Book Review | The Bandido Massacre by Peter Edwards
Title: The Bandido Massacre: A True Story of Bikers, Brotherhood and Betrayal
Author: Peter Edwards
Until a few years ago, I had never read anything about the Hell’s Angels or any other motorcycle gangs. I knew they existed, but really knew nothing about them other than what I saw on the news. After reading a book on the history of the Hell’s Angels, however, I was fascinated by the inner-workings of motorcycle gangs. Around that same time, I saw the first of many news story about the Bandido’s motorcycle gang and a mass murder of its members that had taken place – I knew very little but remember being shocked about this mass murder in a small community because it seems to stand so contrary to the concept of biker brotherhood as I understood it. Therefore, when I had the chance to read The Bandido Massacre: A True Story of Bikers, Brotherhood and Betrayal, by Peter Edwards, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this story and find how how these events ending up taking place.
The book begins with a list of people involved in the story and background on each one, which provides a backdrop for the reader because, like many stories, there are a lot of players in this one! The book then provides a great deal of history about various motorcycle gangs in Canada, how they connected with one another and how many of them switched from one group to another. While I must admit that, at times, all this history was a bit overwhelming (who knew the history of motorcycle gangs in Canada was so complicated?), it did make it (relatively) easier to understand how infighting developed within the Bandidos club.
The comment by Peter Edwards that sticks out in my mind is his reference to this book as a “why-dunnit?”. He points out that the “who-dunnit” aspect of the Bandidos massacre is easy enough to explain, but that the focal point of the book is they “why-dunnit?” element – why would this group of men slaughter eight members of their own gang? When I watched the news stories, that was the question I remember mulling over – to me, as an outsider, it made no sense for motorcycle gang members to kill members of their gang.
While nothing can truly explain why people who commit such horrific crimes, Edwards dissection and analysis of the Bandidos, their history and the complicated relationships that existed between them, does provide another perspective on this mass murder. Edwards does an excellent job of protraying the character of the various individuals involved and personalizing the murder victims.
As much as I was intrigued by the story of the events leading up to the murders, I was really drawn into Edwards’ discussion about the trial itself. I enjoyed how Edwards outlined the testimony and information presented in the trial while simultaneously colouring it with his own reflections of how the family members, lawyers and defendants reacted as various testimonies took place. Edwards truly painted a picture of the trial itself which I found engaging.
Finally, I think it is important to note that Edwards’ background as a reporter lends credibility to this book as he provides references for many of the quotes and explanations of events as well as a bibliography of his sources. There are also many photos in the book that allow the reader to put a face to many of the inviduals in this story.
Though some people might find the story disturbing, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Bandidos mass murder and gaining an understanding of how it happened. It would also be an excellent book for anyone intested in the “true crime” genre. Personally, I was drawn into the intricacies of the relationships between the members and captivated with this book to the end!
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*I received no monetary compensation for this review. I received a free copy of the book courtesy of Harper Collins Canada to read and provide an honest review of its contents. The opinions are entirely my own and may not reflect your own opinion upon reading the book.*