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Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania Audio CD – Unabridged, Audiobook

103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

St. John, a New York Times reporter and native Alabaman, explores the nature of extreme sports fandom in this compelling and funny audiobook. Over the course of five months, St. John follows the University of Alabama's football team in his own RV and connects with the "RV culture," fans for whom game day is simply the focal point of a celebration that can last for days. Some of the fans he encounters are indeed extreme—like the couple that skipped their daughter's wedding because it took place on game day, or the man who risks having his name taken off a heart transplant list, declaring "If I can't go to Alabama football games, what's the point in living?" But St. John's focus is less on these eccentric characters than on the general culture, in which football fetishism has been completely integrated into everyday life. St. John has a pronounced lisp, which is jarring at first, but it quickly becomes endearing. And while his character voices all sound like variations on the loud-dumb-Southern-guy theme, he approaches his narration with the gusto and enthusiasm of a fervent fan, which succeeds in getting listeners into the spirit of this fun, insightful tale.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - With the intent of investigating hard-core "fandom" in all its extreme manifestations, St. John, an Alabama native and lifelong fan of the Crimson Tide, spent a season commingling with those who trail this college football team from stadium to stadium. He purchased a motor home and joined the dedicated crowd that often arrived for the Saturday game on Wednesday, jamming the roadways of the host town and jockeying for prime parking in lots where they quickly deployed all of the amenities of ongoing tailgate parties. The narrative is lively and entertaining, punctuated by rich regional speech patterns and sports-related profanity. A modest amount of space is devoted to analyzing fan moods/behaviors from a sociological standpoint (why fandom "is as much about opposing as advocating"), but the greater portion of the book consists of memorably drawn portraits of the regulars in the crowd, including a couple who skipped their daughter's wedding because it conflicted with a game. The coach, the team, their stats, and headline-generating plays are certainly on scene, but it is the fan action that St. John captures with empathy and wit. - Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739315765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739315767
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.5 x 4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,333,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Warren St. John is the author of the national bestsellers "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania" and "Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference." A former reporter for the New York Times, he has also written extensively for The New Yorker, the New York Observer, and Wired. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, attended Columbia University and now lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By D. Keith on August 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a writer myself, I admit I was a bit concerned when I first met Warren St. John in the RV lot before one of the games he tells about in this book. Concerned on two accounts.

First worry: He seemed to be a nice enough fellow, but he did work for the NY Times. That's the way he was invariably introduced to everyone in the lot, sort of like politely pointing out a slightly addled third cousin at a family reunion. I assumed he would come at us serious college football fans (read: "crazy as a loon") from the usual perspective. You know: rubes bearing rolls of toilet paper and a Tide detergent box impaled on a "plumber's friend." screaming crimson-tinged obscenities at anyone ignorant enough to root for anybody else.

Either that or, coming from where he did, he would miss the whole point, that these folks may act a bit peculiar when they pull their RVs into the Law Library lot on Wednesday before a Saturday game, but they are mostly salt-of-the-earth types, people you are proud to have in your army, just like millions of other folks who color their lives in pursuit of pastimes or allegiances that seem absolutely goofy to most of the rest of us right-thinking intellectuals. Certainly no different from rabid Red Sox or Cubs fans, the Dawg Pound in Cleveland or the crazies who show up for Raider games. Just different in the color of our face-paint and the poetry of our cheers. Our poison just happens to be 18-year-old young men on a college football field who proudly sweat and bleed while wearing our school colors. Not pro football, international soccer or widget collecting.

But then, it turns out that St. John is one of us. He understands.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen C. Rubin on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First, I have to confess that I have absolutely no interest in any kind of sports, especially college football -- but I read this hilarious and fascinating book in one day. I loved St. John's account of careening through the South in his R.V., with accounts of his conversations with other fans, the logistics of cadging the tickets, the etiquette of the tailgates and trailer lots, the traditions and superstitions surrounding what to wear to the games. St. John is a true fan himself, and a Southerner, so the book doesn't have an annoying snarky tone; he's part of what he describes.

Tom Wolfe provides a blurb for the book, and it is truly Wolfe-ian in its inclusion of the precise details that give an intense sub-culture its vitality.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By WY on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a lifelong Alabama fan, I, too, have experienced the thrill of great victories and numerous championships and also suffered the agony of many recent defeats while living in far-away (from 'Bama) places, Also, as a publisher of a fan website ([...]) devoted to the thousands of passionate fans that Warren St. John describes, I empathize with Warren St. John's outstanding depiction of what it is like to be a true fan of the Crimson Tide.

Rammer Jammer is a great read for not just Alabama fans, but for any true fans of any team where passion is displayed on a large scale. St. John's story of the picture he had taken with legendary Alabama coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant, is one that little boys our age in Alabama grew up dreaming about.

St. John's book should be required reading at tailgates across the nation.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Bice on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a participant in the story, I was a little nervous about how it would appear in print. No problem there. I enjoyed reading Warren's take on all of the personalities he encountered. His up and down moods through the games were a sight to see. He captured the feelings perfectly. I have recommended the book to friends that know nothing about Alabama football. They all look forward to reading about the mystique of those of us who follow Dixie's Football Pride.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Kwashnak VINE VOICE on December 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What makes rational (or seemingly rational) people to put part of one life on hold during the fall to follow another life on the road RVing across the south following "their" football team? I don't know if you will come away from St. John's book knowing the answer, but you'll have a great trip along the way. There are sports fans in the world, and there are college football fans, but the southern college fan is a breed all unto itself. Life in the fall takes on a new dimension following teams to their weekly Saturday matches. The author's journey begins with the story of a couple who missed their own daughter's wedding because it conflicted with an Alabama Football game (they made the reception). And with that story the door is opened to world of colorful characters, each expressing his or her devotion to 'Bama football in their own way, but while each story is unique, they all make up the sea of red to be seen in Bryant-Denny Stadium on those glorious Saturdays. The book is an enjoyable armchair ride in the tradition of the best travel writing of Bryson and others. It looks at how deep the legacy of Paul "Bear" Bryant runs to this day, over two decades since he coached his last Alabama football game. The book is a portal into a world most of us see at a distance at best. Roll Tide!
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