Skinheads Shaved for Battle: A Cultural History of American Skinheads

Skinheads Shaved for Battle: A Cultural History of American Skinheads

Skinheads Shaved for Battle: A Cultural History of American Skinheads

Skinheads Shaved for Battle: A Cultural History of American Skinheads

Synopsis

This book describes who American skinheads are, how they have developed within larger youth group scenes, their ideas and activities, the role of music in their formation and development, how they have been perceived by the media in America, and what damage they have done in American society. Jack B. Moore focuses on the cultural history of this group in America during the 1980s and suggests that while they were originally a minor distraction on the punk scene, they have grown into a dangerous and far more politically engaged source of hate thought and crime.

Excerpt

This book began as a chapter in another book I was writing on a criminal case in Tampa, Florida, involving two young skinheads, 16 and 18 years old, brothers who were at first both accused of murdering a black man in December, 1987, on the balcony of the new Tampa Museum of Art. Eventually, the older brother's case was split off from the younger's, after he agreed to testify against his brother, whose idol he apparently had been. Attempting to describe as much about the cultural background of the case as I could, I wrote about the young men's lives, their parents' lives, the life of the man they were accused of killing. I wrote about the lawyers in the case, the jury, witnesses, I wrote about the local skinhead scene and about those who hung around that scene.

The presiding judge in the younger brother's trial ruled that information about the young man's affiliation with the skinheads could not be introduced into the proceedings because it would tend to prejudice the jury against him. So although the community was inundated with information about these skinhead links, the connections were not explored in any testimony. I decided that since the alleged killer identified himself so strongly as a skinhead at the time of his and his brother's murderous assault on a black man, I would need to set down precisely what skinhead meant. That need resulted in this book.

After establishing in a general way the violent history of skinheads in America and suggesting why they have come to exist as a frightening threat to civil peace, I thought it would be particularly helpful to American readers to review the English origins of the skinhead subculture, for although skinheads have disturbed society in most of the developed nations of Europe for some time, English skinheads set the style early for skinheads in America. It took me longer than I thought it would to set forth the outlines of skinhead activity in England, partly because I found that in doing so, I was often sometimes explicitly and sometimes inferentially suggesting what I hoped were illuminating differences between the English and American varieties, though . . .

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