Book Review: Ultimate Hard Bastards

Ultimate Hard Bastards is the first book I have read since completing my degree. It’s published by John Blake publishing and written by Kate Kray, wife of the infamous Ronnie Kray. The book is a compilation of interviews, conducted by Kate herself, with a variety of some of Britain’s ‘hard bastards.’ When Kate’s husband, Ronnie, was sent to Broadmoor prison she kept a copy of his address book which resulted in the majority of contacts for her future book. Each interview is presented in the same way with a brief summary and then the interview questions, each the same for each individual. Kate asks questions such as is prison a deterent?, what would have deterred you from a life of crime?, toughest moment? and what makes a tough guy?


It is interesting to hear the thoughts, stories and opinions of some of the familiar, and some not as familiar, ‘faces’ of Britain’s ‘hard men.’ One thing I particularly liked about the layout of the book was that the same questions were put to each individual Kate spoke with, allowing for a comparison as such between their ideas. For instance one thing which was extremely prevalent was the opinion of at least three quarters of the guys featured in the book that capital punishment should be brought back for those who commit offences such as rape or offences towards children. The book also dips into the background of each individual before commencing with the interview questions.

The 497 pages in the book were quick and easy to read and as it is broken down into each of the individuals featured in the book. It is a good book for someone who doesn’t have a great deal of time to read as if I had a spare 20 minutes I would read a couple of sections and it was very easy to put down and pick up again as there is no ‘plot’ as such to keep track of. It is a book based on opinion rather than fact which also contributes to it being a light read.

As many of these books tend to be it can be rather over dramatic in places and, at times, it can feel as though you are reading a fiction book and although I certainly wouldn’t say it is a must read it was enjoyable.


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