Underworld London: Book Review

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So, I haven’t been the best at reading a lot of books this year – I honestly don’t have time! To do something about this, I took this book to Budapest with me. I read it all the way there, at any moment we sat while I was there and then all the way back. I had a couple of pages left that I have just read now and I can honestly say that I have finished it! Woop Woop!

It isn’t my usual type of book and if you read my ‘Books and Such’ reviews, you’ll know that I am a bit of a fan of anything slushy with an unrealistic romantic storyline where the first man and woman introduced in the story end up together after a lot of drama and involvement of other characters. Needless to say, I had got a bit fed up with reading these sorts of books and I wasn’t really enjoying them anymore. I decided to buy this book the week it came out (some time ago now) and put it away. This is the first book I have ever bought that has been actually bought first, all my others have been second hand or my sister’s.

I found it really interesting. It starts off with the gallows and the horrific punishments that took place for peoples’ enjoyment and amusement. Talking about torture techniques, the Tower of London and the Den of Thieves. I was hooked! I want to make it clear that I am not a strange sort of psychopathic person interested in Crime and Punishment through the ages, but I did find it almost unbelievably interesting. I continued to read through to learn about Highway robberies, The Black Parade and Scotland Yard. It has to be noted though, my absolute favourite chapters were those based around Victorian times, with Jack the Ripper, murderous maids, executions, killers and gangs! It was fascinating and I loved that I was given actual names of real people’s cases. Like, those things actually happened. Ones that stick in my mind are the one where bodies were found in the walls of a house in Notting Hill, the body buried under the kitchen floor, and the one who boiled her victims… Sooooo gross, but so good not to read.

The book then finishes with the evolution on gangs and where they originated. Among some of them, the Krays, the Italians, the Jewish and the Irish all fought against each other daily on the streets of the East End. It was not until later that ‘postcode’ gangs were actually more dangerous, with children doing the shootings and with the weapons getting more advanced.

I am actually a bit sad that I’ve finished this book because I feel like I’ve learnt so much! I feel like when it’s so detailed and so unthinkable that these things actually happened, it makes it all the more interesting and makes you all the more eager to read read on. I would give this book 10 out of 10! Purely because I’ve learnt some much, it was easy to read and because I surprised myself with how much I wanted to carry on reading, regardless of the gruesome facts and almost sickening crimes that were committed. Go and get it!!!

Peace and love, Polly May xx

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