20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Quite possibly the most terrifying book I have read since I read James Herbert's "The Fog" back when I was all young and impressionable , "Yob Nation" lists with almost salacious glee a series of violent misdemeanours so shocking you may be tempted to never leave the sanctity of your house ever again.
This is the books biggest problem from an ideological standpoint. In convincing us that society is on the cusp of some vicious meltdown Lewis Gilbert gives us anecdote after anecdote involving physical, verbal or mental violence to such a point that it seems he is almost relishing the process. I am sure that isn't the case but for a book purporting to condemn the levels of aggression in contemporary society it would seem the books biggest draw to potential readers are the very acts of violence he seeks to condemn.
Not that I am above all this as I read with appalled fascination (but fascination none the less) about the gratuitous levels of thuggery endemic in Great Britain .Gilbert talks to various perpetrators of casual violence, bullying or gang members as he seeks to get to the bottom of why this country (Now estimated to be the one of the most violent in the world according to a U.N. report in 2005) is spirally so rapidly into fist throwing meltdown.
He gives compelling evidence that violence is not just the province of the poor and disenfranchised but stains all classes and that our excessive drinking culture, poor parenting , lack of opportunities and facilities for young people and the horrendous examples set by Governments , politicians and media all contribute significantly.
His solutions make for general common sense reading though they are the province of a more liberal mind and may not be radical or hard line enough for many readers. Gilbert offers us hope through the prudent use of ASBOS and the acts of determined individuals and organisations that have been proactive in meeting the problems they have confronted with head on. All of these say one thing constantly- that until the rights of victims and decent ordinary people are put above those of the strident nihilistic minority things will not improve significantly if at all .These perpetrators of much misery know their rights but nothing of individual responsibility and it's time this was addressed vigorously
Violence is often titillating when it's happening to others and there is very much a there but for the grace of god attitude when reading of others misfortune and this book brings both these uneasy voyeuristic feelings into play but reminds you at the same time that the chances of something similar happening to YOU are statically on the increase. I was verbally abused by a gang of youths the other day and laughed it off as being repeatedly called a "bald b*****d is hardly the most hurtful insult hurled in my direction during my life and I could hardly deny one of the insults. Plus I, ve got very little hair. But next time......next time .
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2009
I first came across this book after having been a victim of harassment and abuse from street scum in my local community. Like the author I had also been the victim of a random and unprovoked street assault and this book was recommended to me by an acquaintance as a result. Frances Gilbert quite wisely covers the whole spectrum of British yobbery rather than just focusing on the standard street scummery that many of us Brits are unpleasantly subjected to on an almost daily basis (I'm well aware it happens in other countries too before anyone says it). He informatively highlights scummishness, violence and petty dominance for control which have become a frightening normality on a day to day basis in such social areas including the army, city traders, 18-30 style holiday resorts and, god forbid, even medical students.
Sadly this sort of subject often gets ignored or dismissed by some corners of society as media exaggeration, class snobbery or some other rubbish, often by people who are fully inducted members in this sort of lifestyle and want to divert attention away from the problem.
I will admit that maybe he exaggerates the seriousness of the issue a little and he is perhaps a little biased against Labour but if you want a book that highlights one the fundamental problems in modern society I'd highly recommend this one.
My one single complaint is that he doesn't cover internet yobbery (trolling and cyber bullying for example) which seems to be an ever increasing problem and in my view easily falls into the same category.