Friday, August 19, 2011
Book Review: Wrecking Crew by Caesar Campbell
This review first posted at www.boomerangbooks.com.au.
This was a compulsive read once I had started, unable to put it down. It held an almost horrid fascination like going past the scene of a terrible car accident and just having to have a look.
At times I found myself being oddly drawn to Campbell through his love of and loyalty to first his family then the biker club he was the founding member of in Australia. Then he would casually relate something such as the collection of fingers he used to keep in a jar of formaldehyde as souvenirs of people he had bashed. So I found I was bouncing between grudging respect and shocked exclamations that the man is a complete psychopath.
The book is an eye-opener about the world of the ‘outlaw’ biker. They really do see themselves as a world apart from what is the norm for the rest of us. It also shows how that world began changing in the wake of the Comancheros ambush of the Bandidos at Milperra in 1984, with many members of both clubs in prison for murder and manslaughter. It was no longer the tight little world it had once been.
“When I started out in bikes, you joined a club because you wanted mateship, and you wanted blokes to ride with. And for hardcore blokes like and my brothers, the outlaw bike club was the last place you could go to enjoy that territorial rivalry that went on between clubs. It was like being a Viking or Scotsman highlander. Not that we went around bashing people willy-nilly, but we loved that atmosphere of tension. The feeling that trouble may be just around the corner. ...whenever you were riding through another club’s territory, there was always the thrill that you might get stopped and end up in a punch-up. We fed off that.”
We also see how Campbell was betrayed by another Bandido, bringing an effective end to his time there. As far as he is concerned, Caesar is still on leave of absence from the club (part of their surprisingly rigid code) and therefore is still a Bandido, even though the man Campbell made the agreement with took the details with him to the grave without revealing it to members of the club.
This is not a pretty story. Far from it. Readers will find themselves by turn repulsed, respecting, upset and horrified by the story of Caesar Campbell.