Better to Reign in Hell

Inside the Raiders Fan Empire

A season with the infamous fans of the football team everyone loves to hate

“[B]eyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and whackos ever assembled in such numbers under a single ‘roof,’ so to speak, anywhere in the English-speaking world.” —Hunter S. Thompson on Raiders fans

The silver-and-black-clad Oakland Raiders fans are the most notorious in American professional sports, with a mythic reputation for cursing, drinking, brawling, and generally wreaking mayhem. The devotion of the team’s multiracial, largely blue-collar supporters runs deep, creating a profound sense of community. As Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew reveal in this hair-raising and entertaining new book, the self-described Raider Nation, smitten with its outlaw mystique, provides a gritty alternative to California’s sunshine-and-granola image.

Over the course of the harrowing 2003 season, Miller and Mayhew explored the reality behind the myth and interviewed legions of rabid Raiders fans—from suburban families to bikers—while attending games in the “Black Hole” (the rowdiest section in Oakland’s stadium), frequenting sports bars, and crashing tailgate parties. Featuring the extraordinary photography of Joseph A. Blum, Better to Reign in Hell is both a rollicking tale of obsessive fandom and a fascinating study of the intersection of class, race, gender, and community in professional sports.

Books by these authors

Under the Perfect Sun
The San Diego Tourists Never See

Mike Davis, Kelly Mayhew, Jim Miller