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Skinheads Paperback – 5 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009945887X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099458876
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"King...offers a nuanced argument for skinhead culture" (Arena)

"An energetic and technically adroit writer" (Sunday Telegraph)

"King's achievement since his debut has been enormous: creating a modern, proletarian English literature at once genuinely modern, genuinely proletarian, genuinely English and genuinely literature. His novels immerse his readers in the stream of consciousness of people who, as routinely depicted in the media, barely have consciousness at all" (Independent)

"King is a master of idiom and street slang. He speaks with a voice that appears to be the true expression of disaffected white British youth" (The Times)

Book Description

A brilliant novel about skinhead culture and disaffected youth from the author of The Football Factory.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Gary Bell on 1 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a real return to form by one of my favourite authors. John King is at his best for me writing about the generation he knows and this look at the Skinhead way of life takes me back to his early works of Headhunters, Football Factory and England Away. This is not the tabloid stereotypical view of the racist thug but a truthful view of a cult that has lasted many years and is still going strong. The story revolves around three generations of one family. Terry, the elder statesman, an old school skinhead with a love for classic Ska music who likes to do things right and is still trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife in a tragic accident; Ray, Terry's nephew, a lover of Oi music and a bit of a loose cannon with a violent temper, and Lol, Terry's son, a lover of American punk and living his life to the full. All three live for their football, their music and their mates. The charcters are strong and believable, you really care about what happens to them. The plot has many twists and turns in it that have you smiling one minute and in dispair the next. The musical references throughout the book are well researched and had me seeking out some old albums to listen again to tunes I had loved but had forgotten all about. John King kept us waiting for the release of this book but the wait has been well worth it as this is a cracker.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tommy H on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Skinheads is an excellent book told through the eyes of three different generations of skinheads aged 50, 40 and 15. I read a review saying that it got confusing with the different shifts of times and places but personally I did not find that. It was nice to see that all three characters were not racist at all and two of the characters not violent and had no time for violence instead having a respect for people. The book was also a good insight for me into the music scene of skinheads not only the ska scene, which I already knew quite a bit about but the oi street punk scene which I knew very little about. Anybody wanting an insight into skinhead culture as oppose to the neo nazi side should read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Wooldridge on 2 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Coming from suburban west London I not only recognised but know many of the locations, boozers etc in this book. No reference to the Queen Vic, Ealing though? I felt quite nostalgic reading some of the chapters set in the past. And the lead character, Terry, you can't help but like - especially the stuff covering his relationship with April. But some things just didn't ring true: an all-white geezers mini-cab firm in west London/Slough in the 2000s? I thought John King had covered the Chelsea Aggro stuff extensively elsewhere? Did we need Football Factory regurgitated to this degree? The Hamborough Tavern stuff - he seem to have a pretty accurate account, though I think he's being a little "rose-tinted spectacles-ish" in his retrospective view of the political leanings of early '80s skinheads. An entertaining read nonetheless. If you like this book and haven't read his "Human Punk" then you are missing out - that's a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Jackson on 17 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ive read every one of King's novels with the exception of The Prison House and find him struggling to recall the form of his excellent Football Factory trilogy and career best Human Punk. White Trash left me cold (although I have resolved to take a second look at it). This book improves on that but still doesn't hit the mark of the earlier books. I approached out of curiousity in the skinhead genre based on the recent This Is England offerings and also from the prespective of being a very openminded music fan who listens to everything from Rock/Metal/Hardcore Punk/Symphonic Metal through to old school Hip Hop through to Classical Music. I did find the author's details on the old school Ska scene of interest (at the moment I'm very taken with SkaCore act Mighty Mighty Bosstones) but found a much lesser focus on the Oi scene and the later wave of US Punk. It's clear where JK's affections lie; back in the original skinhead movement of 1969.

The characters are all well drawn & the period detail is excellent (ala Human Punk) switching from present day to 1969 and the more musically aggressive years of 1981 and 1984. What is missing is a really strong plot. There's no sense of tension and little drama. There's a little bit of kicking & thumping (predictably from the Oi fan) but nowhere near the violence levels of King's Football Factory -anyone buying this expecting something like Romper Stomper will be dissapointed. Football hooliganism from both the past & the present is a small part of the story (but not a central one) with unexpectedly, Chelsea as the author's club of choice for his characters. Just remembered - Tommy Johnson from Football Factory makes a brief cameo part as does Joe Martin from Human Punk. Always good to see an author set his works in the same fictional universe.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Brooks on 26 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
I've not read any of John King's other books -- the implicitly violent titles put me off (I'm a football supporter and it annoys me to read the tripe that's often written about football violence in the media). Perhaps I'm wrong and I should read John's other books... but this book is good, however. Although the plot is far-fetched in places, and the names of the chief protagonists are daft ('Terry English', 'Hawkins' etc -- and Terry's Dad is, predictably, a war hero named 'George English') it sets out a reasonably accurate and well-researched account of the initial skinhead period of the 1960s -- at least it is an initial guide to skinhead reggae releases that you may wish to buy :-) You end up caring about the characters. Unexpectedly good stuff, important history and an essential antidote to the way in which skinheads have been portrayed in the media. Makes you proud to be a skin once more.
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