Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Boys are Back in Town - QSG book reviewed

The Quality Street Gang is part myth, part untold story of street legends. Who was in the QSG and who owe their respectable fortune to such early adventures is still the subject of rumour and conjecture.

This books is a welcome addition to the narrative of Manchester's colourful social history. That shouldn't be seen as an endorsement of what they got up to, or even that Jimmy Donnelly comes across as a nice guy, because he doesn't really. But it has some good insights, even if a lot has been left out.

The style of the narrative has a good pace to it, the stories are well told. That doesn't come as a surprise given it's been written and edited by Peter Walsh, author of the authority on Manchester gangs, Gang Wars.

I always maintain an understanding of the criminal margins of society give a valuable insight into how social order is kept.

In all the time I've been the editor of Insider I've always kept an eye on the "alternative business networks". It's surprising how often they touch the mainstream - the clearest account in this book is the tale of Kevin Taylor, the man who was accused of corrupting former deputy chief constable John Stalker. All nonsense, as it turned out. But Donnelly then tells another tale. His next door neighbour in Manchester was chief constable Michael Todd, who asked for help from Donnelly when his case was robbed. Bizarre.

The extract from Insider is here.

The Milo books site is here.

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