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Friday, 5 February 2010

John Pearson 'The Profession of Violence - The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins'

When I first came to the UK in 1993 I moved to East London (Walthamstow) and lived in the area (Walthamstow and Leytonstone) for the next 10 years. In October 2000 I saw the burial procession of Reggie Kray through Walthamstow. As I am not native to the area, I didn't really know anything about the Kray brothers, so when I saw this book in a charity shop I thought it would be good to 'educate' myself on those two. I like to read 'real-life- crime stories in general.

The Kray twins were 'the original East End villains', ruling London's East End of the 1950's and 60's . Born in 1933 in Hoxton, East London, from an early age, they were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including torture and finally, murders. The book outlines their early life including information on their parents and grandparents and their rise through the ranks of the criminals of London's East End. There were many things I didn't know - not having read a lot about them before - e.g. that Ronnie suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, Ronnie being gay which he was apparently quite open about and despite general hostility in society towars gays at the time, he was accepted within the criminal world as such.  

The book very much keeps to the facts without being judgemental, which I prefer in 'real-life' crime books, thus completely overcoming the devide opinion about the Kray twins - vicious villans or glamourous gangsters.


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