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Better to Reign in Hell: Inside the Raiders Fan Empire Hardcover – September 15, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

[B]eyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and whackos ever assembled in such numbers under a single "roof," so to speak, anywhere in the English-speaking world.

About the Author

Jim Miller is a professor of English at San Diego City College.


Kelly Mayhew is a professor in the English department and honors program at San Diego City College. She is a co-author, with Mike Davis and Jim Miller, of Under the Perfect Sun (The New Press) and, with Jim Miller, of Better to Reign in Hell (The New Press). She and Alys Masek co-edited Mamas and Papas. She lives in San Diego.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156584890X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565848900
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,812,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Whether you loathe or love the Raiders, you'll enjoy and learn from Miller and Mayhew's insightful book about the Raiders fan empire. Although the writers are decidedly and unabashedly Raiders fans themselves, they paint an incredibly well-rounded picture of Raiders fans. They interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic strata, in all kinds of places -- training camps, pubs, sports bars, tailgate parties, the games themselves in Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Diego -- to garner the diverse opinions of the Raiders. We learn that the fan base is amazingly ubiquitous, with fans from the U.S. to Poland, Costa Rica, and South Africa. I especially admire the way the writers juxtapose diametrically opposing views of the Raiders. For instance, in the "Raiders Rage" chapter, Michele Clark, director of a nonprofit organization in Oakland, describes how she hates the Raiders and what they represent to the youth she tries to help. However, on the next page we read how one of her coworkers, Mark Henderson, a family man, loves the Raiders. Ultimtely, though, this book is not about sports; it's about people. Miller and Mayhew's deep concern for the working-class people comes out in the chapter that describes the city of Oakland and its changing demographics over the decades. There is a wonderful chapter about the women fans: "Real Women Wear Black." There are many interesting tidbits. (Did you know that the rugged eye-patched man in the Raiders logo was modeled after Western actor Randolph Scott?) Miller's "ten ways to avoid being pummeled by an angry Raiders fan" in the "Just Lose, Baby" chapter is hilarious.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The interviews of various fans are really interesting. The problem is, the author shoe-horns his politics into the narrative at every opportunity. If you take a look at his photo on the back dust jacket cover, he's wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt with the Raiders logo on the beret. Sure, it's a Raiders-themed shirt, but it gives you some indication of where this gentleman's sympathies are.

I don't even care that the guy is a raging leftist progressive. It'd be a sad person who consumed or didn't consume media on the basis of political litmus tests applied to the produces of content. The problem is the constantly bringing it up throughout the book, and trying to tie it into the Raiders fanbase. Does your hate of Rush Limbaugh or your tearing up a Schwarzenegger flier after you receive it really need to be included in a book about the Raiders? Combined with the sometimes dense academic language relating to social phenomena, this reads at times like a masters thesis which was expanded into a full-length book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book sounded very interesting at first. I am a die hard Raiders fan and was looking for a new book. The book begins okay but I soon lost interest since every chapter is about the same experiences of the author. I did not even finish reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book covers about every aspect of Raider fandom possible and goes well past that starting point. He gets into all aspects "Ray-duh" esp. the whole Al Davis cult of personality. As a lapsed Raider fan (get rid of Mt. Davis and I still say Gannon was a Chiefs' plant guaranteed to implode on that Uber Bore stage), I learned so much about Raider Nation, the costumed vs. the non-costumed fans, the working class and "gang" connections associated with the Black Hole.

I had no idea the San Diego game every year was basically such a big deal fan-wise. I also found his look at Raider Web sites and the whole history of the Raiders' relationship with the East Bay and inner-city Oakland elevated this book past football into the realm of an anthropological study better than most I've read on fandom.

The authors also were clued into the differences between real hooliganism (i.e., Heysel 1985 when Liverpool soccer supporters went nuts) and the Raider post-Ooper Bowl riot and other assorted fights that have occurred in the past at raider games. Good research on the infamous Steeler fan fight at the LA Coliseum debunking the whole LA gang myth behind Raider fans.

I'd give this book a "5" if there wasn't so much on Al Davis and the political aspects. My eyes kind of glazed over a bit on a lot of those sections. Not saying it's not readable and worthy of inclusion. Just did not really want to read anymore of it after I got through the first bits on Davis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for my father, a die-hard Raider fan. He really enjoyed the stories and pictures in the book--it brought some levity to a disaster of a season. As one currently studying English literature, I enjoyed the references to Milton and also the philosophical discussions of the Raider fans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a Raider fan, you're sure to enjoy this very well-written book (even an objective Raider-hater, with a passion for football history/culture should be able to enjoy it). Jim Miller relates his following of the 2003 Raiders' season in an entertaining fashion and intersperses the book with interesting interviews of numerous Raider fans. The book serves to remind me of what a diverse bunch us Raiders fans are and additionally how committed and loyal we are to our team. Just a few of many reasons why I'm proud to bleed the Silver and Black! Thanks Jim.
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