Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A GLASGOW GANG OBSERVED - JAMES PATRICK


EYRE METHUEN
LONDON 
FIRST PRINTING 1973
(A PAPERBACK ISSUE WAS ALSO ISSUED SIMULTANEOUSLY)
FRONT COVER COURTESY OF THE DAILY RECORD
BACK COVER COURTESY OF ALLAN THOMPSON

During the course of his first year as a teacher at an approved school in Scotland, James Patrick became acquainted with 'Tim', a Glasgow boy of sixteen. Following a suggestion - half invitation, half challenge - to come and see for himself how the boys spent their weekend leaves, he agreed to do so. The only possible way for him to do this was to masquerade as a friend of Tim's from the approved school and join the 'Young Team', the gang of which Tim was the 'leader-aff'.

In the course of a dozen weekend excursions, spread over four months, James Patrick donned his disguise, met up with the gang and watched them at close quarters. This book offers more than a frighteningly authentic picture of the behaviour, speech patterns and attitudes of young teenagers alienated from conventional adult society. It brings to life many of the members of the gangs and their family background. We see them at a party, playing football and just talking. We meet 'the King', the leader of all the local gangs.

The result of the author's hazardous double game is a real contribution to the understanding of juvenile gang behaviour - relating it not only to the past history of Glasgow but also to comparable and contrasting types of behaviour in Britain and America. In concluding that the gangs in Glasgow provide an outlet for pathological behaviour, the author underlines the importance of a full and proper understanding of the gang sub-culture on the part of those institutions, such as the approved schools and the courts, which have to deal with them.

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