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on 30 November 2015
It would have been nice if the author had told us more about the links between the UDA and the far right than he does. Reading this book, one may well feel that the UDA has always given its full support to the National Front (NF) and other far right groups which is not the case. Throughout the troubles there was many a UDA member and commander who objected to the racial polices of the British far right: Jackie McDonald for example, the brigadier of South Belfast UDA was one. That said, this is a very good book which provides an fascinating insight into the British far right and I recommend it for anybody with an interest in the subject.
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on 18 August 2012
If you are interested in the politics of the margins and recent British social history you will find this a compelling read.
One question, who is the mystery well-known person with NF links alluded to throughout the book? I think it's obvious.
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on 18 October 2011
There are at least a dozen references to wanking and other bodily functions in this book. I'm curious what the publisher thought of this - was there any stage where somebody said, `why does he keep talking about wanking?' But there's a clear reason for it: this is in many respects a book about growing up, and the adolescent prison of masturbation and self-loathing becomes a gruesome microcosm of the author's love/hate affair with the far right. In many respects, the pathetic Neanderthals (with respect to actual Neanderthals) of the far-right embody the father-figure Collins never had, albeit an abusive surrogate that for many years he can't help but keep running back to.

The book is peppered with names and personalities, some appear fleetingly and others stay the course. This index of names can be overwhelming (I found myself flicking back and forth, but that's what books are for (apologies to kindle users but this authenticates the book against its detractors. The gallery of villains is grotesquely Dickensian and they often act like the cast of the once-tauted, gladly never produced, `Carry on Mosley'. This is often Vaudeville-Fascism - laughably low-audienced and high-comedy.

The author apparently reached the `upper echelons' of the National Front and his description of the corruption, inadequate leadership and complicit violence of the `movement' is a damning indictment of the current line of organizations (BNP and EDL) which share their `ideology' and members. But the attraction to this life for any working-class, fatherless London brute youth is believable. It's a club that wants him as a member, it can give him a sense of a belonging and somewhere to put all his shame and anger - people who are different, people who aren't white and working-class. It can also give him people to go drinking with and other people to want to punch.

Collins pulls no punches in this respect, although there are more scuffles than actual all-out brawls. Nor does he make any excuses for himself or romanticize his story by highlighting one single epiphany. In fact his `transformation' initially seems to begin when he gets in touch with Searchlight magazine, but it transpires that many other fascists are doing this, motivated more by money than an ideological awakening.

But of course, a transformation did occur that empowered Collins to become a powerful figure in the Hope Not Hate Campaign which has stood firm against and virtually crushed the BNP.

So I recommend it. The book is a superb weapon against Fascism in modern Britain...for those who can stomach the alarmingly seductive face of Fascism.
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on 21 January 2015
I don't like the left or the right & have no understanding of why people from the same back-ground go to war over people who don't care about them (The left) or hate them (The right)

My reason for buying this book was to get an understanding of it all. I didn't. Basically the author appears to be a drunk who flitted between sides. 'Traitor' i think is the correct terminology!

It's one of those easy to read books with BIG print for the idiots like me who want to read about this rubbish.

Why the left constantly interfere with the right?? Just let them get on with it, people fought wars for free speech. That said does anyone listen to the NF these days - Is there even one still about?

Poor book - Don't waste your money giving the author another pot of gold to waste on booze. Buy a moronic football violence book instead....!
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on 20 February 2013
I bought this as, although I have little sympathy for the National Front and similar organisations, I was interested to find what goes on inside the heads of their followers. After I had ploughed through chapters after chapter of turgid prose, the picture that emerges is one of a fairly disorganised rabble that seems to comprise of bitter old men and vacuous youths, spoiling for a fight. It doesn't give any insight and even fails to make the hackles rise. Give it a miss.
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on 25 July 2012
Following a recent unwanted invasion of my town by the English Defence League (EDL), I've been struggling to understand why young people are attracted to far right organisations. Matthew Collins' book is a real eye-opener and shows how easy it is to be drawn into violence and hate when you're young and confused. The book is very well-written - even funny in places - and is a superb account of events in the NF and BNP in the late 80s/early 90s. It's a pity there isn't an index - that's my only criticism.
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on 14 September 2012
This book charts a dramatic journey from frustrated youth to fascist thug to anti-fascist campaigner. This a journey peppered with violence, racism, hard drinking, drugs, pornography, football hooliganism and excessive masturbation. Matthew Collins was a teenage member of the National Front in the 80's and 90's and witnessed its slow and messy demise and then the ascent and re-branding of the BNP and the extreme right as a whole. Collins gives a unique insight into the nature and behaviour of those on the fringes of society. It allowed me to understand how extremists recruit and target the vulnerable, how they twist situations and frustrations to their own ends and more importantly how they truly behave.

As you read how a young Collins became intoxicated by extremism despite the grubbiness and maliciousness of it's peddlers you can appreciate the pull that extremist beliefs and easy answers must have to vulnerable youngsters who are searching for answers and direction. The most depressing thing whilst reading this book is realising the easy answers sold to Collins by the NF are the same being peddled to those caught up in the BNP and EDL now.

The cast of characters in this book have a warmth to them, despite their vile political beliefs. This helps and is more based in reality than casting them as pantomime villains. These were Collins friends, no matter what violence or criminal activity they were capable of inflicting. The fact that he portrays not only their flaws but highlights their character quirks helps understand how they interacted with each other and the outside world. There are some truly frightening and sickening moments whilst there are also moments of pure comedy.

The book is a very easy read and Collins covers a lot of detail in a way that doesn't overload the reader. His tone is ranges from the serious to the silly. The constant references to his masturbation may seem OTT at first but when you get to a certain point in the book you realise the link between boredom, single life, pornography, masturbation and seeking any sort of thrill outside the humdrum of life fits in perfectly with extremist culture. In a Twitter discussion with the author I put it this way "I was more disturbed by the fact you're a Palace fan than the maniacal masturbation and swearwords".

My only criticism of the book is that the last couple of chapters which cover his conversion to anti-fascist campaigner are a little light. It just seems a little bit rushed and more detail would've finished the book off better. His conclusions were solid but I was left wanting to know more about his work with Searchlight, Hope Not Hate and more analysis on the continuing work to combat the growing EDL and monitoring the dysfunctional BNP.

Matthew Collins' book should be a must read for youngsters curious about politics and adults who should know better.
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on 28 November 2011
The teenaged Matthew Collins was an angry misfit, suffering sexual frustration, early signs of alcoholism and a general sense of alienation and disempowerment. He was also about a hundred times more intelligent, sensitive and sane than the crowd he mixed with: the Far Right of the 70s and 80s, the architects and predecessors of rise of the organised, PR-heavy BNP and EDL of the last decade. Collins' essential humanity led to him working as a mole for the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, later taking a leading role in the HOPE not hate campaign that ensured the BNP never saw the political success they had been forecast.

It's not always an easy read, requiring an attentive reader to enter a world that they (if they're lucky) know very little about. It's also disturbing, sometimes disgusting. But it is also important, not only as a reminder of the stupidity and brutality of the far right, but also as a warning about how extremism can provide a sense of identity for people who feel they have nothing else.
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on 12 November 2012
cockney geezer writing another or rather anuvver i was a nazi book.the book industry has made a fortune out of these dullard memoirs talk about so much written about so little.but maffs saving grace is he changed sides so lets forget about all the racist violence then a trash book don,t waste your time or money
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on 22 April 2016
He's a legend all right!
A Macdonald's Chicken Legend
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