- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679745351
- ISBN-13: 978-0679745358
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 132 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Among the Thugs Reprint Edition
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“A grotesque, horrifying, repellent and gorgeous book; A Clockwork Orange come to life.” —John Gregory Dunne
"An important, perhaps prophetic, book ... both exciting and sad at the core.... [Buford is] a superbly talented reporter." —The New York Times Book Review
"Brilliant ... one of the most unnerving books you will ever read." —Newsweek
Like Michael Herr or Ryszard Kapuscinski, Buford has witnessed events which can only be compared in intensity to those of a war ... an unflinching look into the festering soul of England ... a fuckin' great read." —David Byrne
Animated, witty, and so pungent you can taste the stale lager." —Washington Post Book World
From the Inside Flap
They have names like Barmy Bernie, Daft Donald, and Steamin' Sammy. They like lager (in huge quantities), the Queen, football clubs (especially Manchester United), and themselves. Their dislike encompasses the rest of the known universe, and England's soccer thugs express it in ways that range from mere vandalism to riots that terrorize entire cities. Now Bill Buford, editor of the prestigious journal Granta, enters this alternate society and records both its savageries and its sinister allure with the social imagination of a George Orwell and the raw personal engagement of a Hunter Thompson.
Top customer reviews
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The book is humorous and fascinating and tragic at the same time.
I will not try to repeat the thoughts of the other reviewers, but I will point out what I consider the most noteworthy aspect of the story. As Buford got sucked further into the world of soccer, he found himself attracted to the lure of the herd mentality. He briefly took pride when the thug leaders included him in their plans and activities. He found himself acting more antisocial at home after being in the ruckus at a soccer match. He could feel the entire stadium breathing and gasping as one due to the cramped conditions.
This book provides more than simply Buford's observations of soccer violence. We see also Buford's own journey into and out of the world of the thugs as he tried to put it all into context. This book is essential for anyone who cares to understand mass movements and the motivations for so much of our behavior, regardless of whether one cares about soccer.
If you are not sure that you would enjoy a book that involves soccer, first try watching any one of the online documentaries about any soccer riot/tragedy over the past forty years. It is very easy to get up to speed.
I am in awe of his bravery and his foolishness.
As I write this, weeks of "protests" against police brutality having been going on in nearby cities. They start out as peaceful marches, and then eventually result in blocked freeways, destroyed property, and looting. The narrative is always that a few bad apples have coopted the protests and used them for cover to commit crimes.
But now, having read this book, I wonder, is that really what is happening?
Buford discovers something amazing: Being part of a lawless crowd is a high better than most drugs, an intensely euphoric experience.
And, beyond that, there really is not much more in the way of meaning or explanation for what a violent crowd does.
Buford, in addition to being nuts, is a supremely talented writer. I found myself being entertained and appalled by his descriptions, and I liked how he structured his book.
It is a great book, and I don't know that anyone else could or would have written anything like it.
Content-wise, it's an excellent view into England's hooligan culture, as well as English national pride and regional association. There is also some interesting material on the skinhead movement and the National Front.