UNDERBELLY, THE GANGLAND WAR - John Silvester and Andrew Rule

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

UNDERBELLY - THE GANGLAND WAR is probably a compilation book of a lot of the sections previously covered in the earlier Underbelly books by journalists Silvester and Rule.  The book, interestingly, is freely available and openly publicised in Victoria - the state where the TV show Underbelly is banned from airing on TV here.  I've no idea what that says about the way that the Supreme Court ban worked, but the book is going to be some way of a consolation to those who are keen to see the TV show.

The book takes you back through the majority of the murders and lunacy that is / was Melbourne's Underworld war.  The style is typically laconic and frankly laugh out loud at points - which makes you feel just a bit odd really.  These guys were killing their way to the top and you can't help thinking about Chopper Read's defense that he only ever killed bad guys.  Still, it's an interesting stroll through the alternative side of Melbourne and it's certainly extremely entertaining.

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First he got lucky.

Then he got life.

They called Carl Williams 'The Truth' but the truth was he was just a fat kid with a pill press and a taste for fast food, fast women and fast bucks.  He got lucky the day Jason Moran shot him in the belly instead of in the head.  Carl didn't return the favour:  one by one, Moran and his brother and father and their mates were shot dead during an underworld war that was really an extermination program.

But Carl's luck ran out when the Purana Taskforce came calling  He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years.  And that's the truth.

This is Australia's underbelly ... bullet holes and all.

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