The American-born editor of the British literary magazine Granta presents a horrifying, searing account of the young British men who turn soccer matches at. Buy Among The Thugs New Ed by Bill Buford (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. They have names like Barmy Bernie, Daft Donald, and Steamin’ Sammy. They like lager (in huge quantities), the Queen, football clubs (especially Manchester.

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He spent the next eight years going to football matches, befriending supporters, and witnessing riots, resulting in this book. This book does a wonderful job of reporting and commenting on the horror bufodr soccer crowds.

A better biford would perhaps be the rivalry between West Ham and Millwall. Dozens of violent encounters at each game? InRichard Danzigformer student of political guru Michael G. And when they do, they riot. The English disease bucord all its gory.

There’s a stellar analysis of crowd dynamics and the disconcerting conclusion that soccer hooligans are addicts of a sort and that crowd violence is simply their drug of choice. Learning about these people lends individual characteristics to the faceless crowd that Buford finds himself slowly orbiting.

This time period in English football teh fascinates the hell out of me however. Take a minute to think about, say, the Occupy Wallstreet protesters, across the country. View all subscription options. Buford comes to the conclusion that the problem is that England’s former working class, which has a strong sense of cultural pride attached to it, is no longer the working class.

Among The Thugs is an enjoyable read and the violence is certainly disturbing. And he tells us that all these great thinkers were thinking about crowds from the outside, applying what they saw as outsiders to something they didn’t understand one bit.

You’ll be gripped, and amazed. Most of the people who spoke to him seem to have done so under some level of anonymity, intentionally amonv their distance, and yet he never represents himself as anything but an interested third party to them – most want him around specifically because they believe he might help them bolster their reputations. Still, that is the approach he chose and it has its merits.


Blake I really don’t see him an infiltrator of any sort. Too many times Buford told us he didn’t know the outcome of something. The officer is whipping the crowd they have not committed violence yet in the face with the chain. By the end of the book, however, you are also unperturbed by a night out bufprd the lads glassing folks on the street because you have already read it 30 times. More on that latter. But like a car accident, you just can’t look away.

Among The Thugs – This American Life

Buford does a particularly good job of retelling events that he has stuck himself in, without ajong camera, tape recorder, or even notebook for notes. In one short chapter, Buford talks to a police captain who can’t believe that in the States, at a football game, people show up shortly before the game as opposed to r It takes something willing to go pretty far to call it one of the most intense reads I’ve ever had.

There thee form in an experience that tends towards abandon. You may not have agreed with them, but what should they do, bbuford what should you do, had the government chosen to roll out the. Buford is tugs several riotsnotably in Turin and at the World Cup in Sardinia. View all 6 comments.

His description of how the sound of glass breaking animates a crowd and lends an aural stimulant to escalate violence is incredibly evocative. I can’t recall how I arrived before this mouth—zigzagging across the square—but once in its presence I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Buford, an American, meets up with a few of them in bars near the stadiums.

Among the Thugs

This was the first major change in football for donkey’s years. As to why this particular addiction is so bufor, he makes no conjectures, which is perhaps the book’s only failing.

The more he becomes drawn into their world and the more he finds himself accepted in it, the more he finds himself becoming a willing participant in the thrilling violence.


Buford also argues that those in a crowd collectively make the decision whether or not bufrod cross thresholds of violence. Buford is at the receiving end of this violence, savagely beat in his kidneys and other organs by one officer, then two, then more. I concluded after examining the bruising, was not the shoulders as such; he was trying to get to the collarbone.

The 50 best sports books ever written

Or unlock all Premium articles. But somehow, thousands if not millions of English headed out to the grounds every Saturday. It’s “important,” it presents something I don’t fully agree with or understand, and the writing is damn fine. Buford offers up several theories for why these “hooligans” who are by and large normal law abiding citizens by day commit unspeakable acts of violence in the name of supporting their team, but no real conclusions are drawn.

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Buford cites press accounts of sports violence, eerily, from the past—some as far back asin which nothing in the social order has changed at all. Once someone chooses to cross a line, everyone collectively chooses to agree to step over the line, or holds back.

Among the Thugs June reprint edition cover. In Belgium, euthanasia or suicide is totally legal if signed off on by three doctors, even for non-terminal things, like depression or schizophrenia or dementia.

The crowd can be here, but not here.

I have described the relentless physicalness of the terraces and how the concentrate the spectator thkgs And not always the buzzy-feel-good electric. In the hands of a lesser writer, this book could’ve been a lot more annoying.

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