Harriet Sergeant an author, journalist and Fellow of the Centre For Policy Studies, an independent, right of centre Think Tank. She has written six reports for the CPS, including ‘Handle with Care – an investigation into the care system’ and ‘Wasted – the betrayal of white working class and black Caribbean boys.’ Her reports have been serialized in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph and received extensive press coverage. Five have made front page headlines in the Daily Mail. Apart from other journalism, she writes Comments for the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times and review for the Spectator. She has also appeared on The Moral Maze, the World Tonight, the Today Programme, Any Questions, the Big Question, News 24 and Sky News amongst others. She has also been invited to appear on Question Time.
Harriet’s previous books include Between the Lines: Conversations in South Africa (Cape, 1985), Shanghai – A History of Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s (Cape, 1991) and The Old Sow in the Back Room: An Englishwoman in Japan (John Murray 1994).
Her latest book, Among the Hoods, the story of her three year friendship with a South London gang, was published by Faber in July 2012.
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AMONG THE HOODS: MY YEARS WITH A TEENAGE GANG – Buy it here
Harriet Sergeant’s three year friendship with a teenage gang, and in particular the gang leader, Tuggy Tug began when she was researching a report on why so many black Caribbean and white working class boys are failing. It was an unlikely friendship. She is a middle class, middle-aged white woman who writes for the right-wing press and a right of centre think tank. Gangs like Tuggy Tug’s are responsible for the majority of crime in our inner cities. During the riots of August 2011, they were the young men setting our streets ablaze.
Over the next three years she got more and more involved with the boys. All the issues she had read about – single mothers, absent fathers, lack of education and social mobility, the criminal justice system – suddenly took on new meaning as she encountered not just Tuggy Tug and his gang but their relatives and friends. She enters their world and sees institutions through their eyes. It is a revelation.
She describes a dramatic three years. By the end of the book Tuggy Tug was found guilty of committing over a hundred street robberies. He and two other gang members are in prison, one is in mental hospital and one appears to be a successful criminal. In a remarkable, often funny and moving book, Harriet Sergeant describes how the friendship changed her and investigates the forces that turn potentially decent young men into misfits and criminals. As Britain faces the first anniversary of the riots, this book should be required reading for us all.
PUBLICATION DATE: 3rd July 2012