* Prices may differ from that shownMore Offers
I'd heard a lot about Charles Bronson over the years, the man they say who'll never get released, the hostage taker, the roof destroyer, the strong man, the unhinged monster etc. So, I decided that if I read his book, that I might once having heard his side of the story, be able to better understand this legendary inmate of Her Majesty's Prison Service and form a more balanced opinion.
This is the beauty of books - a man who spends almost every waking hour without any human contact has been allowed to reach out beyond his 'Hannibal Cage' and tell his side of the story.
His story is both mindlessly violent and hugely heart touching. The violence he's caused is often inexplicable and always frequent, and the touching side comes from the glimpses of Charles Bronson (real name Micheal Peterson) we get as human being communicating his feelings in this book. The punishment sentence he receives for his crimes commited both prior to and whilst in prison is arguably just - you do the crime, you do the time. However, some of the methods employed by the prison service in dealing out this punishment are heartbreaking to read - he's been subjected to controlling drug experiments, beatings, living in a cage, chained up naked in a body manacle, moved over a hundred times with no prior warning (which disrupts and prevents his access to visitors) and has spent years of his life with no natural daylight or fresh air. All this in 'modern Britain'. Is to treat a man who has never committed the sin of murder or sex crimes in this way congruent with a so-called civilised society?
I admit to thinking that he is his own worst enemy with his violent episodes of hitting guards, destroying roof tops and smacking other prisoners, but after reading his book, I also now wonder how much the way he is treated by the prison service has contributed to his crusade to violently fight the system.
A very thought provoking book which has challenged my preconceptions of the author. It may surprise those whose opinions of Charles Bronson have only been formed by reading the sensationalistic tabloid press coverage of his antics to hear that there are many, often surprising, sides to this enigmatic hard man. He draws sketch cartoons (which have won him awards), has set records for feats of physical endurance and has completed many charity fund raising press up challenges to raise money for childrens' hospices.
Perhaps if I had never read his autobiography, this notoriously intriguing man would have remained labelled in my mind as a monster. He may be treated as a monster whilst serving time for his crimes - indeed many of these crimes are deemed as monstrous, but would a true monster have the compassion to raise money for those less fortunate than himself?
This book is written with some very colourful language when describing people. If he thinks highly of someone, he gushes with articulate praise, and when someone crosses his path, he will be equally as colourfull with his choice of words. The 'f' and 'c' words are liberally spat out in his dialogue - be warned!
He writes of the highs and lows during his time behind bars with frankness and he often admits to crying during the low times. I found this book to be fascinating, and I'd say that it will probably alter your views about the man labelled as Britain's most dangerous prisoner. After reading this book, I feel I have now glimpsed the other side of the tabloid influenced laden coin which is frequently tossed against his favour, where perhaps others would receive more of a 'best of three' approach in judgement.
Five out of five stars, thanks for reading.