Long, detailed, but thorough and enlightening,
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This review is from: Football ''Hooliganism'', Policing and the War on the ''English Disease'' (Hardcover)
First things first, there appears to be a mix-up on Amazon around this book and another non-related book. So the "paperback" link, and one of the negative reviews are unrelated and should be ignored.
It should be said that this book is not a light read. That is a good thing considering the depth that the authors go into to justify their research and subject, but it does mean that if you need to make a commitment to reading it. A light read on the coffee table this is not. The authors are both academics, and that is reflected in the book style, and although it is certainly not written as a paper or with endless references, is feels weighty rather than light. This is not a criticism but simply something to be aware of.
The book explores the authors' own research and first-hand experiences around abroad football hooliganism--that is, when England are playing abroad--and makes the consistent point that the entire notion of "hooliganism" is outdated. Specifically, the claim is made that both the mad-mob and gang-leader theories are not correct, despite constant media portrayal. Instead, the book explores the idea that the primary contributing factors are a misunderstanding of English football culture, fear and inaccurate reporting, and indiscriminate (unjust even?) policing due to those misunderstandings and fears. This is very similar to the conclusions reached by one of the same author's in a more recent book "Mad Mobs and Englishmen", albeit within a different context.
Personally, I found the book enlightening and fascinating, and I ended up agreeing with all the authors' conclusions, not least due to the sheer amount of good quality evidence they have amassed. However, I suspect that not all will enjoy this book, especially those who come with fairly traditional views of policing and crowd dynamics. It really is a bit of a Marmite interpretation and theory, and you'll either lap it up or find it highly repulsive!
I would also mention that although this book focuses on football hooliganism, the ideas and conclusions reached have far wider implications that just 'soccer'. As such, I would also recommend this book to anyone with an interest in crowd behaviour, policing (and poor policing), and how social identity within the crowd can dramatically effect the risk assessment.
Buy this book, and sit down somewhere where you can concentrate on it properly ... and buy it whilst you can, as it looks like it is now out of print unfortunately.