Advantages: A valuable insight into the mind of the Glasgow criminal
Disadvantages: None really.
There must be a million and nine auto/biographies out there of Glasgow gangsters!
What makes this one any different from the rest. Well nothing really, although it is different, we do, after all, have our own story to tell.
Paul Ferris comes across in this book as an intelligent and well-educated chap. Despite growing up in one of the more deprived areas of Glasgow, the local Secondary School, it seems, was very well run and provided a high standard of education. So why would a boy who has been well educated end up in a life of crime.
It would seem Paul Ferris witnessed bullying as a child. He witnessed men (albeit known criminals) being taken into the back of police vans and brutally beaten - whether or not this can be justified because they are criminals is it right? Ferris himself was bullied by his peers.
Perhaps his sense of dignity for others instilled a certain motive in him. Perhaps the bullying he received tipped him over the edge and forced him to revenge. Perhaps he got a taste for blood.
Either way he witnessed the wrong doings of the police and 'real' criminals. It is easy to think while reading this book that his entry into crime was borne out of some sort of vengeance for wrongdoing.
Throughout the book the close relationship between the criminal and the police is at the forefront. this relationship, if what is said in the book is true, is too close for comfort.
There is a none-too-light impression that certain elements within the police force are the puppets of the gangster and the criminal.
The book is essentially written in two voices. That of Ferris himself and that of Reg McKay, a former social worker.
As well as being auto/biographical, the book bleeds a fair degree of sociological insight.
A recommended read, about 250 pages so should be good value. Currently available on http://uk.ebid.net/
See here for a copy