Among the Hoods

Among the Hoods

Harriet Sergeant

Commissioned in 2008 to write a think-tank report on British gangs, Sergeant discovered firsthand how the government fails its inner-city youth. What began as a conversation outside a chicken take-away shop became a three-year attempt to change the lives of a group of teenaged boys, taking her from job centres and the care system to prisons and failing schools.

Her experiences left her believing that the state has played an integral part in creating gang culture in Britain – and that the entire system must now change if we want to help these young men.  Reading her story will challenge everything you thought you knew about society and politics today.

All the author’s proceeds from the sale of this Orson are being split between her, the boys featured in the book, and the parents of Swagger, who first introduced her to them.

“Wonderful … What Sergeant conveys, subtly, yet with anger, is how the gang's behaviour makes crazy sense.” (Daily Telegraph)

“Sergeant shares George Orwell’s clarity and integrity and his readiness to mix with those he seeks to understand ... Those on the left, right and centre could all learn from it." (Mail on Sunday)

harriet sergeant

Harriet Sergeant

Harriet Sergeant is a Research Fellow of the Centre for Policy Studies and writes for the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. She is the author of Shanghai, The Old Sow in the Back Room: An Englishwoman in Japan, and Between the Lines: Conversations in South Africa. She lives in London.

joanna lumley

Joanna Lumley

Known by many as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, actress and activist Joanna Lumley’s (OBE FRGS) further television credits include The New Avengers, Sapphire & Steel, Jam & Jerusalem and Sensitive Skin. Films range from Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), to James and the Giant Peach (1996) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

As an activist for numerous charities, she supports Survival International and the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination and sustainable living. With the Gurkha Justice Campaign she helped achieve a UK right to abode for Nepalese soliders who had fought for the British army. She is a Patron of Tree Aid, the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa, and Trust in Children, which helps disadvantaged children access better education and life opportunities.

Key features

  • 40 images
  • Short film featuring Harriet and the gang
  • Narration by Joanna Lumley, Ivanno Jeremiah and Claire Perkins
  • Six essays on topics like the UK care system, literacy rates, social mobility, and the fate of the boys today


  • Orson publication date: 2017
  • Original edition publication date: 2012
  • Original edition publisher UK: Faber & Faber
  • Narrator: Joanna Lumley

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