Thursday, August 08, 2019

Top ten true crime books (UK edition)

Duncan Campbell has been writing about crime for nearly half a century. He was the crime correspondent of the Guardian and chairman of the Crime Reporters’ Association. He has written extensively on the subject of crime for various publications, including Guardian, Observer, Esquire, New Statesman, London Review of Books, Radio Times and Oldie.

His books on crime include: That Was Business, This Is Personal; A Stranger and Afraid; If It Bleeds; We’ll All Be Murdered in Our Beds! The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain; and Underworld: The Definitive History of Britain’s Organised Crime.

At the Guardian he tagged ten (UK centric) examples of the "best writing by and about criminals and cops, villains and victims," including:
A Sense of Freedom by Jimmy Boyle and Redeemable by Erwin James

I’m cheating here and naming two books because they both deal with redemption. The former is a very powerful account by the Glasgow-hardman-turned-acclaimed-artist of his time in Barlinnie prison. Erwin James, who was jailed for life for two murders in 1984, is a writer who needs no introduction to Guardian readers, who will recall the articles on prison life he wrote for the paper during his 20 years inside. When Redeemable came out, I wrote that it was “one of the most powerful and touching books on crime and punishment I have ever read … It should be on the bedside table of every Home Office minister and anyone involved in the criminal justice system.” I stick by that.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue