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Head of Zeus
Ultra
Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football by Tobias Jones

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.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Current Affairs
19 Sep 2019 * 288pp * £5.99 * 9781786697356
REVIEWS
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'
TLS
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
Author
Tobias Jones
Tobias Jones
Tobias Jones is the author of eight previous books, including The Dark Heart of Italy, A Place of Refuge and the prize-winning Ultra. He is a regular contributor to the British, American and Italian press and has written and presented documentaries for the BBC and, in Italy, for RAI. The co-founder of two woodland charities in the UK, he has recently launched a new project, Common Home, in Parma.
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