King's Cross Kid: A Childhood Between the Wars

Overview

Ninety-three-year-old Victor Gregg has had a rich and fascinating life. King's Cross Kid follows his London childhood from the age of five, when life was so hard that the Salvation Army arranged for young Vic to be taken to the Shaftesbury Home for Destitute Children. Home again a year later, the scallywag years of late childhood began. Then, after the years of street gangs and run-ins with the law, Vic leaves school at fourteen and his real adventures start, and with them a working-class apprenticeship in ...

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Overview

Ninety-three-year-old Victor Gregg has had a rich and fascinating life. King's Cross Kid follows his London childhood from the age of five, when life was so hard that the Salvation Army arranged for young Vic to be taken to the Shaftesbury Home for Destitute Children. Home again a year later, the scallywag years of late childhood began. Then, after the years of street gangs and run-ins with the law, Vic leaves school at fourteen and his real adventures start, and with them a working-class apprenticeship in survival. Ending with his enlistment in the army on the day of his eighteenth birthday, this prequel to the bestselling Rifleman will appeal to the many readers who were charmed by Victor Gregg's engaging, honest and warm voice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Evocative, detailed and unsentimental–gets us wonderfully close-up to the London of the 1930s viewed through the unblinking eyes of a working-class boy relishing every new experience." —David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain

 

"An urchin’s story that does for London what The Road to Nab End did for Lancashire . . . a vivid recreation of a street life of poverty and insecurity richly infused with great warmth, mischief and humour." —Juliet Gardiner, author of The Thirties: An Intimate History

 

"Vic’s honesty and warmth shine through this engaging story." —Choice Magazine

 

"Intensely moving." —Juliet Gardner, Mail on Sunday  

 

"A gripping life-story: an incident-packed account of heartache, violence and cunning by a man whose will to survive and unbreakable optimism are a true inspiration." —Independent on Rifleman  

 

"Completely fascinating . . . It has an immediate power throughout that makes war fiction a pale shadow of the real thing." —Conn Iggulden

 

"Second World War memoirs are commonplace, but very few soldiers had Victor Gregg's breadth and depth of experience . . . Rifleman is an outstanding book that deserves to become a classic." —Lloyd Clark, author of Arnhem

 

"As action-packed as any fiction, and yet this is no novel . . . His is truly an astonishing story." —James Holland, author of The Battle of Britain and Fortress Malta  

 

"Quite simply, it is one of the best first-hand accounts by a combat infantryman that I have read . . . This gripping book immediately joins a select band of the best soldiers' stories told from the sharp end. It is a classic." —Gary Sheffield, Mail on Sunday  

 

"His coldly factual account of the torments of its burned-to-death victims exceeds in power even Kurt Vonnegut's famous fictional account, Slaughterhouse Five . . . Warrior Gregg has seen and experienced the stuff of nightmares, but remains a chirpy optimist in his 90s." —Daily Mirror

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781408840511
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/23/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Gregg was born in London in 1919 and joined the army in 1937, serving first in the Rifle Brigade in Palestine and North Africa, notably at the Battle of Alamein, and then with the Parachute Regiment, at the Battle of Arnhem. As a prisoner of war he survived the bombing of Dresden to be repatriated in 1946, and now lives in Winchester. The story of his adult years, Rifleman: A Front-line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall, also co-written with Rick Stroud, was published by Bloomsbury in 2011.

Rick Stroud is a writer and film director. As well as working with Vic Gregg on Rifleman he is the author of The Book of the Moon and The Phantom Army of Alamein: How the Camouflage Unit and Operation Bertram Hoodwinked Rommel. He lives in London.

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