Reviews and Comments relating to some of Peter St John's "Gang" books
Gang Territory (Paperback)
Review by Helen Hollick http://www.helenhollick.net/ 4 June 2008
“A rare find – darn good book!
Gang Territory was a pleasure to read – I was hooked from the first paragraph. This is a story that will delight boys of any
age from 8 – 80! One of the few stories set in war time Britain that I have actually enjoyed because it created a sense of
reality. Gang Territory is about a real boy doing real things in a world that was very real!
Every school library must have a copy – and anyone who was evacuated during the war or
wants to know just what it was like being a young boy (or girl!) from 1940 – 1945 will love this
Hooray, there is a second one in the series too (Gang Warfare) and a third one on the way!
Well done Peter St John – a fantastic read.
**** four stars.”
Review by Katherine Ashe http://wwwlongview.blogspot.com/ 14 November 2012
“World War II and the bombing of London brought about the displacement of multitudes of children. We see photos of
them, wan, frightened as they’re herded onto trains bound for the safer countryside or they’re led away by the firm grip of
strangers’ hands. But what happened to them after that, when they arrived at their unfamiliar destinations?
Peter St. John’s autobiographically inspired story of a boy from a destroyed London orphanage gives us an insight. An
insight not only into the new hazards such children faced, but into the noble code of boyhood, a code that forbade
complaining when one was abused and that produced a degree of self-reliance that would serve well in later years –
provided the noble spirited little lad survived.
As in a medieval romance, the hero’s name is never revealed to the reader. We will call him Boy. Boy arrives in the rural
village of Widdlington which is scant of indoor plumbing but rich in gangs of children. Every street has its own gang who
guard their territory from intruders. And an intruder is any other child who does not live on that street. This of course
makes life exceedingly difficult for Boy, whose aunt and guardian seems oblivious to the juvenile culture surrounding her,
for she makes a habit of sending him on errands where his very life depends upon his ingenuity in getting to his goal and
back home again unobserved.
There may be individuals as completely lacking in humane feeling as this aunt, so completely focused on a sense of being
put upon, so resentful of a young boy, and so determined to gain every instant of advantage from the unwanted presence
of a child, as to resemble a slave driver with a savage tongue in place of whip. When the aunt seems to relent at sight of