24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Worthy Read!,
This review is from: Among the Thugs (Paperback)
When my friend recommended this book, I was skeptical. I didn't believe an American journalist could successfully infiltrate a gang of European football hooligans. I was introduced to the notoriety of hooligans when I attended a match in Turkey. There I witnessed 200 soldiers armed with assault rifles and riot gear, lined up behind the goalie. This severity made me believe what I'd heard about fans ending up trampled, stabbed, beaten, and killed in the aftermath of a match.
Starting with a few lukewarm leads, Bill Buford, a true journalist, is relentless. He transports the reader to England, Germany, and Italy as he tries to understand what fuels hooligans. You experience the helplessness of being caught in a body-crushing crowd, being ambushed by the brutal mobs after the match, and riding the fan-crammed trains. His characterizations are so vivid, you can almost smell the charged atmosphere in the streets and in the stadiums.
This book is about violence. The descriptions are fierce and don't let up. The history behind the European football fury is discussed. Even if you aren't a fan of football (better known to Americans as soccer), this book is an excellent read on the sociology of mob mentality. You become aware of what propels crowd violence and its devastating effects on the victim, whose only blunder might be unfortunate proximity and timing.