The Cult of violence: the untold story of the Krays by John Pearson. Published by Orion 2003. Hardback with dust jacket. Page edges are browned at edges with some marks. Clean and tight interior.
John Pearson knows more about the Krays than anyone alive. The Krays film was based on the book and it was Pearson who exposed the Boothby connection in 1994. In 1967, the year before they were arrested, the twins asked Pearson to write their biography. He remained a confidant of the family and the brothers throughout their trial and prison years. Reg was in prison for 33 years although the judge recommended 30 years and was only released when he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and given weeks to live. Using the trail as the fulcrum for the narrative, Pearson, in this completely new book, will revisit the twins criminal past, including a raft of new material hitherto unpublished. The trial will be re-examined (he still has contact with the living trial lawyers) and he will look at their time in gaol (including Ronnie's bizarre life in Broadmore) and examine what it is about the Krays which, at the time and over the next thirty years, made them 'criminal celebrities'. On the one hand they were pursued by a fascinated media who wanted to re-create these two brutal murderers as folk heroes, and on the other they were demonised by an establishment ashamed of the way it had embraced them. Pearson will examine just why successive Home Secretaries found it too unpalatable to release the twins when so many other less well-known, but possibly more unsavoury murderers and criminals, were released after serving a fraction of their time. This is a timely book and, with Reg's death, Pearson is now at liberty to tell the whole amazing, fascinating story.