights they spent at Leatherslade Farm prior to the robbery because that must be the high spot for the reader, that is where the pent up excitement lies but Bruce Reynolds only touches lightly upon it as do all the films, books and documentaries that have been made about the robbery.

It's an interesting read and if you are into true crime, it is hard to put down. They say it's mostly middle-aged women who read books like this, I am saying no more.
One person found this helpful
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on 24 October 2017
Great read .... very bright man born in a poor part of society who felt he deserved the high life and set out to acquire it at a time when there was still zero social mobility ... never is apologetic about his choices and after a while you could almost agree with him .... a very rich life whichever way you view it
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on 5 January 2017
Great life story of Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery, when there was honour amongst villains. Bruce is obviously an intelligent person, and this book comes across as written with no regrets at all.
An engaging and clever man, and a very good read indeed. Lots of repetition with some of his exploits, and takes till well past halfway in the book to get what we all want to read, The Great Train Robbery.
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on 17 March 2016
A really good read.I was born in 1963,the year of the Great train robbery and therefore it holds some fasination for me.However,Bruce Reynolds did not concentrate his book on just this subject,in fact it played a very small part.He had a long life and he tells his story well in this his autobiogrphy.I really enjoyed hearing his story.I would strongly recommend it.
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on 27 November 2012
Couldn't help but come away from this with anything but much admiration for Reynolds, despite his being the wrong side of the law. There's courage, a keen intelligence, confidence, flair and of course, luck, of both kinds. But perhaps most of all for the integrity and fluency of the writing - which is better than many novels. Reynolds has real ability as a writer, which makes for a thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable book. You won't find any dull passages here. One of the few autobiographies I've read that repays repeated readings and has found a permanent place on my bookshelf. Very highly recommended.
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on 30 June 2014
Written by a self confessed career thief, it makes good reading. He tells you of his upbringing, how he went into a life of crime, riches, fast lifestyle and his involvement in the biggest heist, in history of UK crime, at the time. He tells you of how the gang were recruited and their roles in the robbery, a life on the run, subsequent arrest and his life during incarceration. Notoriety for his leadership role followed him for life and his love of a good Cigar before "Doing a job"
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on 24 March 2014
Quite factual and detailed account of his younger days when he got into crime. Strikes me as a Walter Mitty character and you have to decide what is actually true and what is not. The guy spent an absolute fortune on cars so there is little to doubt why his money ran out....that is if the cars he bought were genuinely purchased. An OK book i suppose.
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on 3 November 2012
Autobiographies are common place but few are told with such eloquence and candour. Here you experience the exhilaration of each job, the glamour of his lifestyle followed by the heavy price paid in term of loss of liberty for so many years. At no point does Bruce Reynolds ask for sympathy and accepts that he is a villain through and through. His story proves crime does not pay.
The only question the book does not answer is that if he can produce work of this standard, why he did not pursue a career as a professional writer when he so clearly has the talent to do so.
3 people found this helpful
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on 22 December 2017
Christmas present
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