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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, humane, myth-busting
This is a very good book. Its strength lies in Heale's refusal to judge or dehumanise the people he interviews and studies. Yet nor is he a glamouriser or apologist for the gangster lifestyle. He is engaged, empathetic, humane and balanced. Reading this book reminded me of watching The Wire. Most importantly, Heale persuasively argues that the gang phenomenon is the...
Published on 20 Aug. 2009 by The Less Deceived

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Opportunity Missed
This could have been a dazzling, grab-readers by the throat and force mainstream society to face hard realities to bring about real change, sort of a book. Heale has done all the hard - and often very dangerous - work; painstaking, on the street research in extremely tough areas, interviews with police, politicians and community leaders, and exhaustive background...
Published on 24 Sept. 2008 by Daniel Bishop


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, humane, myth-busting, 20 Aug. 2009
This is a very good book. Its strength lies in Heale's refusal to judge or dehumanise the people he interviews and studies. Yet nor is he a glamouriser or apologist for the gangster lifestyle. He is engaged, empathetic, humane and balanced. Reading this book reminded me of watching The Wire. Most importantly, Heale persuasively argues that the gang phenomenon is the societal consequence of the appalling polarisation of wealth and opportunity that began in Britain in the 1980s and has continued - in fact, accelerated - ever since. That's what politicians and policy-makers don't want to hear. No wonder Tony Blair crassly blames it all on the black community. But the real culprits, Heale argues, are poverty and disadvantage. In cities where the poorest people happen to be white, so are the gangs. My only criticism is that Heale's prose can be a little flat and humdrum, but he might argue that it fits his anti-sensationalist tone. Highly recommended, nevertheless.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read and insightful analysis, 29 Aug. 2008
By 
Marcus Littlejohns (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a fantastically well-written insight in to Britain's gangs. Heale has conducted some fascinating (and frankly extremely brave) interviews with those figures at the heart of gang culture. This could have been written simply as a chapter-by-chapter account of these interviews, but Heale's novelistic style makes this a truly gripping, and at times traumatic, read. One Blood could also have sensationalised Britain's gangs, but it provides a very real, intelligent and mature account of gang life and an intriguing analysis of the problems associated with it. Indeed, it is often the casual and arbitrary nature of violence in this chaotic world that will shock the reader most of all.
Having finished the book, your perceptions of gang culture and the solutions to its problems will be turned on their head. Society appears to be misinterpreting the very nature of 'gangs' and until we understand that it is often the chaos, rather than order, of gang life that is feeding violence, the situation can only get worse. Heale has the courage to offer solutions but I suspect that his greatest contribution will be to bring greater awareness and understanding of this anarchic world.
Heale is a very talented writer and as a work of non-fiction alone this would have been a staggeringly good read. That it is non-fiction makes One Blood an extremely important book on a subject that has become one of the biggest issues in Britain today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time, 25 Aug. 2011
First a warning: it's a slow-burning book. Don't read it if you want constant thrills and spills. Agree with commentators who say at times it reads a too much like a sociology essay. But as the author says in the intro - that's the point, because gangs coverage in the media at the time was hysterical.

So much of what he says turns out to be prescient. If you follow his thesis through and look at what happened in inner cities in 2011 it stacks up: in one section he all but predicts the riots. If you want to understand the true nature of gangs, this is an excellent place to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worrying, fascinating, honest! Buy it!, 12 April 2011
I bought this book on a bit of a whim since I didn't know much about the gang problems in our country, and I am so glad I did. Every other page I was putting the book down and re-telling what I'd just read to my family! I was shocked to discover just how much gang activity goes unreported in the UK alone, and just how powerful these street gangs are.

It is clear when reading the book that Heale has put real effort into thoroughly researching the problems with UK gangs, and the book is full of anecdotes, interviews with gang members, youth workers and police, as well as explaining how the media portrays certain issues in contrast to the reality.

I could barely put this book down. Although there is perhaps a little too much emphasis on the ideologies of gang life and possible solutions for stopping it for my liking, the book is very balanced and geographically accurate. It doesn't scare-monger, and overall I found it honest, scary, shocking, and ,overall, fascinating.

It reflects upon high profile cases that any reader will remember, as well as the (staggeringly) numerous unreported cases, and I would urge everyone to buy it - it can only be a good thing that awareness is raised about this growing phenomenon in the UK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One blood - four stars, 16 Aug. 2012
This review is from: One Blood: Inside Britain's Gang Culture (Paperback)
A gripping and shocking look at the gang culture of Britain. The book covers the reasons why, politically, socially, economically and morally why gangs not only form but why they hold such sway and influence over our society.

The book is easy to read, there are points in it that sound like an academic essay and can be quite heavy going but these are the pieces that carry the most weight when summing up the overall argument.

Heale is not sentimental about his subject nor does he glamourise and play up to the tags and reputations of the people he interviews. The book is a well balanced and convincing read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Opportunity Missed, 24 Sept. 2008
This could have been a dazzling, grab-readers by the throat and force mainstream society to face hard realities to bring about real change, sort of a book. Heale has done all the hard - and often very dangerous - work; painstaking, on the street research in extremely tough areas, interviews with police, politicians and community leaders, and exhaustive background reading.
Unfortunately, Heale is incapable of wearing this research lightly. Instead of making his points through powerful examples with a deft commentary to tease out the ideas and conclusions, he likes to tell, tell, tell himself. The result is a book with far too much tedious, often unfocused, theorising. Heale's claim that it is 'written in the style of a novel' is laughable. Three quarters of it clunks along as if it was produced by a graduate student completing an MA on Gang Culture in Modern British Teenagers, packed with plodding academic phrases like: 'To understand why, one must' , 'As we've already established', 'It is worth dwelling...','This leads us to the issue of ...' etc etc.
There are a few moments where Heale shines. The start of chapter three when he describes a South London gang member gearing himself up for a killing is startling. Sadly, it is all too short.
This is still a book worth reading, and its ultimate conclusion about the chaos that underpins gang culture is undoubtedly true and important. But, alas, One Blood falls well short of the truly society changing work it had the potential to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 21 Mar. 2013
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Quite factual book and a good account of real life stories.

Well written and interesting, but not as gripping as expected.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - a very important book, 9 Sept. 2008
By 
D. Lloyd - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the first modern commentary I've read on gangs and gang culture which refuses to slip into the hand-wringing clichés of race, absentee fathers or video game violence. What Heale presents us instead is a balanced - and brilliant - presentation of the psychological, societal and economic factors which contribute to a young person's entry into this much-misunderstood culture.

Most of the research presented is based on face-to-face interviews, and what comes across most clearly is the variety of people who exist in these criminal micro-societies; from the intelligent, eloquent "faces" (bosses) to the ambitious, bright kids, Heale constantly undermines the lazy prejudices which lead us to imagine all gang members as angry, uneducated children (although many are).

Heale carries us along at quite a pace, but also emphasizes the telling detail; details which while undeniably shocking, never slip into glamourisation of the subject matter. All in all, this book presents a significant step forward in the general debate on gangs - what they are and what, if anything, we can do about them. I would recommend it to any person seeking to understand more about Britain's gang culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful, 3 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: One Blood: Inside Britain's Gang Culture (Paperback)
This book was amazingly insightful and so interesting. It is full of facts and knowledge that help society to gain a better understanding of young people and their actions, but it was also heartbreaking to read so throroughly about some of the violent crimes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One Blood Review, 8 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: One Blood: Inside Britain's Gang Culture (Paperback)
Although I found One Blood particularly hard to read, because of the stastiatcal underpinning and sheer amount of knowledge shared in it; it does what it says on the tin. For research and educational purposes a great read.
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One Blood: Inside Britain's Gang Culture
One Blood: Inside Britain's Gang Culture by John Heale (Paperback - 19 Jan. 2012)
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