Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer is a close-up look at the most extreme versions of Alabama Crimson Tide football fandom and anti-fandom. As such, the book will be an obvious winner for Crimson Tide football fans who want to walk down nostalgia lane. Surprisingly, Mr. St. John also pays quite a bit of attention to southeast opponents in 1999 like the Florida Gators, Auburn, Tennessee Vols, Vanderbilt, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Southern Mississippi and LSU. Fans of those schools' teams will also enjoy this book (especially if their team beat 'Bama that year or this season).
If you need to have the title explained to you, this book may not be right for you. It's part of a taunting victory chant favored by 'Bama fans.
The book alternates between describing the author's own path into extreme fandom as he deals with withdrawal symptoms in New York City and the extraordinarily devoted fans who turn their lives into a paean to the Crimson Tide. The book has a third, but smaller, focus which is to provide insights into the psychological, emotional and physical roots behind fanatic behavior by fans. That part of the book was the least successful.
You will meet people who build their lives around a short football season . . . and suffer painfully whenever the Tide loses. Interestingly, some of these people are wealthy and the expense of their devotion will probably astonish you. In other cases, people put 'Bama ahead of all else . . . including a heart transplant or attending their daughter's wedding. Intriguingly, many of the most extreme fans never attended the university.
If you are a fanatical fan (you can take a quiz at the author's site for the book to find out), you will probably enjoy reading about other extreme forms of devotion. You will feel reassured that you haven't yet lost control. For example, do you plan to be buried in a casket with the university's seal on it?
If you own an RV, this is a fascinating book about the problems of traveling with and living in an RV. I've never been in one, so this element of the book was the most novel to me.
As you might imagine, the book is laced with vulgar language, drunken engagements and embarrassing behavior. But that's all part of fandom. Right?
If you want a book about sports fans, this book is very light weight in one area . . . gambling. Although the book references gambling, it doesn't have many individual stories about it. Writing about college football fans without emphasizing the gambling is like writing about sex without mentioning intercourse.
I have never gotten into college football although I remember having a few intense experiences at games (including the 1960s Rose Bowl when Wisconsin almost came back to beat USC before bowing 42-37). I am much more familiar with the pro football extreme fans . . . especially those who go to the Super Bowl every year. As a result, I found the book didn't connect well for me. So if you're not an extreme college football fan, I suggest you skip this book.
The book's main limitation is that by focusing on the extreme RV fans you don't get very much about other types of fans. I found the amount of focus on the RV experience to be a little more than I wanted to know about that subject.