the Kray twins
Photo by David Bailey
Some years ago I read the book Profession of Violence: Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John Pearson. At the time I read a lot of books in true crime literature genre. This and Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing by Lewis E. Lawes are two favourite.
There is something intriguing with the Kray twins who represent another type of organized crime than the mafia in Italy and in the USA. The Kray twins are more raw and primal in their desire to climb the ladder to power. With brute force and insane behavior mixed with street smarts, and to some extent lack of competitors, they ruled the East End during the 50’s and 60’s. The myth has also probably a lot to do the cool slick style portrayed in many of the photos of the Krays, showing them in smart three-piece suits; looking more the part of stars than thugs.
The Krays were the identical twins Reginald “Reggie” Kray (1933 – 2000) and Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (1933 -1995) commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie. The Kray twins were nice guys, though the myth claims the streets of East End never been safer than during the mob rule of the Krays, they were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, torture, murders among other things. In 1968 they were finally arrested and convicted (1969), and sentenced to life imprisonment.
I had more or less forgotten about the Krays until the other day when I found this documentary on youtube.com, it’s a few years old but still interesting and including a lot of people who were either in the gang or were part of bringing them down.
By the way I think that I’ll re read the book again as soon as I find it somewhere in my bookshelves.
The Kray Story Part 1
The Kray Story Part 2
The Kray Story Part 3
The Kray Story Part 4
The Kray Story Part 5