John Blake Publishing has bagged the true story behind Birmingham’s Peaky Blinders by Professor Carl Chinn.
Publishing director for the Bonnier Books UK imprint, Kelly Ellis, acquired all world language rights direct from Chinn. Peaky Blinders: The Real Story will be released on 19th September.
The synopsis explains: “The fictional Peaky Blinders as we know them, are infused with drama and dread. Fashionably dressed, the charismatic but deeply flawed Shelby family blind enemies by slashing them with the disposable safety razor blades stitched in to the peaks of their flat caps. But who were the real Peaky Blinders? And did they really exist?”
One member of the Peaky Blinders was social historian Chinn’s own great grandfather, an illegal bookmaker in 1920s Birmingham's back-streets. Chinn has spent decades researching the gang and the book will shine a light on the city’s struggling working class alongside the Peaky Blinders transformation into the violent Birmingham Gang, led by the real Billy Kimber, and their bloody war with London gangsters. The volume includes rarely-seen images and interviews with relatives of the 1920s gangsters.
Chinn said “The Peaky Blinders of Birmingham legend have become a world-wide sensation but it is vital to understand the realities behind the dramatised gangsters. Real Peaky Blinders were unsavoury, unglamorous and unworthy of respect. Yet reprehensible as they were, they were major figures in late Victorian and Edwardian Birmingham. Ignored or mentioned merely in passing in studies of the city, the Peaky Blinders blighted the lives of scores upon scores of thousands of citizens for a generation and more and tarnished Birmingham’s reputation. Their violent actions are as inextricably bound up with the city and its history as are those of its leading politicians and great manufacturers.”
Ellis added: “Carl is the world’s number one authority on the Peaky Blinders and more broadly the history of Birmingham’s criminal networks. His passion for his work is so infectious – we’re all beyond excited to be publishing this book, which has been a lifetime in the making for its author. With Peaky Blinders’ blood running in his veins, Carl offers fans a truly authentic immersion into the murky, yet often colourful world, of the most ruthless gangs Britain has ever seen.”