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Among the Thugs by Bill Buford
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Among the Thugs

by Bill Buford

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6602014,562 (3.91)9
Recently added bykmdt, Elisabet.Cairo, private library, lexmccall, nicoelston, teresaemu, Matt_B, deHaas, Abek
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This is crowd practice as opposed to crowd theory. I read Buford's Heat long before I read this, and the funny thing is that his tone works so well for both subjects. He's curious, bemused, and slightly detached, but simultaneously watching himself get more immersed in the thing he's studying. Hilarious and lovely when you're reading about chefs and their egos and Italian cuisine, terrifying and fascinating when the topic is the violent power of a crowd. ( )
  lexmccall | Sep 3, 2014 |
Some really striking writing about the experience of watching English football in person, and some of the football supporters as they were when the terraces still existed at the grounds of English football clubs. The handful of sections about the violence are the ones that stay with you, but also very interesting about travellling with British fans in England and Europe. ( )
  Matt_B | Aug 17, 2014 |
Bill Buford, editor of the English literary magazine, Granta, took a leave of absence to spend a year with soccer hooligans. These aimless thugs are the filter Buford uses to examine British society and the demise of it's working class. It contains one of the most harrowing, perceptive first hand accounts of the phsycology of mass violence written. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
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. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
I was interested in this book after seeing it recommended by Ira Glass and reading an excerpt. It is a really good book, a great example of narrative non-fiction. The way the book develops is smooth and logical, as the author peels back layer after layer of football hooligan culture, and investigates the nature of The Crowd. The book is divided into three parts and 10 chapters.

The first part is setting the scene: notes as an observer, and then he is brought into the circle and the crowd. Some of these first chapters I found uncomfortable to read - not because of the horrors described, but because of the author's lack of sympathy. He has been allowed into this circle of upset lads, trusted and confided in, and he repays them by describing them in a condescending light. It is true that their conduct at & after the matches is deplorable, and some of the lads hold very unpleasant and backwards ideas, but if the author could not offer them sympathy, I wish he'd at least withhold his own judgement.

With the second chapter of the second part - titled "Cambridge" - the story takes a turn. In it Buford describes the intensity of watching a match, and the herd-like manner of the crowd. It is probably the most eye-opening to Americans, who don't understand why anyone would follow a game where, more often than not, the match is a draw (sometimes with no scores).
The following chapter is about crowd mentality and is written in a sort of philosophical/poetic style. But I thought it was a bit over-done and wordy.

The third part of the book is more personal, about the author's struggle to escape the game and write the book. Following the violence apparently has taken a toll on him. But the conclusion is graceful.

Overall, this is a story about a queer sort of people in a queer moment in time, who do terrible violent things; musings on the crowd. . . ( )
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679745351, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With an Orwellian social imagination, Granta editor Buford offers a terrifying record of his passage through an alternate society--that of England's soccer thugs--in this malevolently funny, supremely chilling document of the allure of crowd violence.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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