Review of Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John cover imageRammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John. 796.332 ST. JOHN. Paper copies at all locations except Morgan and Hampstead. BOT and CD at Morgan.

Hey (opposing team name)!
Hey (opposing team name)!
We just beat the hell out of you!
Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer!
Give ‘em hell Alabama!

This is the chant (some) Alabama football fans scream at fans of the opposing team after an Alabama victory. “The Rammer Jammer is a long decunt campus magazine; the Yellow Hammer is the Alabama state bird,” but neither has anything to do with the title. Rather, the title reflects the chant as elucidated by the subtitle A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania.

And it is important to note that this is not a book about football but a book about football fans, specifically Alabama football fans.

St. John was born and grew up in Alabama, and one of his prize possessions is a photograph his father had taken of him as a child with Bear Bryant. He went to Columbia University and at the time this books was published he was working as a reporter for the New York Times but in preparing to write the book, he took some time off to follow an Alabama season, at first bumming RV accommodations, and then buying his own RV so that he could join the community of Tide fans that RV-ed to all Alabama games.

The book is filled with hilarious and sometimes frightening anecdotes as well as St. John’s analysis of the behavior he observed “up close and personal.” I will share one with you:

So the reporter idly asks what sort of things they’ve given up in pursuit of the Tide. “Let’s see, the man says in a soft Southern drawl. We missed our daughter’s wedding. “You what?”

“We told her, just don’t get married on a game day and we’ll be there, hundred percent, and she went off and picked the third Saturday in October which everybody knows is when Alabama plays Tennessee, so we told her, hey we got a ball game to go to. We made the reception – went there as soon as the game was over.”

This is an entertaining and insightful book, and not just for Alabama fans and sports fans. It won the 2006 Alabama Library Association Author Awards Committee’s Best Adult Non-Fiction title.

Review written by Tim Berry, Head Librarian, Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library.
From: Montgomery City-County Public Library.  Reference Notes. Volume 5, Issue 9. September 2012. Print copies of Reference Notes are available at all MCCPL Locations.
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About Miss Librarian 2010

A 2010 M.L.I.S. graduate of Kent State University, Miss Librarian currently serves as a Children's/Lead Librarian with the Montgomery City-County Public Library System.

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