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Book Review: Gang of One by Gary Mulgrew

Gang of One by Gary Mulgrew

Scottish banker Gary Mulgrew was one of the ‘NatWest Three’ who was extradited to America and he was sentenced to three years in one of their toughest jails. This is his memoir of being incarcerated in a gang-infested Texas prison where the only way for him to survive was to become a ‘Gang of One’. This is an extraordinary tale that touches on Gary’s early life in a Glasgow orphanage, his successful career in banking before he found himself in breach of his employment contract (with the public assumption he had stolen millions of dollars) but mostly it is about his time in prison. Gary never feels sorry for himself but instead focuses on surviving his prison term so he can go home to look after his son in England – and also to continue the search for his missing daughter, who his ex-wife has taken.

Gary tells his story with a great deal of honesty and humanity, as well as self-depreciating humour. This is an enthralling, page-turning tale and the reader is with him the entire way, experiencing the claustrophobic mass of bodies and the complete lack of privacy, the terrible gang-related violence, the heat and the boredom – but also the small gestures of kindness and humanity in a place left not in the guard’s hands, but instead in the hands of the competing gangs – the Aryan Brotherhood, the Hispanics, the Blacks and The Natives. A tall, pasty-looking white guy with ginger hair, Gary stands out as the only Scottish prisoner in this place like a neon bulb!

This is a well-written and compelling memoir that I would highly recommend.

#bookreviews #nonfiction

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