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Hood Rat: Britain's Lost Generation

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Manchester. London. Glasgow. In the summer of 2011, violence erupted in the UK's inner cities, and many blamed gang culture. But is the truth so simple? This book tells the human stories that the media miss: of young men who have fallen through the system, and of one young woman with a vision for change.

304 pages, Paperback

First published June 27, 2011

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Gavin Knight

11 books2 followers

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5 stars
31 (16%)
4 stars
70 (36%)
3 stars
61 (32%)
2 stars
25 (13%)
1 star
3 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,989 reviews14 followers
March 6, 2014

Journalist Gavin Knight reports an unflinching frontline view of those on the margins of society and these glimpses are not made of the pretty. Gruelling stuff, this real life, isn't it. Most of the behaviours discussed here are down to social conditioning so it was refreshing to have a look at how the Bostonian System is dealing with similar impacting.

The reader is Siobhan Redmond.

Produced by Jill Waters A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.
Profile Image for La Churri.
175 reviews4 followers
March 24, 2020
La primera parte "Manchester" se me hizo bola. La forma en que está escrita se hace lio y no engancha. Las otras dos historias se comprenden mejor.
Profile Image for Jim.
897 reviews2 followers
October 25, 2012
It's an over-used cliche that non-fiction crime books "grip like a thriller", but this one lives up to it, albeit a gritty, British sink-estate, left-leaning account of gangland Manchester, London and Glasgow. The gangs depicted are a long way from the world of the Krays or the Guy Ritchie fantasies of the big screen. The lives portrayed here are on the lowest rung of the ladder, the hoodies who deal, push and scrabble at the bottom end of the drug food chain trying to find their next fix within the small world of streets they inhabit. While the book tries to take you into this world, and succeeds, I often wondered how much licence the author takes with his material in order to keep the narrative barrelling along, from one gang fight to another. It almost appears exciting and dynamic whereas the life of your average junkie must be one of sheer boredom, misery and squalor, punctuated with bursts of violence, illness and terror. Not that the author doesn't touch on those themes. In fact, it could be argued that the whole background to the story in each of these British cities is nothing else but boredom, misery and squalor, punctuated by extreme violence. How people who are caught up in it survive from day to day is more the focus of Hood Rat, and if dramatic editing and shaping is needed to get the point across and ensure you keep reading, so be it. It certainly kept me reading.
439 reviews4 followers
August 5, 2012
Hood Rat gave an insight into parts of society that I haven't experienced myself and that was valuable, however through most of the book, I couldn't identify the motivation for telling these stories of British gangsters... at times it seemed as if the author was trying to shock the reader, at times it seemed as if he was saying 'look how bad these kids are', and by the conclusion, there seemed to be more of an empathy with them. Personally, I would have found the book more interesting and useful if throughout there had been more of a cohesive point, rather than just a selection of disparate tragic stories.
Profile Image for The Book Nazi.
39 reviews19 followers
July 19, 2011
There are some graphic stories in Hood Rat revolving around the activities of gangs and those who try to stop them, in London, Glasgow and Manchester. A challenging read, put together in a chronological order. Drugs, Prostitution, Pimping it's all included in here. The Author vividly portrays a world where drugs hook adolescents into gangs where they develop a gang mentality where living for the moment and earning respect from other gang members is all they look for. An amazing read if you are a fan of True Crime Genre or anyone interested in the workings of Gangs.
Profile Image for Lee Robinson.
42 reviews1 follower
August 19, 2022
I didn't finish this despite really wanting it to be good and giving it loads of tries before giving up.

The writer clearly knows his onions on crime, Manchester gangs and police procedures, but that doesn't translate into readable prose or give-a-shit-aboutable characters.

It has a bit of a Ross Kemp style too it, like a blokey pub convo where he wants you to be impressed with how hardcore this world is.

It would have been better as non fiction and with less machismo
Profile Image for Timo Tiilikainen.
164 reviews3 followers
February 23, 2019
A true crime book about the violent street gangs in the UK . It begins like a noir and the gang members are trying survive in the hostile universe . Lot of details and case histories : not an easy read.
description of the communities in the the problem areas and the police work. But there is an effort to change the situation by the police and politics ; with results according the author.
65 reviews3 followers
March 16, 2018
Brilliant book pertaining to the characters of the UK gang scene and those who feel it and why they fall into the culture.

The book offers a personal view rather than a outside looking in perspective which makes for a fascinating read.
124 reviews1 follower
June 2, 2019
I thought there would have been more of a common thread between the sections. And the Glasgow section was more about the way USA. 3.5 stars maybe.
Profile Image for Dan.
217 reviews16 followers
October 3, 2014
a page-turner of a tour of the lowest side of british culture. some errors, e.g. west mercia police are not in lancashire, house music isn't rap music. but generally a great work of research, so long as you are happy to read in a novelistic, unverified present tense style. london and manchester sections accorded with what's described in national news media, glasgow section still seemed shocking to me in its dystopia, though also the most hopeful part of the book. i'd love to know how much is new and hos much is traditional - not really addressed other than changing patterns of intoxication.
Profile Image for Mike.
24 reviews3 followers
July 25, 2013
A new mystery by a writer who compares with Val McDermid, Peter James and Ian Rankin would be a cause for celebration! So let’s start celebrating! The only difference is that the 3 stories in this book are all true. Written in a narrative nonfiction style by crime reporter Gavin Knight we live the lives of crooks and coppers in Manchester, London and Glasgow, follow their actions and their interactions and wait to find out who will live, who will die and who will end up in prison. A must read for all crime fiction fans!
Profile Image for Mancman.
500 reviews4 followers
May 8, 2015
This book is written in a narrative style, but based on real events.

It's visceral and certainly not for the faint hearted. The tales of brutality come thick and fast.

The stories start in Manchester, then transfer to London, and finally Glasgow.

The stories vary, but the underlying theme is the same. Children from deprived backgrounds end up finding gang life offers them more.

91 reviews2 followers
June 3, 2012
It took me a while to get used to the writing style but once I did, it brought these tragic stories to life. The post-riots afterword in my edition was especially poignant. Tells the horror stories of British inner city ganglands from every perspective, with no glory. Definitely worth a read.
Profile Image for Jon Watts.
12 reviews
December 30, 2014
Excellently written account of gang life on the sink estates of Great Britian in the 21st Century. Although quite challenging and even depressing in places it ends with a message of hope for the future of the discarded youth of our inner cities.
16 reviews1 follower
April 6, 2016
Needs to be considered as three books in one. First part about Manchester was gripping after that it tailed off as books written in this style often do and become overburdened with the research that's gone into them. Enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Paul Servini.
Author 5 books11 followers
August 8, 2011
Factual account. Excerpts. Interesting insight into individual fates and what some people are trying to do to help.
Profile Image for Louise Shore.
16 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2012
You think maybe because you are working class that you are streetwise and know what's occurring on our streets. Until you read this.
55 reviews
July 28, 2014
Worst book I have ever written. No great development of the characters. Moves over time spans very rapidly. Only the story of pilgrim is interesting - the book should have surrounded him.
Profile Image for James Koppert.
413 reviews
August 1, 2014
brutal reality of UK gangs. very sad reading and shows how our poor are being duped into a cycle of violence
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

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