Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Book Review: Gangs: A Journey into the Heart of the British Underworld by Tony Thompson

It occurred to me that I should begin to review some of the books and texts that had the most impact on me in my effort to learn more about the world around me.  The reviews should post about once a twice a month.  Many of the reviews will be from notes I took at the time I read the books and I have expanded where relevant.

Gangs by Tony Thompson

Published 2005 / Topic: organised crime, gangs, human trafficking

Gangs cover This book is absolutely phenomenal. It reads like the Sunday papers, but you won't put these papers down until you've finished.

In Gangs, Thompson takes the reader through a fascinating journey of Britain's underworld. There are chapters on armed robbery, human trafficking, kidnapping, drugs syndicates, money laundering, gun running and more.

The most incredible thing is that this is investigative journalism at it's best. It's not some toff sitting behind his desk and speculating. Thompson actually goes in there and meets these people, he goes into prisons and travels to Jamaica, he chats to men who are proud and men who are frightened for their lives, but mostly, he just listens... as is evident by the stories he relays.

If you've ever watched (and enjoyed) Trainspotting, Snatch or Layer Cake, I recommend you read this book. It's as close to the real thing you're going to get. But this is also an absolutely brilliant book that I recommend to anyone who wants to know more about what really goes on in the seedy underworld of organised crime.



  1. Yeah I heard it was awesome. It's just a little difficult around here to get me hands on the book :(

    Still searching...

    Thanks for review Emm..

  2. I can imagine that it would be hard to get hold of there Usha. What a pity! And I have loaned my copy out so I couldn't try send it out ot you.


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