One Blood: Inside Britain's New Gang Culture Paperback – 6 Jul 2009
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`He talks to many gang members and former members, but is never voyeuristic. It is a welcome relief from the majority of journalistic coverage, which seems only interested in angelic victims and evil perpetrators' --Independent
`Heale offers a powerful critique of the various, either enforcement-driven, or pathology-informed, policy alternatives, periodically reminding the reader of the need to understand the socio-economic production of gangland before trying to grasp the ways in which people have come to live their lives there' --TLS
About the Author
John Heale is the pseudonym of an investigative journalist. He worked on television documentaries in the early 2000s, before freelancing for newspapers and magazines including The Times and The Telegraph. In 2007 he wrote One Blood as a response to what he saw as misleading coverage of youth crime in Britain. Since then he has lectured at the National Police Improvement Agency and provided consultancy services to a number of voluntary organisations. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Intelligent and thought provoking, one of the better urban/gang books I've read alongside 'Gang War', 'Hood Rat', 'Shooters', 'Young Blood', 'Street Boys' and a handful more.Published 14 months ago by Paul
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. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Lauren
The book was timid compared to the book 'gangs and guns' but still an interesting read. Time these so-call gangsters wake up.Published on 31 July 2013 by Joanne Jacobs
this book enabled me gain a good insight to the gang culture , well written well set out. good bookPublished on 20 July 2013 by Dave Angier-Brown
Quite factual book and a good account of real life stories.
Well written and interesting, but not as gripping as expected.
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. Read morePublished on 12 April 2011 by Jen