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The Underworld of Italian Footballav Tobias Jones121
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Winner of the Daily Telegraph Football Book of the Year Ultras are often compared to punks, Hell's Angels, hooligans or the South American Barras Bravas. But in truth, they are a thoroughly Italian phenomenon... From the author of The Dark Heart of Italy, Blood on the Altar and A Place of Refuge. Italy's ultras are the most organised and violent fans in European football. Many groups have evolved into criminal gangs, involved in ticket-touting, drug-dealing and murder. A cross between the Hell's Angels and hooligans, they're often the foot-soldiers of the Mafia and have been instrumental in the rise of the far-right. But the purist ultras say that they are are insurgents fighting against a police state and modern football. Only amongst the ultras, they say, can you find belonging, community and a sacred concept of sport. They champion not just their teams, they say, but their forgotten suburbs and the dispossessed. Through the prism of the ultras, Jones crafts a compelling investigation into Italian society and its favourite sport. He writes about not just the ultras of some of Italy's biggest clubs - Juventus, Torino, Lazio, Roma and Genoa - but also about its lesser-known ones from Cosenza and Catania. He examines the sinister side of football fandom, with its violence and political extremism, but also admires the passion, wit, solidarity and style of a fascinating and contradictory subculture.
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Colourful first-hand accounts... Jones is too smart a writer... Ultra does speak direly to wider issues' * Financial Times * [An] intense book... A positive story to tell as well' * Times Literary Supplement * A serious, detailed and entertaining exploration of a fascinating subject... While Jones's analysis of the rise of the ultras is interesting, it is the anecdotes that truly hook the reader' * Catholic Herald * 'An excellent book' * Daily Mail *
Tobias Jones is the author of seven previous books, including The Dark Heart of Italy, Blood on the Altar and A Place of Refuge. He has written and presented documentaries for the BBC and for RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, and has been a columnist for the Observer and Internazionale. He's the co-founder of Windsor Hill Wood, and an occasional midfielder for the England Writers' football team. He lives in Parma, Italy.