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Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,293 ratings  ·  139 reviews
What is it about sports that turns otherwise sane people into raving lunatics? Why does winning compel people to tear down goal posts, and losing, to drown themselves in bad keg beer? In short, why do fans care?

In search of answers, Warren St. John seeks out the roving community of RVers who follow the Alabama Crimson Tide from game to game. A movable feast of Weber grills
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Corinne
This book personifies the reason why is why I am in a book group. I would have NEVER (see how that's in all caps?) have picked up this book. I am not a sports player. I am not a sports fan. I couldn't care less about football. Especially college football. Unless it's my alma mater, the Maryland Terps, in which case I might say "go Terps" when I find out they've won something. Just not my thing.

But this book? It digs deep, as it says in the subtitle, into the heart of Fan Mania. And Warren St. Jo
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K
Eh. I wanted to like this book more than I did.

Recently my workplace decided to boost morale by having a kind of NFL day, where all of us had to wear a sports jersey celebrating our favorite team. I was one of two people (among a relatively large staff) who not only didn't own a jersey but didn't follow a team. The one other nerd in my position decided with me that we would be the 'Reading Team," and designed T-shirts for us to wear celebrating our love of reading. Fellow goodreaders, I know you
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Erin
I first bought this book as a gift for my friend Derrick, a University of Alabama alum. I was fascinated by it and I love college football, and I'm thinking he won't give it back, so I bought my own copy so that I can read it.

*****When I was but a wee, small girl, and thanks to my father's obsession, many of my fall mornings were spent being woken up on Saturday mornings at 5:00 and being dragged, unwillingly from my home in Virginia to Morgantown, West Virginia, home of West Virginia University
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Anna Lembke
I have flipped through parts of this book and read selections, and the reason every single Alabama football supporter had this book next to their commemorative national championship footballs is because it captures the essence of being a crazy bama fan.
At the age of four, the brainwashing had already started. I had been attending football games at Bryant-Denny for a solid two years and on select Saturdays was carted off to Tuscaloosa in a mini cheerleader costume with pom poms (not that I new wh
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Pete
three stars for likeability. looking back i could have seen this book being schlocky from the subtitle. there were enough interesting sidebars on the psychology of rooting to fill an XXXL sized feature. the conceit of "i'm gonna RV-caravan to football games" is pretty much instantly repetitive and offers low narrative stakes, to the extent that the author has to duck out over and over again to write about something more interesting (like the dude who breeds show chickens). totally competent jour ...more
Aaron Arnold
Anyone who enjoys college football should consider giving this in-depth case study in fandom a look, even though it's written by and focuses on fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide, a team that I, like so many others, am unable to contemplate without feeling a mixture of disgust and hatred. As a Texas Longhorns fan, I'll never forget the cosmic cruelties of the 2009 BCS Championship Game, and I'll always remember the peculiar sense I felt when the Tide played Big 12 turncoats/SEC newcomers Texas A&a ...more
Jeremy
Incredibly fast, easy read. Don't have to be a football fan to get something out of it.

St. John is a rabid Alabama football fan, but also is interested in 'going native' with the most hardcore of the hardcore fans. So he buys a dilapidated RV and travels to every game the Tide plays in 1999. Along the way he recounts the on field action and the off field hi-jinks. We encounter a cast of memorable characters including 'The Chicken Man', 'The Show Chicken Man' (different guy), "The Heart Transplan
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Nicole
Warren St. John has written one of the funniest sports books I have ever held in my hands. As I myself am a dedicated Crimson Tide fan, he could not have chosen a better team to follow nor a better group of fans: the RVers who follow the Tide to every game and create RV cities in the parking lots of opposing teams’ stadiums.

But don’t dismiss this book as a just another title praising the Tide and their legacy. St. John explores the fevered devotion of sports fans: what makes us so crazed about t
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Justin
I have two annual traditions to get me appropriately amped up for football season: I re-watch The Program and I reread Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. The second is going to get me in trouble one day when I spend a large portion of my life’s savings on an incredibly inefficient and expensive monstrosity. Warren St. John’s delightful book follows the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 1999 football season by RV.

With a product part sports book, part travelogue, and part popular social science book, St. John show
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Leslie
I would like to start off by telling you what this book is NOT. While an appreciation for University of Alabama football would enhance enjoyment of this book, this is not simply Alabama fan reading material. "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer" (RJYH) is a very interesting study of the football fan RV subculture. These are the folks that buy motorhomes and travel from game to game, setting up little "villages" on school campuses across the south.
When I got the book, I was afraid that St. John's missio
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Melissa
http://www.gerberadaisydiaries.com/20...

Oklahoma was ranked #1 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches Poll, today.
Why does that matter?
Well, when you are a football fanatic, you wait 9 months for this date, and anticipate the 12 autumn weekends that comprise the college football season – and with some luck – week nights in January to watch them in BCS bowls.
I, like Warren St. John, the author of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, spend too many countless hours watching football on any given Saturday from
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A.
Feb 11, 2008 A. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to A. by: Ash Crowe
Not only is this a love song to the eternal madness -- and it is a madness; I know I'm crazy about Carolina basketball, in a frequently awful way, and I am trying to change it, but it is hard, it is years of habit of being insane about Carolina basketball -- of the fan, but it had some fascinating tiny moments of vision about race issues in the American South. You can't really talk about football in the American South without talking about racial issues, and they crept into St. John's book in a ...more
Tony
Dec 01, 2007 Tony rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alabama fans, not many others
If you like 'Bama football and RVs, this will be the perfect book for you. If you live in the northeast and don't understand the rest of the country's obsession with college football, this could also be a great book for you. Otherwise, there are better sports books on the market, like anything by David Halberstam or Roger Kahn to name a couple.

The framing device for this book is fairly standard, Warren St. John follows the Alabama football team through a season of ups and downs, hanging out wit
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Lani
Jun 08, 2011 Lani rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lani by: Josh Paulik
Josh actually recommended this to me, despite me not knowing much of anything about college football. I'm not sure why he picked it up, but I did enjoy it.

In a similar vein to all the other 'do a wacky thing for a year' books, St John traces his interest to its starting point (childhood in Alabama), to his disconnect and self-aware analysis of the phenomenon (living in New York as a writer), all the way into his 'immersion' into the culture he tries for the year (season, really). He ends up buyi
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Michelle
Just because it took me 4.5 months to read this book doesn't mean I didn't like it -- it just means I was able to put it down. For a really long time.

St John, like me, grew up as an Alabama fan but, unlike me, did not attend UA, so he decides to follow the Tide for a season among the RV people. And it is fascinating. Unfortunately for him, he embarked on this project during a low-period in Crimson lore: the Mike Dubose era. But at least that was the year he took them to the SEC championship.

Ea
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Shane
This was great! Part sports fan analysis, part football (Alabama Crimson Tide), part road trip, part fan science, part a lot of stuff. It works. It was a lot fun to dive into this RV culture that follows the team throughout their season, and all the ups and downs that go along with being an obsessed fan. So many interesting people, some crazier than others, but they all have their own unique stories to tell. There are those moments where Warren St John does keep things level and makes the reader ...more
Dave
Mar 15, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sports
A great book about what is like to be obsessed with Alabama football.

I am obsessed but the level of obsession I have begins and ends with only really caring about whether or not 'Bama wins it's next game in whatever sport is in season.

The people that travel and tail gate at Crimson Tide games are another story.

When I was in school at Tuscaloosa, it was amazing to see people begin gathering on Wednesday for a Saturday afternoon game.

I am no stranger to partying, but don't they have some sort
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Linnae
A glimpse into the heart of the true sports fan--for whom the stats of his team are as familiar as a family members', a win is triumph and glory, and a loss utter tragedy.

For me, this book was akin to reading about a foreign culture that I had heard of but never really understood. I don't know that I'd fit in very well in Alabama! I had season tickets to BYU Cougar football all 4 years I was there, and had a great time going to the games with my family and roommates, but my personal world did n
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Leslie
The author is from Birmingham and an major Alabama fan, so right off I was excited about this book. The author buys a used RV and spends a year tailgating Alabama games and making friends with other RVers. We learn an enormous amount about RVs: how expensive they are (as much as a real house!), the decor, maintenance, etc. One guy's RV is so proud of his expensive RV that he lets people come in and take a look. Although the author attends Alabama games, he is really studying fan culture in gener ...more
Rebecca
Nov 20, 2009 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: SEC college football fans
Recommended to Rebecca by: Shannon
Shelves: scott-read
Yes, I realize that I am a devoted Tennessee football fan, reading a book about crazed Alabama fans. However, this book is really applicable to all SEC football fans (ahem, Julia) and totally enjoyable. I have been saving it for the last year or so to read during football season and have read it slowly over the last three months (slowly only due to all the other reading I have for grad school). Warren St. John really makes the unbelievable highs and the gut-wrenching lows of fandom come alive. I ...more
Megan
Seriously, a must-read for any sports fan who has ever wondered if he/she might actually be just a little bit crazy. My friend and I listened to the audio recording of this book on our drive from Rochester to Indianapolis and back for the Final Four, and it kept us highly entertained the whole way. The book is extremely well-written and well-researched, combining a perfect blend of wit and wisdom. Warren St. John is somehow able to articulate the thoughts I never quite could about why it is that ...more
Mike Kershaw
Does for SEC Football what "Confederates in the Attic" did for Civil War reenactors. The author, a displaced southerner at Columbia, embedds himself in the sub-culture of the 'camp followers' that give Alabama football some of it's most fanatical devotees -- the legion of fans that follow the Crimon Tide from game to game in their Recreational Vehicles. If you wonder why the plutocrats at ESPN, with their narcassitic/nihilistic quest to reduce college football to another Harvard MBA inspired bus ...more
Christopher Walsh
I doubt we'll ever see anything come close to describing what it's like to be an Alabama football fan compared to this book. Warren nailed it.
Ariston
Entertaining, light read. If you're interested in unique sub-cultures and college football, you'll appreciate this book.
Lauren Shoaf
Perfect book to kick off college football season. If you are a college football fan, particularly the SEC, you need to read this book. St. John sets out to explore and better understand the depths of Fan Mania, something that even as a life-long Alabama fan he doesn't fully understand. Comical and completely relatable . . . we all know a die-hard fan or two (might even be one) and have been on numerous of the college campuses mentioned. Side note, as an Auburn Alum I don't find his portrayals of ...more
Dale
Great story about the passion of SEC football fans. The author chronicles the 1999 (I think) Alabama Crimson Tide football season. St. John grew up a passionate Tide fan in Alabama, and later moved to New York. Living in the North, St. John missed the passion and intensity of SEC football fans. He spent the season traveling to all of 'Bama's road games and hanging out with the "regulars" in their motor homes.

If you're a college football fan of any kind, this will be an enjoyable read. I love co
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Kyle
Really interesting look into fandom, in particular college football insanity.
Martin
fun read. Not too deep. Looks at Southern Football insanity.
Michael
Why do sports fans act the way they do? What's it like to follow an SEC college football team to every game, home and away, in a giant RV caravan? There are the two questions posed and answered by this book. The author is a lifelong Alabama football fan who follows the team for a season and attempts to delve into the psyche of the hardcore American sports fan. A fun and interesting read more so for his stories from the road, ala Bill Bryson, than his amateur psychological analysis, St. John is a ...more
Shannon
Sep 03, 2007 Shannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: SEC football fans
Two non-fiction books in a row might just be a record for me! As someone who grew up not just in Alabama, but as an Alabama fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I also related a lot to the author, who was born just 3 years before me. Many of his memories of Bama football growing up are mine. Like St. John, I was in college before I grasped that part of being a fan was weathering losses (I learned this lesson quickly at Vandy!)

This book is a great inside and in-depth look at what it means to be a
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