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Skinheads [Paperback]

John King
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 Mar 2009

Skinheads is the story of a way of life, told through three generations of a family: Terry English, original ska-loving skinhead and boss of a mini-cab firm; Nutty Ray, street-punk skin and active football hooligan; and Lol, son of Terry, nephew of Ray, a fifteen-year-old kid just starting out.

Terry is sick and not sure he's going to make his fiftieth birthday, but is kept going by his music, his lovely assistant Angie, and his discovery of the abandoned Union Jack Club, which he decides to clean up and re-open. Ray, meanwhile, is out driving mini-cabs and struggling to control his anger - his only release: days out with Chelsea's finest. But when he takes the law into his own hands in an explosion of righteous violence, his future starts to darken.

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Skinheads + Human Punk
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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: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A different side of skinheads 23 Mar 2013
By Tommy H
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly good stuff 26 Dec 2008
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars human 13 Jan 2011
By marra
read the book and passed it onto a mate at work with similair mod/skin background as myself.

thought it was an excellent read to be honest and i think john's use of characters and the relationship between them, a clear love for his friends/family and deceased wife said more to me than page after page of footbal violence [although cant have a book on skinheads without some]a nice heart warming read to be honest, about very human emotions and concerns.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MIxed feelings... 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 9 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters were authentic and likable. The book is a great representation of what I consider being a skinhead is all about. I could identify with both the characters of Terry and Ray. I think I land somewhere in the middle between the two personally. The story is provocative, and I found myself always looking forward to my next opportunity to pick up the book again. I especially liked the way the author depicted Ray, his conflicts, and his views of patriotism versus nationalism. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SKINHEADS 4 LIFE 16 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book by John King is a great read for anyone who has been around the Skinhead scene wether it was 69 79 or the eighties revival, there is something interesting for us all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars john king working class hero
another fantastic novel from the pen of john king - a marvelous left wing working class perspective - brilliantly put together in the long line of john king stormers also rec. Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2010 by Td Richards
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked the characters, the setting, the details BUT lacking in plot...
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... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2010 by Adam Jackson
2.0 out of 5 stars John King - Skinheads
I'm a big fan of John Kings earlier work but this book could only be described as boring......

Not much happens, no real action, and quite a predictable conclusion. Read more
Published on 22 April 2010 by Mr. M. Harvey
3.0 out of 5 stars My least favourite John King book
I have read all of John King's books and this is my least favourite of his. I have found in the past with his books that even if you are not into the scene of the book, you can... Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2010 by L. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading!
Being a fan of King's pevious books when I bought this I was expecting a replicate of the football trilogy/Human punk, I needn't have worried as the author almost tells a story... Read more
Published on 1 Oct 2009 by Ross1927
1.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Awful
Cant even describe how poor I found this book to be I was a Skinhead back in the early 70s bears no relation to anything I saw or done
Published on 12 Mar 2009 by Indred Cold
5.0 out of 5 stars Every home should have one?
John King has the knack of publishing books of a high standard, apart from "White Trash", which is a four star book, the rest are all five star, if you haven't read any of his... Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2008 by K. W. Dandridge
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